Bad Teachers

Posted by: AZNpiano

Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 05:03 AM

That's right, bad teachers. I'm talking to you. You know who you are. Get out of the profession! Stop ruining these poor kids.

I recently (and very suddenly!) acquired many transfer students. While a few of them are pretty good, most are just plain awful. I feel like I'm the magnet for transfer wrecks.

Here are some of the things I've noticed in the last three weeks:

1) One teacher did not use any method books. The student was taught by random sheets of photocopies and some generic repertoire book plus Czerny. There are giant, gaping holes in the student's pianistic ability and musical knowledge. And the student already started CM. Hello!?

2) One teacher had her student use the theory book that came with the method books. Great! But there are some skipped pages, and many wrong answers going uncorrected. Not only did learning not take place, the student had wrong information uploaded into his brain, which I now have the unpleasant job of deprogramming.

3) One Suzuki teacher (yep, join the crowd already!!) decided it was okay to skip around the Suzuki books, picking and choosing only the "fun" pieces to teach, while writing out all the finger numbers and letting the student learn via the "copy me" method. The student can't read bass clef and barely knows the C-position in treble clef. And the student knows absolutely NOTHING about theory.

4) One student who is already out of method books has no concept of fingering and wants to play everything at 100 mph. But I somehow fixed both problems in two lessons. The kid is quite bright, and picks up things quickly. It just takes a bit of insistence for correctness from the teacher to fix these simple problems!

5) Just because a teacher has a "full studio" and a "waiting list" does not mean the teacher is good. In fact, a teacher who has her attention spread 60 different directions is probably not the most effective teacher at any given moment. Think about it.

I've seen bad teaching over the years, but if this recent wave of transfer students is any indication, the current state of piano teaching is one of gross incompetence.

Parents: Can you be more careful when choosing your kid's first piano teacher? Even if you just want your kid to "have fun," at least let them learn something correctly the first time instead of hiring a more qualified teacher later to UNDO the months or even years of incorrect, incompetent instruction.


Ugh! mad

------

{rant mode off}
Posted by: pianomouse

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 06:20 AM

I feel with you!

I'm getting transfer students every year and I know exactly what you're talking about.
Presently, I'm dealing with a 16-year-old student who certainly has talent, but hasn't seen one method book or any structure in his piano career. He's very stubborn, as he's used to having control over his lessons. Till now, he has chosen the pieces - and why does he suddenly have to play with fingerings when it's always worked out just right? Hey, and why does he have to change his hand technique, Horowitz also played with straight fingers........

This is just a sample of the discussions I've gone through with him since summer. Funny, isn't it? So tiring.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 07:41 AM

I feel you! It's better if the student doesn't have any teacher at all than a bad one, but I don't think parents realize that. They think, "Something is better than nothing." and go with whomever is most convenient or affordable without taking the time to find out if they are any good. Then when they finally come to you, they heap upon expectations for their child to audition for thins or compete, and they have no clue how far away they are from that point due to the bad teaching. They just think, "they've studied piano for 4 years now, they should be good!" And of course, the previous teachers don't instill good practice habits, so the kids don't ever practice or if they do, it's running through the pieces from start to finish 2-3 times in a row. *sigh*
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 09:44 AM

I don't think #1 is a bad thing, provided the teacher is well equipped, knowledgeable, and experienced.

So back to your point, bad teacher, which I agree wholeheartedly.
Posted by: catpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 09:57 AM

I have 2 transfer students, siblings, who I have been teaching for 1.5 years. Before me they had another teacher for a year or so. The previous teacher had rushed them through the primer through level 2 books of I think Alfred's lesson books, maybe it was Bastien? I asked them each to play something from the book and they could only do the right hand. Yep, the teacher had ONLY taught the right hand through the level 2 book! They had never used their left hands! SO infuriating. And, the teacher jumped around and let them choose pieces they liked. A whole chunk of their books was skipped.

Though the number one thing I can't stand is getting transfer students who weren't taught to read, and have all the finger numbers or note names written in to the music. I got one this year who was halfway through Faber's level 1 and can't read music at all. She was taught just by rote/using finger numbers.

I hate these situations because in every case, I have to take the student back almost to the beginning. The student becomes frustrated with having to play music that is much easier than their last teacher assigned, even though they're not playing that music properly.

I agree, there are so many bad teachers out there.
Posted by: red-rose

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 10:10 AM

Ugh. I totally sympathize. Having moved cities a couple years ago, I started out with completely new students, and of the ones who had already been taking piano, I would say about 70% of them had a similar experience to what you are describing with a "bad teacher." Thankfully, I started the last batch of them about 4 months ago, and I think we are starting to really get over the hump of most of these issues! :-D
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 10:32 AM

So the elephant in the room question is:

How do you deal with these transfer students who've had poor instruction?
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 11:57 AM

Why do you accept these students?
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 12:05 PM

Do you mind share if these teachers are member of MTAC or not?
Posted by: red-rose

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 01:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?

Why do we accept any piano student?
along with the fact that it's our source of income... wouldn't it be quite unfortunate if no "good" teacher ever accepted students who had previously learned bad habits from another teacher? Those unlucky students... It's not their fault! In addition to needing the income, I don't mind working at it as a challenge and an opportunity to HELP these students overcome their weaknesses and bad habits. Isn't that why we're all teachers to begin with? (Plus not everyone is lucky enough to have a waiting list of "perfect" students... I actually find that question rather condescending. Lucky you if you've always been able to turn away every single less-than-perfect student!)
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 02:59 PM

I'm afraid you'll just be preaching to the converted on this forum wink

I've had a run of these recently, too - really appalling teaching, and lovely students that are more than willing to adjust to my requirements.

I just can't understand why these teachers continue to do what they do - I mean, why would anyone want to listen to playing that bad, day after day? Some of these teachers have been going for decades, too.

Regarding student numbers: that's no excuse. At all. It's a simple matter of caring about what you do.
Posted by: Joyce_dup1

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 03:17 PM

Just out of curiosity, what if each of you brings to mind your worst student at this moment. How long have you been teaching that student? What is the greatest problem with that student's current abilities? What have you been doing to address this problem? what has worked and what has not worked? And why do you think that is so? And finally, what do you hope to do to change this situation as your next plan of action for this student.

I think it would be enlightening to discuss the problem in this way because I suspect we all have such students.
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 03:50 PM

AZNpiano, I have read your post, here:

subject: Bad Teachers

That's right, bad teachers. I'm talking to you. You know who you are. Get out of the profession! Stop ruining these poor kids.

I recently (and very suddenly!) acquired many transfer students. While a few of them are pretty good, most are just plain awful. I feel like I'm the magnet for transfer wrecks.

Here are some of the things I've noticed in the last three weeks:

1) One teacher did not use any method books. The student was taught by random sheets of photocopies and some generic repertoire book plus Czerny. There are giant, gaping holes in the student's pianistic ability and musical knowledge. And the student already started CM. Hello!?

2) One teacher had her student use the theory book that came with the method books. Great! But there are some skipped pages, and many wrong answers going uncorrected. Not only did learning not take place, the student had wrong information uploaded into his brain, which I now have the unpleasant job of deprogramming.

3) One Suzuki teacher (yep, join the crowd already!!) decided it was okay to skip around the Suzuki books, picking and choosing only the "fun" pieces to teach, while writing out all the finger numbers and letting the student learn via the "copy me" method. The student can't read bass clef and barely knows the C-position in treble clef. And the student knows absolutely NOTHING about theory.

4) One student who is already out of method books has no concept of fingering and wants to play everything at 100 mph. But I somehow fixed both problems in two lessons. The kid is quite bright, and picks up things quickly. It just takes a bit of insistence for correctness from the teacher to fix these simple problems!

5) Just because a teacher has a "full studio" and a "waiting list" does not mean the teacher is good. In fact, a teacher who has her attention spread 60 different directions is probably not the most effective teacher at any given moment. Think about it.

I've seen bad teaching over the years, but if this recent wave of transfer students is any indication, the current state of piano teaching is one of gross incompetence.

Parents: Can you be more careful when choosing your kid's first piano teacher? Even if you just want your kid to "have fun," at least let them learn something correctly the first time instead of hiring a more qualified teacher later to UNDO the months or even years of incorrect, incompetent instruction.


Ugh! mad

------

{rant mode off}

_____

It would be impolite for me to comment on teachers/piano teachers, so I will use lawyers as an example.

When a person has a (legal) problem, and needs a lawyer's help, they have to look for a lawyer. But there are only 12 types(!) of lawyers: young, old, honest, dishonest, rich, poor, expensive, cheap, bright, less bright, women, men, - and how does anyone know how to find a lawyer of the type they want to use and pay to do their work. It is not easy even for people in the profession to be able to pick or find a lawyer to use. So finding a piano teacher for a "loved one" can be impossible at best - based on the limited funds of the parent and what the parent knows or doesn't know about piano teachers.

What I would do, if it was a lawyer I would to go the local university or law school and do some talking and asking lots of questions.

If I was looking for a piano teacher, I would do the same thing, go to a local university, music department and ask a lot of questions.

You see, in the world no matter what you are interested in, people in the industry won't often recommend someone, but if you have a polite conversation with them about a piano teacher, for example, they will say something like I would say, Great teacher, but since you have a son, or a daughter or whatever description you use of your kid, you simply say, well, there are lots of teachers, and you should find one that suits your child and maybe I can help you if you bring me a list of teachers you are considering. When they bring the list to me or you, you simply say, well I have heard that these teacher are quite good with kids like yours and are reasonably priced - if that was a issue. So the parents get to pick one of several teachers from a list that are awesome, but you are able to politely point them in the right direction, but conversely, if someone asks you about a teacher and they are not a nice, good or whatever parent, you wouldn't be in a position to recommend a teacher that would be given grief. So it works both ways.

cheers,

3N15BT

And, of course, I have heard that there are as many piano teachers as there are types of lawyers I have listed - but I don't know that as a fact!
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 04:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?

Do you ever think before you write?
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 04:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?

Do you ever think before you write?


thumb
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 04:45 PM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
I don't think #1 is a bad thing, provided the teacher is well equipped, knowledgeable, and experienced.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. I've had similar transfers before. Some teachers just think they "got it" and can teach out of random photocopies and get all the bases covered.

But why risk giving an incomplete piano education when there are so many good methods out there? It's not hard to pick one method and supplement with other books if necessary.

Most of the time it's because the cheap parents want to have photocopied books so they don't have to buy any method books. That, or the teacher is just grossly incompetent.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 04:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Regarding student numbers: that's no excuse. At all. It's a simple matter of caring about what you do.

But if you do honestly care about all 60 students (the number is just for example), at some point you're going to be thinking about some or all of the students. Maybe it's just me, but I can't imagine myself being pulled 60 different directions and still do a good job. It would literally consume me.

I don't have anywhere near 60 students, but even at my current pace I'm starting to notice that I need to focus better in order to stay sharp.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 04:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Barb860
So the elephant in the room question is:

How do you deal with these transfer students who've had poor instruction?

Well, a lot depends on the parents, actually, and how willing are they to accept the fact that they've wasted $$$ for many months or years. One parent in particular is giving me the vibes that she would like me to move her kiddo along faster, even though kiddo obviously can't read.

Other parents are like: "Well, my daughter passed X level so she must be at X level musically. I have proof. See? Certificate! Indicating passage of level." At this point, I give that kid a level 1 piece that she can't even begin to sight read; she can't even find the correct position to begin with.

Some parents cope with the truth better than the others.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 05:01 PM

While I'll be the first to admit that the world is plagued by inferior and unqualified teachers (as well as idiotic and sadistic assholes), I think we DO have to keep in mind that there are usually many, many factors in play behind a deficient piano student, and I think a lot of times the student, or other contributing factors could have just as much to do with it as the teacher.

Going off of what Joyce said a few posts above, let us all think of our worst students. I'm sure that if they suddenly switched teachers (or, even worse, took a 5 month break then went back to a new teacher), we would be completely embarrassed and ashamed of the impression that student would make on us, but it was out of out control. (After all, the very concept of a "transfer" student implies that something on the other end - of either a personal of logistical nature - was not working out in the first place).

Just yesterday, the mom of one of my highest-paying students (of over a year) called me and said "We really appreciate that you're trying to get him to read music and teaching him technique, but he really just wants to have fun and move his fingers. We'd appreciate it if you could just chill with him instead". The customer has spoken my friends. So let's say this kid goes to a new teacher in 5 months..obviously they will think I have taught him nothing, when in reality I tried to do everything. I have another student (also one of the highest paying), who I don't' bother to teacher correct technique to, because we've been working sitting on her couch on an unweighted 3 octave keyboard for the past year. Then you have situations where parents only want a 30 minute lessons when their level/ability clearly denotes more is needed. Then you have situations where students take 2 or 3 months off. Then you have students who don't touch the instrument between lessons. Then of course there are some students who, no matter how good the teaching or motivation, just can't really get anything to gel.

So my point is there are really too many factors at play to judge the quality of previous teaching, in my opinion.

Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 06:34 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?

Do you ever think before you write?

Actually, yes. I thought quite hard and couldn't come up with a reason to subject oneself to these types of students.
Posted by: Brinestone

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 07:27 PM

While I agree with Opus Maximus to some extent. I inherited a student who had no sense of rhythm, and I was appalled at her previous teacher for failing to teach her to count. After a year of trying strategy after strategy after strategy to get her to feel the beat . . . well, she still is struggling. One of the things I am best at is teaching counting, and I have broken some VERY bad habits in some of my students, but with her, I was just stumped. I wonder now how many things her previous teacher tried. I did improve her technique quite a bit, though. The point is, it's sometimes impossible to tell where the weaknesses our transfer students have originated, whether from the teacher or from the student.

At the same time, well, you can kind of tell. This particular student, and her brother, were both very, very good at reading music. They could play with beautiful dynamics, and they practiced like a dream. Whenever I asked them to improve something on a piece (except for the girl's counting, of course), they'd come back the next week with it fixed. It was clear after a while that their previous teacher had been good, if not perfect.

Not so with another transfer student. She had "taken lessons" for three years before taking a year off due to frustration and then wanting to begin again with me. In those three years, she appeared to have learned nothing. Apparently after her first lesson with me, she went home and raved to her mom about how much she learned! She was so excited! Within a few months she was reading music and counting and actually, you know, playing piano. The previous teacher had insisted that a child her age (7-9) didn't have a long enough attention span for 30 minute lessons, so she did 15 minute lessons, and the teacher wasn't sitting right at the piano for the whole lesson even then. And the mom said this teacher was more expensive than I was (I was just starting out and had low rates back then). Oy. Just thinking about that makes me hot under the collar still. How can someone like that even have the gall to call themselves a piano teacher?
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 07:29 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?

Do you ever think before you write?

Actually, yes. I thought quite hard and couldn't come up with a reason to subject oneself to these types of students.


I think the point is, these aren't "types of students" at all. Such a label seems to lay the blame on them, rather than the previous teacher.

Certainly, the two I have acquired recently have responded really well to me so far, and I thoroughly enjoy teaching them. So, I would be more inclined to ask "Why wouldn't you accept these students?"
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 08:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?

Do you ever think before you write?

Actually, yes. I thought quite hard and couldn't come up with a reason to subject oneself to these types of students.


Let's define "type of student" to make sure we're on the same page. A student takes lessons, listens attentively, and diligently practices what he is told. All the time this student is being mistaught, and this misteaching causes problems. Finally this attentive, diligent student goes to another teacher, having these problems which were caused by the first teacher. Your opinion is that this student should be rejected by good teachers, and never have a chance to improve. That student would be forced to try to fix his own problems which were caused by the poor teaching..... without having the ability to do so because of the results of the misteaching. Any student who was mistaught is condemned forever.

That is what you are saying. Did you think about this? Did you understand that this is what we are talking about? Or are you simply thinking of a student who plays badly because he has a poor attitude, "doesn't have it in him" or something like that?

There are people right in this forum whom you would condemn to not getting good instruction, because of the kind of instruction that they first received through no fault of their own.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 11:06 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?

Do you ever think before you write?

Actually, yes. I thought quite hard and couldn't come up with a reason to subject oneself to these types of students.


You have a point here, for sure. These types of transfer students can be VERY difficult to deal with. It's tough. Easier to not take them, but some of us need the money, it's just the way it is. Do any piano teachers have only ideal students???
Posted by: nyke

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 11:14 PM

In retrospect some transfer students stay in method books too long and you always find them saying what hand position is this song in?
I think if you are a qualified teacher then you can teach with or without a method book. Also what one teacher thinks is important for a child to learn another teacher may not.
Just look at all of the options there are for schools: Montessori, public school, homeschool etc. Many children are raised in different learning environments and also taught through different learning styles.
Posted by: Barb860

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/15/13 11:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
While I'll be the first to admit that the world is plagued by inferior and unqualified teachers (as well as idiotic and sadistic assholes), I think we DO have to keep in mind that there are usually many, many factors in play behind a deficient piano student, and I think a lot of times the student, or other contributing factors could have just as much to do with it as the teacher.

Going off of what Joyce said a few posts above, let us all think of our worst students. I'm sure that if they suddenly switched teachers (or, even worse, took a 5 month break then went back to a new teacher), we would be completely embarrassed and ashamed of the impression that student would make on us, but it was out of out control. (After all, the very concept of a "transfer" student implies that something on the other end - of either a personal of logistical nature - was not working out in the first place).

Just yesterday, the mom of one of my highest-paying students (of over a year) called me and said "We really appreciate that you're trying to get him to read music and teaching him technique, but he really just wants to have fun and move his fingers. We'd appreciate it if you could just chill with him instead". The customer has spoken my friends. So let's say this kid goes to a new teacher in 5 months..obviously they will think I have taught him nothing, when in reality I tried to do everything. I have another student (also one of the highest paying), who I don't' bother to teacher correct technique to, because we've been working sitting on her couch on an unweighted 3 octave keyboard for the past year. Then you have situations where parents only want a 30 minute lessons when their level/ability clearly denotes more is needed. Then you have situations where students take 2 or 3 months off. Then you have students who don't touch the instrument between lessons. Then of course there are some students who, no matter how good the teaching or motivation, just can't really get anything to gel.

So my point is there are really too many factors at play to judge the quality of previous teaching, in my opinion.



Very interesting points here. FWIW I had a student transfer to me a few years ago. He was awful. I had to let him go after a few months of struggle. I learned that he studied with a very well-respected teacher in a neighboring community. She has a reputation of being a good teacher. This kid did not want to continue with piano lessons and was rebelling.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 12:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?


Have you ever heard of money?
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 12:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Why do you accept these students?


Have you ever heard of money?

Nope. What's that?

Yes, of course I have. What's your point?
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 12:21 AM

You're a bit of an enigmatic poster, both here and on PC. I can't quite piece you together, or figure out what you do in life. That is not an insult, it's just how you come off to me here.

This forum is frequented mostly by those who have trained long and hard in the art of piano playing, and now are passing it on to others is their main/sole source of income. It is a long standing, dignified, and stable career path. Many of us are not trained in any secondary skills, nor have big inheritances, or an income generating spouse, thus if we don't teach, there is a risk of not being able to eat or pay rent.

No work = no money. Money = necessity for life. Piano students = money. Only taking piano students who are easy to teach and have been well trained = probably not enough money.

Tell me how that does not make sense to you.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 12:23 AM

I'm going to go the opposite way of AZPiano!

This year I got around 6 transfer students. And they all come from the same teacher. Well, she did an awesome job for the past couple of years (they all started together) and I'm pretty happy to have them as my students! smile
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 12:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I'm going to go the opposite way of AZPiano!

This year I got around 6 transfer students. And they all come from the same teacher. Well, she did an awesome job for the past couple of years (they all started together) and I'm pretty happy to have them as my students! smile

Hey, I got those students, too! But the good transfers are hard to come by. For every good transfer student, I get 20 dubious ones.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 12:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
So my point is there are really too many factors at play to judge the quality of previous teaching, in my opinion.

Yes and no. I agree there are some awful students who are just awful because they can't learn and/or their parents don't want to be involved in the learning process. Or the kids are just being forced to take piano lessons against their will.

But there are some telltale signs of incompetent teaching:

1) Skipping ahead in the method books, not covering everything

2) Leaving wrong answers in workbooks uncorrected

3) Spending months and months on the 4 CM pieces and nothing else

4) The student is at "level 8" while sight reading is at level 1

etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: nyke

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 09:07 AM

Yet ur still blaming the teacher..., what about the parent who want committed to lessons and allowed the child to not practice, or didn't increase lesson time or everytime you suggested something the parent wanted something different.
Unless you are teaching right along side someone you can't tell if the are horrible or not .
Also the grading events seem to mate not only to parents but universities too so there's nothing wrong with preparing students for those events even though that may consume most of your lesson time.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 09:36 AM

But AZPiano is very clear on the reasons: If there's a clear reason (missed method books, jumping anywhere in the book, not training the kid to read properly, no sight reading practice, etc), then this IS the teachers fault. I mean even if the parent doesn't care, the books/scores should be filled with notes, drafts, comments, etc... with pencil or whatever else you may think necessary.

For the students that AZ is talking about, this doesn't seem the case. Plus I think he's had the students enough time to tell if some students are static, because of their being lazy, or the parents not caring, or because they lack the actual knowledge of what to do when practising the piano...
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 11:20 AM

I've never understood complaints about transfer students. Of course they've been poorly trained, that's why they're transferring!
Posted by: nyke

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 11:28 AM

So true! !
Posted by: nyke

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 11:29 AM

So true!
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 04:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I've never understood complaints about transfer students. Of course they've been poorly trained, that's why they're transferring!

They also transfer because teachers move, or they move. There are a lot of reasons why students switch teachers.
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 04:31 PM

One of my children's friends transferred because the first teacher was very severe during lessons and scolded the student a lot and the student got very scared of piano lessons.

One story that my son's first teacher told us was that a parent transferred her kid to our teacher because the previous teacher didn't want the kid to take exams just yet and our teacher had the reputation of getting lots of kids through exams. Then our teacher told the parent that he agreed with the previous teacher that this kid simply wasn't ready. So soon enough the parent transferred the kid to yet another teacher...
Posted by: Jean Claude

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 04:46 PM



There are no bad piano teachers, only bad pupils. They need to be caned at least once a month, more often in bad cases. Once they have learned that the ability to sit without severe discomfort is a privilege to be earned rather than a right their progress is sure to be rapid.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/16/13 04:49 PM

Originally Posted By: Jean Claude


There are no bad piano teachers, only bad pupils. They need to be caned at least once a month, more often in bad cases. Once they have learned that the ability to sit without severe discomfort is a privilege to be earned rather than a right their progress is sure to be rapid.

I sure hope you're joking.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 12:21 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
I've never understood complaints about transfer students. Of course they've been poorly trained, that's why they're transferring!

I'm not complaining about transfer students. I'm complaining about bad teachers, hence the title of this thread.
Posted by: The Monkeys

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 02:52 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

3) Spending months and months on the 4 CM pieces and nothing else
4) The student is at "level 8" while sight reading is at level 1


Just curious, how did the student pass the sight reading section of the tests?
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 03:06 AM

Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

3) Spending months and months on the 4 CM pieces and nothing else
4) The student is at "level 8" while sight reading is at level 1


Just curious, how did the student pass the sight reading section of the tests?

You don't have to pass the sight reading portion of the test. You can fail, fall on your face, during the SR portion of the test, and you'll still "pass" if everything else is okay.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 01:46 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: The Monkeys
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

3) Spending months and months on the 4 CM pieces and nothing else
4) The student is at "level 8" while sight reading is at level 1


Just curious, how did the student pass the sight reading section of the tests?

You don't have to pass the sight reading portion of the test. You can fail, fall on your face, during the SR portion of the test, and you'll still "pass" if everything else is okay.

That's pretty stupid. What's the point of including sight-reading then? They need to change that policy. There are too many students that cannot sight-read a note to save their lives.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 02:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

You don't have to pass the sight reading portion of the test. You can fail, fall on your face, during the SR portion of the test, and you'll still "pass" if everything else is okay.

That's pretty stupid. What's the point of including sight-reading then? They need to change that policy. There are too many students that cannot sight-read a note to save their lives.


Not stupid at all. If it's anything like the UK exam boards, it is an exam of many parts, for instance the ABRSM marking scheme is as follows:

Piece 1 30 marks (20)
Piece 2 30 marks (20)
Piece 3 30 marks (20)

Scales and Arpeggios 21 marks (14)
Sight Reading 21 marks (14)
Aural tests 18 marks (12)

Total = 150

Pass = 100
Merit = 120
Distinction = 130

Marks in brackets indicate pass mark, but it is not necessary to achieve this mark in all sections.

The above is true for grades 1 through 8. Diplomas are different - all sections must be passed. If you fail a section, for instance the Quick Study (which replaces sight reading), you can retake just that section at a later date.

So, according to your philosophy, polyphonist, the same should be true of the lower exams, am I correct? After all, it wouldn't make sense to single out sight-reading as being the only part of the exam in which a pass is compulsory.

This would not be a good idea, IMO.

Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 02:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Piece 1 30 marks (20)
Piece 2 30 marks (20)
Piece 3 30 marks (20)

Scales and Arpeggios 21 marks (14)
Sight Reading 21 marks (14)
Aural tests 21 marks (14)

Total = 150

That doesn't even add up to 150...

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
So, according to your philosophy, polyphonist, the same should be true of the lower exams, am I correct? After all, it wouldn't make sense to single out sight-reading as being the only part of the exam in which a pass is compulsory.

No - you should have to pass everything. That's my point.

And sight-reading and aural tests (I assume that's dictation) are weighted FAR too little. No wonder so many students are clueless in these two areas.
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 03:27 PM

I think Ben means three pieces add up to 90 points, and each other categories is 20 points, so, it add up to 150 points. 150 is the maximum point you can get and 100 is the passing point.

I think Poly means that even though the passing point is 100, the policy should make it to students should pass in every single category to be pass instead of getting points like this and still pass:

Piece 1--30 points
Piece 2--28 points
Piece 3--28 points
Scales and Arpeggios 20 points
Sight Reading 0 points
Aural tests 0 points

If a student has the above result of total 106, he still pass the test even his sight-reading and aural test are only 0 point. That would be unbalance.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 03:32 PM

Thanks for the maths wink Corrected!

So, despite having practised adequately for their exam, a problem on the day with in one section out of six means a little kid doesn't pass their exam?

I'm not sure you'd find too many teachers agreeing with you on that one.

Sight-reading is a compulsory test in that particular board - there are others in which it's not. Trinity, for instance, give you the option to choose Musical Knowledge instead.

Does this invalidate the whole qualification? The QCA people certainly don't think so.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 03:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
So, despite having practised adequately for their exam, a problem on the day with in one section out of six means a little kid doesn't pass their exam?

Yes. What is a "problem on the day"?
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 03:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Sight-reading is a compulsory test in that particular board - there are others in which it's not. Trinity, for instance, give you the option to choose Musical Knowledge instead.

It should be both, as a matter of fact.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 03:51 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
So, despite having practised adequately for their exam, a problem on the day with in one section out of six means a little kid doesn't pass their exam?

Yes. What is a "problem on the day"?
Let me give you an example of that myself! wink

You post in a piano related forum about exams. And you mix up a number! just out of random, on a Sunday evening!

Someone doesn't mind at all, and figures that it's ok. You mind! So, ok...

According to your thinking if this was a math exam, Ben should be disqualified because he mixed up a couple of numbers and failed to check on his math (or memory). According to me it should be fine and it's fairly obvious that it was a mishap, bound to happen in everyone, anyone and any time.

"Problem of a day"

grin

For the record, the National Scholarship Foundation of Greece has the same system: You are allowed to (slightly) not pass one of the four areas you are examined when trying to get a rich, nice, juicy scholarship! wink
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 03:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
According to your thinking if this was a math exam, Ben should be disqualified because he mixed up a couple of numbers and failed to check on his math (or memory).

You are turning this into a fairly large straw man. I assume that the math exam would probably have more than one question. You're acting like I said one should have to do perfectly on everything. I didn't - I said everyone should need to PASS everything. If that means getting better than 67%, I'd say it's pretty generous.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 04:33 PM

Well, like it or not, it's the system that's been accepted by all the major examination boards (each of which is an extension of the academies) for at least the last few decades. The syllabuses have also been approved by the QCA and others, or at least the ones worth using have.

Anyhow - I, for one, would not like to see a change in the direction you propose, polyphonist. I think it would have a negative impact on both the students and the examination system.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 04:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Well, like it or not, it's the system that's been accepted by all the major examination boards (each of which is an extension of the academies) for at least the last few decades. The syllabuses have also been approved by the QCA and others, or at least the ones worth using have.

Anyhow - I, for one, would not like to see a change in the direction you propose, polyphonist. I think it would have a negative impact on both the students and the examination system.

Well, it's not really helpful to know a student's examination credentials right now, because the test is so easy to pass. So what's the point of giving it?
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 04:40 PM

You are making a big assumption there. It's not easy to pass.

A lot of work is required to cover the requirements, and full marks are difficult to achieve.

I take it you're not a teacher?
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 04:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
You are making a big assumption there. It's not easy to pass.

A lot of work is required to cover the requirements, and full marks are difficult to achieve.

I take it you're not a teacher?

I'm not a teacher involved with this examination system, no.

Maybe a lot of work is required to cover the requirements, but from what you've told me, it's not even necessary to cover the requirements. And we're not talking about full marks; we're talking about just not failing.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 04:50 PM

So you have no experience entering students for practical music exams?

Anyway, my comment about full marks was a lazy way of trying to communicate that in each section of the exam, marks are likely to be lost. It is amazing how easily this can bring the overall mark down to something pretty average, or even borderline.

The "pass" marks given for each section are for guidance only. The exam is taken as a whole.

Therefore, if someone has a dodgy sight-reading on the day, or maybe gets everything pretty good (including your precious sight-reading test) but has a wobbler on one of the pieces, they can still pass. This does not make it "easy" - it simply means that there is more than one way to achieve a certain result in a practical music exam.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 04:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
So you have no experience entering students for practical music exams?

Anyway, my comment about full marks was a lazy way of trying to communicate that in each section of the exam, marks are likely to be lost. It is amazing how easily this can bring the overall mark down to something pretty average, or even borderline.

The "pass" marks given for each section are for guidance only. The exam is taken as a whole.

Therefore, if someone has a dodgy sight-reading on the day, or maybe gets everything pretty good (including your precious sight-reading test) but has a wobbler on one of the pieces, they can still pass. This does not make it "easy" - it simply means that there is more than one way to achieve a certain result in a practical music exam.

And I don't like that way of running it. Who cares if you have a "wobbler," or whatever? You get to take the test again. The way they should run it: You need to achieve a certain (fairly high) score on EACH PART OF THE TEST SEPARATELY. Then, if you pass each section separately, you pass the whole test. If you fail one of the sections, you have to retake the whole test. That's the way it should work. That's what will pass more well-rounded musicians, and fail the incompetent ones, rather than just trying to get everyone through.

I'm about finished with this argument.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 04:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

And I don't like that way of running it.


Well, since you're not a music teacher involved in the system...
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 05:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

And I don't like that way of running it.


Well, since you're not a music teacher involved in the system...

Did I say I was?
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 05:04 PM

No.

But anyway, since I can drive a car, I think I should find a driving instructor forum and start ranting on there about how inadequate the driving examination system is wink
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 05:13 PM

You do that. Meanwhile, I am going to listen to Beethoven's wonderful 6th Symphony, conducted by Leonard Bernstein.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 05:17 PM

smile
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 07:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Poly
The way they should run it: You need to achieve a certain (fairly high) score on EACH PART OF THE TEST SEPARATELY. Then, if you pass each section separately, you pass the whole test. If you fail one of the sections, you have to retake the whole test. That's the way it should work. That's what will pass more well-rounded musicians, and fail the incompetent ones, rather than just trying to get everyone through.


I agree with you that this should be the way they run it. I am totally into producing well-rounded musician with holistic approach!!

In CM test there are two parts:
Theory/ Ear Training in one day and
Performance(repertoire)/ Technique (scales)/ Sight-reading in another day

According to my understanding that if a student fail theory (passing mark is 70%) and pass the performance part, they would considered fail and have to retake the same level next year again.

However, if a student fail Sight-reading but get very high rank for repertoire and technique, depends on the evaluator, he would still pass the performance part of the test.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/17/13 11:30 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Well, like it or not, it's the system that's been accepted by all the major examination boards (each of which is an extension of the academies) for at least the last few decades. The syllabuses have also been approved by the QCA and others, or at least the ones worth using have.

Anyhow - I, for one, would not like to see a change in the direction you propose, polyphonist. I think it would have a negative impact on both the students and the examination system.



As a result, we have tons of kids who knows how to "copy" performances from recordings, but when you ask them to improvise, listen, and sight-read, they are all clueless. As contrary to examiners' belief, those three areas are more important than the prepared pieces.

Of course it will have a negative impact on the examination system, because if the examination is so difficult to pass, why would people pay to take it? Catering to the mass is the ultimate failure of ABRSM and Trinity examination body. The system is been accepted by all major exam boards doesn't mean it is good and balanced, sometimes it simply because there's no alternative which doesn't affect the profitability of the current system.

Defend it in any way you like, please. And please stop this BS "you are not a teacher in the system." Tell you what, I TOOK the ABRSM exams (both grades and diplomas), and I am ACTIVELY teaching students who's preparing for both grades and diploma exams. Seeing how their repertoire list for diploma remain virtually unchanged for the last decade is already an indication that it's not an examination system, it's a money grab system.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 04:44 AM

I stand by my assertion that to criticise something, a little experience and involvement in it is prerequisite to a sensible discussion.

Anyway - it is not such a good idea to insist upon a minimum standard of achievement across multiple sections of a *single* examination.

What you, Alan, and ezpiano and polyphonist are suggesting, is the equivalent to making it compulsory that all sections within the theory exam be passed.

Total score 75%? Sorry, but because you scored 3 out of 10 in the intervals question, you fail the exam. Your theory knowledge isn't balanced enough, you see.

Or, how about within each section of the exam itself? Aural skills should be just as balanced, right? So, yes you may have scored 12/18, but because you achieved this by getting all the listening and analysis bits perfect, unfortunately, you sang like one of those "crazy" American Idol auditions, so we have to fail you on that section, and consequently, I'm sorry to say, the whole exam.

I also dont think there's anything wrong with an examination system which caters to the masses. That's not to say I think it's perfect as it is, but the fact is it needs to serve many purposes, not least of which is encouragement.

The tone I'm picking up from those who complain about everything being "too easy" is one that, to me, smacks of wanting to belong to a more exclusive club.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 05:03 AM

I should also add that, if you wanted to place more importance on skills such as listening and sight-reading, wouldn't the intelligent solution simply be to rebalance the marks awarded to each section? If fewer marks were allocated to the performance elements, then this would make passing on pieces alone much harder.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 08:10 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai

As a result, we have tons of kids who knows how to "copy" performances from recordings, but when you ask them to improvise, listen, and sight-read, they are all clueless. As contrary to examiners' belief, those three areas are much more important than the prepared pieces.

Finally someone gets it.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 08:23 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Well, like it or not, it's the system that's been accepted by all the major examination boards (each of which is an extension of the academies) for at least the last few decades. The syllabuses have also been approved by the QCA and others, or at least the ones worth using have.

Anyhow - I, for one, would not like to see a change in the direction you propose, polyphonist. I think it would have a negative impact on both the students and the examination system.



As a result, we have tons of kids who knows how to "copy" performances from recordings, but when you ask them to improvise, listen, and sight-read, they are all clueless. As contrary to examiners' belief, those three areas are more important than the prepared pieces.

.


But the title of this thread is Bad Teachers.

If we really have tons of kids who play well but lack other skills, is that evidence for bad teachers? Or just teachers doing a good job of meeting current goals?

Given that almost none of those kids will go on to become working musicians, are those additional skills so important the system needs to be revised?
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 08:32 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Well, like it or not, it's the system that's been accepted by all the major examination boards (each of which is an extension of the academies) for at least the last few decades. The syllabuses have also been approved by the QCA and others, or at least the ones worth using have.

Anyhow - I, for one, would not like to see a change in the direction you propose, polyphonist. I think it would have a negative impact on both the students and the examination system.



As a result, we have tons of kids who knows how to "copy" performances from recordings, but when you ask them to improvise, listen, and sight-read, they are all clueless. As contrary to examiners' belief, those three areas are more important than the prepared pieces.

.


But the title of this thread is Bad Teachers.

If we really have tons of kids who play well but lack other skills, is that evidence for bad teachers?

Yes. At least for incompetent teachers. Usually the problem is that the teacher can barely sightread themselves, so they are uncomfortable teaching it to the student. bah
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 09:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: TimR

But the title of this thread is Bad Teachers.

If we really have tons of kids who play well but lack other skills, is that evidence for bad teachers?

Yes. At least for incompetent teachers. Usually the problem is that the teacher can barely sightread themselves, so they are uncomfortable teaching it to the student. bah


I think it can imply bad teaching, but not necessarily. I'd hate for people to assume that since I have some students who choose not to practice that they reflect on me as a teacher and pianist.

Personally, if I know a student needs to learn something, I have to make sure I know it first before I can teach it! Ignoring the fact they need it is not an option. In the past, this has meant I need to learn more about playing jazz from lead sheets or jazz improv, for example. I'm not a "pro" at these things, but enough to help a student get started, and then send them on to someone who is more advanced if the student wants to go further in this direction.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 09:46 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Well, like it or not, it's the system that's been accepted by all the major examination boards (each of which is an extension of the academies) for at least the last few decades. The syllabuses have also been approved by the QCA and others, or at least the ones worth using have.

Anyhow - I, for one, would not like to see a change in the direction you propose, polyphonist. I think it would have a negative impact on both the students and the examination system.



As a result, we have tons of kids who knows how to "copy" performances from recordings, but when you ask them to improvise, listen, and sight-read, they are all clueless. As contrary to examiners' belief, those three areas are more important than the prepared pieces.

.


But the title of this thread is Bad Teachers.

If we really have tons of kids who play well but lack other skills, is that evidence for bad teachers? Or just teachers doing a good job of meeting current goals?

Given that almost none of those kids will go on to become working musicians, are those additional skills so important the system needs to be revised?

It doesn't really matter whether those kids will go for music major or not, you simply cannot deny that these musicianship skills are essential for life long appreciation and enjoyment of making music as their hobby.

Don't you love the ability that you can simply pull some music books from the shelf at your spare time and start sight read some cute little pieces? Don't you love the ability that you can improvise and use music to express your own story?

Talking about teachers, there are, at least in Hong Kong, a large number of them specialized in getting kids passing grade exams, without teaching them anything else. Imagine a kid learned nothing besides the required piece for exam, scales and arpeggios, do you seriously think they will grow to appreciate and enjoy music? These are bad teachers, but they are promoted by a flawed music grade exam system, and further encouraged by the competing nature of Asian style kids upbringing.

I am sure your tone will change when your kids gets these kind of teachers.
Posted by: Alan Lai

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 09:48 AM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
I stand by my assertion that to criticise something, a little experience and involvement in it is prerequisite to a sensible discussion.

Anyway - it is not such a good idea to insist upon a minimum standard of achievement across multiple sections of a *single* examination.

What you, Alan, and ezpiano and polyphonist are suggesting, is the equivalent to making it compulsory that all sections within the theory exam be passed.

Total score 75%? Sorry, but because you scored 3 out of 10 in the intervals question, you fail the exam. Your theory knowledge isn't balanced enough, you see.

Or, how about within each section of the exam itself? Aural skills should be just as balanced, right? So, yes you may have scored 12/18, but because you achieved this by getting all the listening and analysis bits perfect, unfortunately, you sang like one of those "crazy" American Idol auditions, so we have to fail you on that section, and consequently, I'm sorry to say, the whole exam.

I also dont think there's anything wrong with an examination system which caters to the masses. That's not to say I think it's perfect as it is, but the fact is it needs to serve many purposes, not least of which is encouragement.

The tone I'm picking up from those who complain about everything being "too easy" is one that, to me, smacks of wanting to belong to a more exclusive club.

Your analysis is fine and dandy provided the ABRSM and Trinity revised their scoring system in the pass decade, which, unfortunately did not happen. What they have done is just rotating grade 1-8 repertoire pieces once in a while. Hence, it's a money grab system.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 10:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Alan Lai
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
I stand by my assertion that to criticise something, a little experience and involvement in it is prerequisite to a sensible discussion.

Anyway - it is not such a good idea to insist upon a minimum standard of achievement across multiple sections of a *single* examination.

What you, Alan, and ezpiano and polyphonist are suggesting, is the equivalent to making it compulsory that all sections within the theory exam be passed.

Total score 75%? Sorry, but because you scored 3 out of 10 in the intervals question, you fail the exam. Your theory knowledge isn't balanced enough, you see.

Or, how about within each section of the exam itself? Aural skills should be just as balanced, right? So, yes you may have scored 12/18, but because you achieved this by getting all the listening and analysis bits perfect, unfortunately, you sang like one of those "crazy" American Idol auditions, so we have to fail you on that section, and consequently, I'm sorry to say, the whole exam.

I also dont think there's anything wrong with an examination system which caters to the masses. That's not to say I think it's perfect as it is, but the fact is it needs to serve many purposes, not least of which is encouragement.

The tone I'm picking up from those who complain about everything being "too easy" is one that, to me, smacks of wanting to belong to a more exclusive club.

Your analysis is fine and dandy provided the ABRSM and Trinity revised their scoring system in the pass decade, which, unfortunately did not happen. What they have done is just rotating grade 1-8 repertoire pieces once in a while. Hence, it's a money grab system.
Perhaps this is a bit OT, but exams are a means to an end, and not the end in itself. A teacher who can't see this will find something else to grab onto. However, there are many good teachers out there who use these things as a goal for students, yes, but not the primary focus of their teaching.

The same argument could be said for method books. Bad teachers use good method books in a bad way, "passing" students on to the next without ensuring the student has learned the skills necessary to play the music within them. It's not the fault of the method books.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 10:39 AM

I'd like to get back to the original topic, which imho is an extremely important one.

First item is the question when a transfer student comes in with difficulties: Is it due to the previous teacher? Might it not be due the student or family - not wanting to practice or listen, parents undermining progress, maybe a learning disability that hasn't been found? I think that is legitimate, and you can't always tell, especially right away. I think that AZNpiano is talking about the times when you can tell.

We've had stories of third year transfer students where every note has a finger number penciled in by the teacher, and the student can't read. Or what if a transfer student comes in clueless and lost, and is soon wowed by "how much she is learning" and makes tremendous progress and continues to do so. Things of that nature.

I believe strongly that musical ability is built on fundamental skills and knowledge, the kind which is transmitted in the first years. If any of those skills are missing, problems will crop up in weird areas and you may not know why. Take your transfer student with wonky timing. Is there weak understanding of note values, what counting means, understanding of pulse or meter, reading skills, or technique that makes movements jerky? You're at grade 7 but the problem may lie in something that the student didn't get at a preliminary level.

Would it make sense for transfer students to be given a review of the fundamentals, in the way the new teacher teaches them, to make sure there are no hidden holes?

I am in a transfer situation myself, and in addition as a teacher I have done remediation and troubleshooting with students outside the area of music. It almost always seems to come down to the core things.

That said, in reflection of AZNpiano's sentiment, if a person does not yet know enough, maybe they should hold off teaching - especially beginners who are getting the foundations - until they do. It's the student who suffers. Polyphonist expressed in his post that teachers would not want to teach students who began this way: that is not fair to the student. It's better if that situation is avoided in the first place.
Posted by: childofparadise2002

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 10:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Perhaps this is a bit OT, but exams are a means to an end, and not the end in itself.


I can't agree more. If a teacher wants to teach to the exam, he/she can always do so no matter how the exams change. If a teacher understands what a student should really learn, he/she should teach the student accordingly and the student will have a solid foundation and consequently will score well in exams if he/she chooses to participate. Exams are meant to help students achieve a well-rounded education. If teachers/parents choose to view exams as hoops to let the students jump through, it's their own fault.
Posted by: Jeff Clef

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 07:24 PM

"...At least for incompetent teachers. Usually the problem is that the teacher can barely sightread themselves, so they are uncomfortable teaching it to the student..."

How funny--- this is exactly what my brother (the high school band director) said about the teacher who 'didn't approve' of teaching students to play scales.

To the word.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 07:27 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring


We've had stories of third year transfer students where every note has a finger number penciled in by the teacher, and the student can't read.

Third year? How about any NUMBER of years of supposed teaching where reading was never covered and finger numbers becamse a lethal crutch?
Quote:

Or what if a transfer student comes in clueless and lost, and is soon wowed by "how much she is learning" and makes tremendous progress and continues to do so. Things of that nature.

That seldom happens until a faulty foundation is fixed, and that can take a long time, if it can even be done...
Quote:

Would it make sense for transfer students to be given a review of the fundamentals, in the way the new teacher teaches them, to make sure there are no hidden holes?

Yes, but it is not so simple, and there is no magic book or set of skills that can be checked in order unless you take each student back to zero, and many or even most transfers will get discouraged and quit before you can get the job done.
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 08:01 PM

Originally Posted By: childofparadise2002
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Perhaps this is a bit OT, but exams are a means to an end, and not the end in itself.


I can't agree more. If a teacher wants to teach to the exam, he/she can always do so no matter how the exams change. If a teacher understands what a student should really learn, he/she should teach the student accordingly and the student will have a solid foundation and consequently will score well in exams if he/she chooses to participate. Exams are meant to help students achieve a well-rounded education. If teachers/parents choose to view exams as hoops to let the students jump through, it's their own fault.


I can't agree more with you too childparadise!

Exams is a tool and depend on the teacher how to use it. Good teacher will use it in a nice and balance way. Bad teacher (just like the one in original post by ANZ) would use it badly. That is why when it comes to piano education, selecting a good teacher is more important than taking exams. Unfortunately a lot of parents being misinformed, they just want their children to pass the exams at whatever cost, even if it means the education is not well-round to a point of "malnutrition". Imagine a diet with only meat with no vege and fruit at all, it is only lead to self-destruction.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/18/13 09:40 PM

Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
However, if a student fail Sight-reading but get very high rank for repertoire and technique, depends on the evaluator, he would still pass the performance part of the test.

Is this what you tell your students?

If you fail sight reading, you can still "pass" CM if:
1) your technique is average,
2) your repertoire is average, and
3) you pass the theory/ear training test at 70% or higher.

Back in 2009 I got a truckload of these awful students transferring to me from three teachers. These students were passed along from level to level, scraping by at the bottom of the barrel. Alas, there are only so many miracles I can perform.
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/19/13 12:02 PM

Originally Posted By: ANZ
Is this what you tell your students?


No.

I tell my students:
What is the good for going to CM test and receive everything "Average" or less? So, we are going to focus for "Excellent" and "Good" in all areas. As far as theory test, anything less than 90% is considered "not good" in my standard. On the top of CM syllabus we also learn composition, reading sheet music, playing popular music etc as part of the curriculum.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/19/13 01:52 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
if a person does not yet know enough, maybe they should hold off teaching - especially beginners who are getting the foundations - until they do. It's the student who suffers.

The irony is that beginners are harder to teach than intermediate students. To a degree, the well-trained students at the early advanced level (easy sonatas, Bach Inventions) are probably even easier to teach.

But, of course, all teachers who start teaching inevitably start with a bunch of beginners.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/19/13 02:03 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
if a person does not yet know enough, maybe they should hold off teaching - especially beginners who are getting the foundations - until they do. It's the student who suffers.

The irony is that beginners are harder to teach than intermediate students. To a degree, the well-trained students at the early advanced level (easy sonatas, Bach Inventions) are probably even easier to teach.

But, of course, all teachers who start teaching inevitably start with a bunch of beginners.

I have seen the idea put forth in a number of music forums for new teachers to begin with intermediate students, and quite possibly apprentice with a teacher who mentors them into it. If a new teacher does start with beginners, that teacher should know enough, and also think it through.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/19/13 03:52 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

The irony is that beginners are harder to teach than intermediate students.

There is no irony there. That's where you set the foundation for everything that comes after.
Quote:

To a degree, the well-trained students at the early advanced level (easy sonatas, Bach Inventions) are probably even easier to teach.

Yes, but who does the "good training"? If you don't do it yourself, you are dependent on what has been taught by other teachers, and then it gets hard because you have to fix things.
Quote:

But, of course, all teachers who start teaching inevitably start with a bunch of beginners.

I WANT those beginners, because if they stick with me they are my best students.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/19/13 04:25 PM

Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
What is the good for going to CM test and receive everything "Average" or less? So, we are going to focus for "Excellent" and "Good" in all areas. As far as theory test, anything less than 90% is considered "not good" in my standard. On the top of CM syllabus we also learn composition, reading sheet music, playing popular music etc as part of the curriculum.

That's all well and good, but what incentive do kids have for getting better than average? They still get the same certificate. Branch Honors is a complete joke. Even Convention Honors is a joke nowadays. By the time kids get to Panel, they're so busy with high school, they stop lessons altogether, or they stop doing Panel.

After some consideration, I pulled a couple of my more talented students out of CM this year because the program doesn't foster excellence; it promotes "passing." I try to tell my students' parents that CM is aimed at the average student, so if your kids are clearly above-average, then why would they do CM? Passing Level 10 doesn't mean the student is playing at level 10. It just means the student passed a test.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/19/13 04:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Yes, but who does the "good training"? If you don't do it yourself, you are dependent on what has been taught by other teachers, and then it gets hard because you have to fix things.

True. But there are degrees of "damage" that need to be undone. Some kids just have a posture problem. Some don't know any theory. Some have very lousy scales and arpeggios. Some are slow readers of notes. Every transfer student is unique. Sometimes it doesn't take very long to fix the bad habits. In some cases, the damage is beyond repair.

That's the reason for this thread. It's an open letter to all those posers and incompetent piano teachers who OBVIOUSLY should stay out of the profession. Their gross incompetence is making other teachers' job that much more difficult.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/19/13 05:00 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

That's the reason for this thread. It's an open letter to all those posers and incompetent piano teachers who OBVIOUSLY should stay out of the profession. Their gross incompetence is making other teachers' job that much more difficult.


The person who understands what is involved in music and piano, what needs to be taught, what learning is about etc. - that person will also catch when these things are not present. But a person (teacher) who does not yet have these things will not know what it is that they are missing. Will they know they are doing harm, or that anything they are doing is wrong? Probably not. Whatever is their everyday reality with their students is "normal" to them. If a student is struggling, they may put it down to "poor student attitude" - maybe all of their students have "poor attitude".

What about the teacher who is extreme in teaching for exams or other papers of recognition - the ones who teach only three pieces a year, write in finger numbers, or heavily choreograph etc. That teacher will have all kinds of statistics about them being a "great teacher" - will that teacher be aware of their own lacks? Same thing.

They may tsk tsk along with you, and never realize that they are among those you are addressing.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/19/13 11:29 PM

Now, I think, is the time to ask you guys...

I do private lessons only. Flourished with love of music, all kinds of games, to younger and older students and various programs. Still I allow my students to be quite free in their choice of repertoire up to a point. If they do not like Bach, let it be... no Bach. If they don't like Mozart either let it be... no Mozart either.

This has worked out fine, because there certainly comes a point when they are having trouble with all the Chopin they want to play and I go "Hem... try this one... It will help you out". But this may take years. Same with scales! In fact yesterday I had a lesson with a 16 year old, who's not doing scales (her choice). And we were doing the amazingly lovely Incognito (Jazz Nocturne) by our own [/b]Jason[/b] Kreisler. Well there's a part with a Gm harmonic scale and she was struggling a bit! laugh That was it. She's on several scales for next week!

I'm also composing for them on the fly, so sight reading is also prevailed...

However with this system, if Kreisler's piece hadn't arrived that student wouldn't have wanted to do scales. and that would be a huge loss and I a bad teacher???

AZ: She's the one I sent you the Chopin Prelude video in a PM...
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 01:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Now, I think, is the time to ask you guys...

I do private lessons only. Flourished with love of music, all kinds of games, to younger and older students and various programs. Still I allow my students to be quite free in their choice of repertoire up to a point. If they do not like Bach, let it be... no Bach. If they don't like Mozart either let it be... no Mozart either.

This has worked out fine, because there certainly comes a point when they are having trouble with all the Chopin they want to play and I go "Hem... try this one... It will help you out". But this may take years. Same with scales! In fact yesterday I had a lesson with a 16 year old, who's not doing scales (her choice). And we were doing the amazingly lovely Incognito (Jazz Nocturne) by our own [/b]Jason[/b] Kreisler. Well there's a part with a Gm harmonic scale and she was struggling a bit! laugh That was it. She's on several scales for next week!

I'm also composing for them on the fly, so sight reading is also prevailed...

However with this system, if Kreisler's piece hadn't arrived that student wouldn't have wanted to do scales. and that would be a huge loss and I a bad teacher???

No. You're just not a perfect teacher. You have not yet found a way to be all things to all people. smile

If today you decide to stress scales more, you students probably will be better at those scales in the future - but something else will fall.

No one does everything equally well, and that includes both students and teachers.

The worst teachers are often those who DO think they can teach everything to everyone, and that there is nothing they could do better.

===================

By the way, every time I see this thread I am SO tempted to start a new thread: "Bad Santa mad " wink
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 03:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
However with this system, if Kreisler's piece hadn't arrived that student wouldn't have wanted to do scales. and that would be a huge loss and I a bad teacher???

AZ: She's the one I sent you the Chopin Prelude video in a PM...

I don't get how that would make you a bad teacher. Just for not teaching scales? Your student sounded fine.
Posted by: mabraman

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 03:54 AM

I live with a whole family of teachers (wife and her relatives, they all teach) and it's always the same discussion.
Teaching well is very difficult, and you have to put your soul on it, but too many times that job is not a first choice in life, but a compromise instead.
I donĀ“t know how it works all around, but here there's no teaching degree in the Conservatory, anymore. There was a time when you had to be specially qualified if you wanted to teach at a pro level. Nothing ideal but something, at least.
Nowadays, you just have a glance at it (a couple of subjects, perhaps), complete your degree and start looking for pupils to earn some money (to pay the rent while you are in the university, or whatever).
I'm just a year old as piano student, and so far what I've seen is: "old school" teachers, poor methods (if any), hand-writers (no tablet or laptops in the room, scribbled sheets), not a clever use of e-mail, no clear short/medium/long therm goals, Hanon and Czerny everywhere...
A few days ago I met a music teacher from a public high school and we were talking about this much, and how I'm always searching for webs to build up my own practice method, and so on.
I asked him for a good book in spanish, that taught how to practice. There aren't! Yikes,teaching music is like a secret sect! smile
Luckily, us motivated adults can surf the net and fill the gaps, and some of us can even read in other languages but, what about the kids?
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 04:02 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
However with this system, if Kreisler's piece hadn't arrived that student wouldn't have wanted to do scales. and that would be a huge loss and I a bad teacher???

AZ: She's the one I sent you the Chopin Prelude video in a PM...

I don't get how that would make you a bad teacher. Just for not teaching scales? Your student sounded fine.
Thanks...

It's just that she's missing the scales part of the practice and study all together (until recently at least).

Same with Mozart. she's played that Chopin prelude, yet just got her very first Mozart! So obviously my teaching is unbalanced to a point (though I AM aware of that... So at least I'm not ignorant).
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 04:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
It's just that she's missing the scales part of the practice and study all together (until recently at least).

Same with Mozart. she's played that Chopin prelude, yet just got her very first Mozart! So obviously my teaching is unbalanced to a point (though I AM aware of that... So at least I'm not ignorant).

There is a difference between being an unbalanced teacher and a completely inept one.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 04:31 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
It's just that she's missing the scales part of the practice and study all together (until recently at least).

Same with Mozart. she's played that Chopin prelude, yet just got her very first Mozart! So obviously my teaching is unbalanced to a point (though I AM aware of that... So at least I'm not ignorant).

There is a difference between being an unbalanced teacher and a completely inept one.

But who is balanced? And it is your definition or mine? Or someone else's?

Who gets to make the judgment?

That's what makes it all so difficult.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 04:46 AM

In my opinion, experience and life experience (being taught I mean) the far most important thing is for my students to LOVE piano. Scratch that: TO ADORE IT! This is why I've turned to a much more flexible teacher for the past couple of years.

I was taught Czerny, Bach, Haydn, etc... All of which are fine and dandy, only did not impress me at all. I would even argue that I ended up a composer, because of the lack of anything interesting to play.

I want my students to love piano, to love music and to sit on the piano bench when one is found in public! (which has happened in more than one occasion).

If the above works correctly, then the students on their own will visualize their limitations and attempt to fix them eventually.

This is far from a balanced plan, but it's the best I can think that works in the long run.

______________________________

Further explanation:

My wife and her sister, both got soloist diplomas in Greece (same that I did). Especially my wife's sister performed Rach 2 in her exams. Since then (about 15 years ago) she's not touched the piano ever again. My wife was lucky to find me, but her sister doesn't have me! laugh

This has made a big impact on me: How do you spend 15 years of your life, ending up playing Rach 2 and then ditching everything...

So forget balance, forget exams, forget scales until the students want them!
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 06:29 AM

Nikolas, one thing that jumps out at me is that you are writing about different approaches from the angle of choice of pieces: Czerny, Haydn, scales etc. vs. a different choice of pieces or the fact of having a choice of pieces. Taking off from there:

A while back I talked with a (retired?) teacher who is not on PW and who had also been asked to observe lessons of different teachers as a kind of consultant, during his career. We were talking about teaching approaches, and also the history of it. He described a "traditional" approach he had seen, and it matches what I think you got.

In the old "traditional" that he described, it was almost as though the pieces did the teaching. You did Czerny, Hanon, etc. in a particular order, and then you "had" the skills you needed. Merely by doing those pieces, you had them. I suppose if the teacher was intuitive enough and could guide the student toward skills along the way, then this worked. But as he described it, often the teachers just said "Correct your rhythm", "improve measures 30 - 45" week after week - without the student having a clue how to do those corrections. The goal was all about making the piece sound right. It was focused on the piece.

An alternate focus is to consider what skills go into piano playing, what kind of mindset (how to approach the music, how to practice) that you want to foster, and what knowledge the student needs to have. How does one build on top of the other, and what can come in more randomly? Pieces are still in there, because you can't learn to read music unless you have music to read; you can't learn legato touch unless you play music that requires it. But it shifts. And I think at that point you also get that flexibility of repertoire because you are not locked into the old fashioned mindset that says a given chain of pieces in a given order will "teach".
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 09:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
In my opinion, experience and life experience (being taught I mean) the far most important thing is for my students to LOVE piano. Scratch that: TO ADORE IT! This is why I've turned to a much more flexible teacher for the past couple of years.

I was taught Czerny, Bach, Haydn, etc... All of which are fine and dandy, only did not impress me at all. I would even argue that I ended up a composer, because of the lack of anything interesting to play.

I want my students to love piano, to love music and to sit on the piano bench when one is found in public! (which has happened in more than one occasion).

If the above works correctly, then the students on their own will visualize their limitations and attempt to fix them eventually.

This is far from a balanced plan, but it's the best I can think that works in the long run.



Nikolas, we are on a similar wavelength. It's a successful pedagogy for real life, beyond the conservatory.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 09:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
How do you spend 15 years of your life, ending up playing Rach 2 and then ditching everything...


Interesting question, but the situation is not unusual. Seldom explored, though, because there is a suggestion of failure behind the closing of the piano lid.

There are similar stories in all fields of endeavor. I suppose a more positive view is to say: life changes, and people change.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 11:19 AM

It seems to me that very few bad teachers probably know that they're bad.

This article may have some relevance. Or not, I've seen it work both ways:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/20/the-anosognosics-dilemma-1/?_r=0
Posted by: Kreisler

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 11:37 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
It seems to me that very few bad teachers probably know that they're bad.


Yep. This is why it's so important to involve one's students in auditions, exams, or festivals where they're evaluated by a third party.

It's also important to remember this bit of advice I got from one of my professors in college:

Do not measure yourself by your worst students. They will find a way to fail despite a teacher's best efforts. Do not measure yourself by your best students. They will find a way to succeed despite a teacher's worst efforts. Measure yourself by the middle, because those are the ones for whom a teacher makes the most difference.

The trick is that transfer students can fall into any of those categories, and it's often difficult to tell which of those categories a student is in until you've worked with them a bit. Interviewing can help. Knowing something about the previous teacher can help. But there are no guarantees.
Posted by: Troy 125

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 11:42 AM

It boils down to that saying - everyone's crazy except you and me, and I'm not so sure about you.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 11:48 AM

There must be many subcategories of bad teachers.

One might not result in the student learning much of anything.

But another may be very good at imparting skills to the student, only the skills are incorrect or injurious. These hardworking and well-intentioned teachers learned the wrong or obsolete methods from their teachers, and do an unfortunately good job in passing them on.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 11:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Kreisler
Do not measure yourself by your best students. They will find a way to succeed despite a teacher's worst efforts.

While I agree with most of what your professor said, this part just doesn't ring true. When things aren't being taught (correctly, or at all), the student is not going magically know how to do things.

By "succeed," I want students to realize their full musical potential. A bad teacher won't be able to do that.
Posted by: Minniemay

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 12:04 PM

So who determines what is correct?
Posted by: RG55

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 01:52 PM

To AZN Piano:

What qualities do you pocess that makes you a superior teacher?

Do you think that maybe these transfer students have bad habits because they just don't want to do piano and are forced by thier parents? It's not always bad teaching. There are poor students as well.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 02:17 PM

Originally Posted By: RG55
To AZN Piano:

What qualities do you pocess that makes you a superior teacher?

Do you think that maybe these transfer students have bad habits because they just don't want to do piano and are forced by thier parents? It's not always bad teaching. There are poor students as well.
AZNPiano isn't online at the moment but I'll take a stab at answering...

First of all I do not understand what you mean with the word "pocess". Process perhaps? but it doesn't make much sense either.

In any case I don't think AZN is saying that he's a superior teacher (and knowing him personally I know that he doesn't brag), but that he can see so many missing things and knowledge to the transfer students that it's something that seems to be attributed to bad teaching.

Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss. If you mention sight reading and offer a level 1 work, that the student has no clue what to do with then there's obviously a problem that isn't a lack of studying, but a lack of offering the chance to the student to simply know about it...

If this makes any sense...
Posted by: RG55

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 02:25 PM

possess not pocess, pretty easy to figure out....just a spelling error.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 02:30 PM

Originally Posted By: RG55
possess not pocess, pretty easy to figure out....just a spelling error.
Sorry... I'm the last to talk about tpyos... smile Didn't think of that!
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 03:17 PM

Originally Posted By: RG55
Do you think that maybe these transfer students have bad habits because they just don't want to do piano and are forced by thier parents? It's not always bad teaching. There are poor students as well.

I know that already. Don't forget about bad parents, too!
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 03:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 03:25 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.

What DO they teach then??
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 03:56 PM

Originally Posted By: RG55

Do you think that maybe these transfer students have bad habits because they just don't want to do piano and are forced by thier parents? It's not always bad teaching. There are poor students as well.

I addressed this, but it might have gotten lost in a too long post
Originally Posted By: KS
First item is the question when a transfer student comes in with difficulties: Is it due to the previous teacher? .... I think that AZNpiano is talking about the times when you can tell.

We've had stories of third year transfer students where every note has a finger number penciled in by the teacher, and the student can't read. Or what if a transfer student comes in clueless and lost, and is soon wowed by "how much she is learning"* and makes tremendous progress and continues to do so. Things of that nature.


* (referring to one story told in this thread)
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 04:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.

What DO they teach then??

Finger numbers?

Actually, students can get quite far without learning intervals. They can just learn the letter names and press down the correct keys. Obviously, the concept of M3 vs. m3 eludes them, and they won't gain an appreciation for why the melody sounds good, or why certain passages sound "ugly" on purpose.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 04:24 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.

What DO they teach then??

Finger numbers?

Actually, students can get quite far without learning intervals. They can just learn the letter names and press down the correct keys.

Wow. I knew there were a lot of ignorant teachers, but are they really THIS ignorant? You've seen people that teach this way?
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 04:42 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
What is the good for going to CM test and receive everything "Average" or less? So, we are going to focus for "Excellent" and "Good" in all areas. As far as theory test, anything less than 90% is considered "not good" in my standard. On the top of CM syllabus we also learn composition, reading sheet music, playing popular music etc as part of the curriculum.


That's all well and good, but what incentive do kids have for getting better than average? They still get the same certificate. Branch Honors is a complete joke. Even Convention Honors is a joke nowadays. By the time kids get to Panel, they're so busy with high school, they stop lessons altogether, or they stop doing Panel.

After some consideration, I pulled a couple of my more talented students out of CM this year because the program doesn't foster excellence; it promotes "passing." I try to tell my students' parents that CM is aimed at the average student, so if your kids are clearly above-average, then why would they do CM? Passing Level 10 doesn't mean the student is playing at level 10. It just means the student passed a test.


To answer your questions:
What incentive they get for being better than average? Answer is nothing but a "good job" from me, a well-rounded education in piano, a chance of not to hate piano in future (remember Nikolas sister in law who played Rach 2 and never touch piano again? I am trying to produce students who is opposite of that). I educate parents that CM is just a tool, it is "not everything" about piano education.

I am totally agree with you that the program doesn't foster excellence, but it promotes passing only. However, it is not my decision to pull any of my students out from the test just because I think so. I always educate the parents of what is my most honest opinions, and let them decide themselves.

So, no, they are not getting any tangible incentive to be better than average, mostly I educate them to value what is intangible because that is something that no one can grab away from them once they master a certain concepts.
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 04:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Minniemay
So who determines what is correct?


I really like your question. This is probably the best question asked in this thread.

I do not have the "correct" answer to your question, but I can offer my opinion:

What is the best meal plan?
--Paleo
--Clean eating
--Mediterranean
--Low fat
--Low carb
--Vegetarian
--Vegan
--Raw Food
--Gluten Free
etc......

Each of those meal plan sounds okay and standard to me. Problem is, would I be happy to be only vegetarian? Is my kitchen equip to cook only raw food? Can I get clean meat from my local grocery store if I opt for "clean eating"? All these has to come into factors. Sometimes I think a good teacher should have the recipe for all of these plans ready, present it to parents, have them choose from it and teach accordingly. A good teacher also should know the pros and cons of each plan and present it to parents without bias and have them decide themselves.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 05:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist

Wow. I knew there were a lot of ignorant teachers, but are they really THIS ignorant? You've seen people that teach this way?

Those are the realities, PP. This is why I was upset when you were suggesting that one should not bother teaching such students, because students taught this way will assume they have been learning properly, and won't understand why they are having problems with what the new teacher is giving them. It is not fair and it should not happen. That is why AZN started this thread.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 05:51 PM

Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org

I do not have the "correct" answer to your question, but I can offer my opinion:

What is the best meal plan?
--Paleo
--Clean eating
--Mediterranean..................

I have an answer to your metaphorical question:

The counterpart to a teacher in your metaphor would be a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian. I would expect this person to understand how the human body works, how food works (nutrition), and I would expect this person to check my health and history and then apply that knowledge to my needs.

I can see a self-medicating individual grabbing a packaged diet at random, because he is an amateur taking stabs in the dark. But I would not expect a nutritionist to do so.

In the same way, a good teacher will have knowledge of what skills and knowledge are needed in order to play the piano, and will be observing her student while guiding and using that knowledge. Even if that teacher ascribes to a program, hopefully underneath it all, the teacher is using that knowledge as her actual guidelines for guiding the student.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 07:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Minniemay
So who determines what is correct?

I made the same point and was ignored...
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 07:24 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.

What DO they teach then??

Finger numbers?

Actually, students can get quite far without learning intervals. They can just learn the letter names and press down the correct keys.

Wow. I knew there were a lot of ignorant teachers, but are they really THIS ignorant? You've seen people that teach this way?

Most of the teachers in my area teach this way, and they do not have a clue what is wrong.

Have you seen Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play?"

This is without doubt one of the worst books ever written, yet it is still very popular. Every note has a finger number. And each page shows a picture of what finger goes where. Guaranteed to kill reading...
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 08:16 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
So who determines what is correct?

I made the same point and was ignored...


Sorry Gary, maybe your post is too long to read, then usually people just skip it.

smile hihi, I am a ADHD teacher!!
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 08:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary
Have you seen Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play?" This is without doubt one of the worst books ever written, yet it is still very popular.


Agree. thumb
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 09:18 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Have you seen Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play?"

No. Can you link a PDF?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 09:21 PM

Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Minniemay
So who determines what is correct?

I made the same point and was ignored...


Sorry Gary, maybe your post is too long to read, then usually people just skip it.

I can't imagine teachers being that rude to each other. (Also puzzled about the 'too long' posts.)
Posted by: ezpiano.org

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 10:14 PM

I am sorry for being rude to you, but that is not my intention. It is just that I cannot concentrate in reading and comprehending when the post is too long...
Posted by: catpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 10:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Thing is this: If you check with a student and he doesn't seem to have a clue on what on earth is an interval (for example), but has had a few years of lesson, then something's amiss.

Ha! Remember the last time somebody brought that up? Apparently some teachers don't teach intervals.

What DO they teach then??

Finger numbers?

Actually, students can get quite far without learning intervals. They can just learn the letter names and press down the correct keys.

Wow. I knew there were a lot of ignorant teachers, but are they really THIS ignorant? You've seen people that teach this way?

Most of the teachers in my area teach this way, and they do not have a clue what is wrong.

Have you seen Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play?"

This is without doubt one of the worst books ever written, yet it is still very popular. Every note has a finger number. And each page shows a picture of what finger goes where. Guaranteed to kill reading...


Thompson's books are awful. I had a student for two years when she was in pre-k and kindergarten. I had her in Faber's My First Piano Adventures; she was a very bright little girl and had just started level 1 when I stopped teaching her. Last year, when she was in 1st grade she moved away for the year and studied with a different teacher; now she's back with me. Her teacher last year put her in Thompson's. She came back to me playing much more advanced pieces than I had her playing. I was so happy with her progress until I noticed all the finger numbers! When I jumped back to Faber, she no longer recognized even middle c on the staff.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 10:58 PM

Originally Posted By: ezpiano.org
I am sorry for being rude to you, but that is not my intention. It is just that I cannot concentrate in reading and comprehending when the post is too long...

This had nothing to do with you, nor was it about rudeness. I was simply saying that I had made the same point, slightly different words:

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
It's just that she's missing the scales part of the practice and study all together (until recently at least).

Same with Mozart. she's played that Chopin prelude, yet just got her very first Mozart! So obviously my teaching is unbalanced to a point (though I AM aware of that... So at least I'm not ignorant).

There is a difference between being an unbalanced teacher and a completely inept one.

But who is balanced? And it is your definition or mine? Or someone else's?

Who gets to make the judgment?

That's what makes it all so difficult.


Hardly anything long... smile
Posted by: malkin

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 10:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.

Have you seen Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play?"
This is without doubt one of the worst books ever written...


I did love the elves from the old edition, though.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/20/13 11:07 PM

"What is correct"?

I think in a more common sense context "correct" is the results that most educated people in the field want. Stats mean nothing if you take into account wrecking ball, but if you do put the stats into a classically educated crowd then you might be on to something.

So what is correct is what the classical crowd is looking for.

For a silly break down:

1. To all students: To produce people who enjoy classical music and are not turned off by the elitism found here (<-not in Pianoworld).
2. To most students: To produce people who can play a little music and understand the value of it. Just take a look at the ABF and you'll see what I mean!
3. To a few students: To produce well rounded professionals. Those who will go on to teach, lecture, perform slightly and/or be in an orchestra (the last one doesn't really apply to piano, but...).
4. To a handful of students: To produce awesome professionals capable of a career.

I think that the above comes to terms with what people can do.

In that context I think that most students (but not all) would benefit a bit from sight reading skills, but if we are to face the truth, few would actually need it along the lines. I mean, very few of us have come face to face with a brand new score to learn or play right there! Professionals do, amateurs don't really. Or not?

PS. Finger numbers: grrrr... Last night I was with a 9 year old student. Very bright, fun to be with, etc. So last week I assigned a work that had the hand position starting from D, instead of C. teeheehee... She couldn't get one note right! She was SO used (hard wired?) to the 3rd (middle) finger being in E, so she kept banging on F instead! laugh Twas a nice evening lesson I think. Ended up putting on adagio for strings by Barber because she asked if I had anything "adagio" (because it's slow, she said) to assign! grin

EDIT: A dramatic cutscene and sorry for the continuous edits...

I found this over facebook: http://www.quickmeme.com/p/3vpacv I think it's quite relevant.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/21/13 02:14 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas

In that context I think that most students (but not all) would benefit a bit from sight reading skills, but if we are to face the truth, few would actually need it along the lines. I mean, very few of us have come face to face with a brand new score to learn or play right there! Professionals do, amateurs don't really. Or not?

But aren't you making a differentiation between reading ability and sight-reading ability?

I don't do that.

I teach every student I work with that there is a direct link between getting results fast when learning new music and reading ability, because reading ability is what allows you to get each section to as close to target speed as possible in the last amount of time - assuming we are talking about mastering something that is notated.

I see an absolute connection between quick learning and reading fluency, and there is not a great reader on the planet who cannot also sight-read well.

The two things are not different, just different degrees or a different focus.

It's sort of like saying that the only people who need to read text fluently are actors, because they can learn their scripts faster, and the rest of us will never use fluent reading.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/21/13 02:22 AM

Gary: I think that I meant a slightly different thing. Not that most students do not need it "at all", but it's not needed at a high enough level, to warrant a failed exam because of that alone...

Reading an language text is different because of a couple of things, than reading a music text. First of all is the getting used symptom: You get to read English and tons of that everywhere you go. I'd argue that 50% of our time we get to check a text (in any language). When you read a book, the news, watching the telly, the internet, in the cans, the manuals, everywhere... The same doesn't apply to a music text.

Secondly the involvement in playing an instrument demands an enormous amount of coordination and skills, that reading doesn't.

So, for me sight reading involves performing at the same time, while reading doesn't (it involves studying more or less). So the demands are very different.

* I think *
Posted by: Brinestone

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/21/13 12:56 PM


Quote:
Thompson's books are awful. I had a student for two years when she was in pre-k and kindergarten. I had her in Faber's My First Piano Adventures; she was a very bright little girl and had just started level 1 when I stopped teaching her. Last year, when she was in 1st grade she moved away for the year and studied with a different teacher; now she's back with me. Her teacher last year put her in Thompson's. She came back to me playing much more advanced pieces than I had her playing. I was so happy with her progress until I noticed all the finger numbers! When I jumped back to Faber, she no longer recognized even middle c on the staff.


That is seriously tragic. I can see myself crying about that after the lesson was over.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/22/13 03:17 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
Have you seen Thompson's "Teaching Little Fingers to Play?"

This is without doubt one of the worst books ever written, yet it is still very popular. Every note has a finger number. And each page shows a picture of what finger goes where. Guaranteed to kill reading...

I think we visited JT problems before. One of my recent transfers is about to be done with her JT book, and I can't wait to see what'll happen once I get her to a method book that has minimal finger numbers.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/22/13 03:29 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I see an absolute connection between quick learning and reading fluency, and there is not a great reader on the planet who cannot also sight-read well.

The two things are not different, just different degrees or a different focus.

But what about kids who can read (cognitively process) notes really fast, but their hands are just so uncoordinated, or seriously lacking in fine-motor skills, that playing the correct key on the piano is well-nigh impossible?

Also, sight reading has a multitasking and a rhythm component, and any weakness in those areas will strongly affect sight reading.

What do you think?
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/22/13 07:38 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
I see an absolute connection between quick learning and reading fluency, and there is not a great reader on the planet who cannot also sight-read well.

The two things are not different, just different degrees or a different focus.

But what about kids who can read (cognitively process) notes really fast, but their hands are just so uncoordinated, or seriously lacking in fine-motor skills, that playing the correct key on the piano is well-nigh impossible?

Also, sight reading has a multitasking and a rhythm component, and any weakness in those areas will strongly affect sight reading.

What do you think?
I agree that there's two aspects in reading or sight reading: the rhythm and the pitch. If one is deficient, then sight reading will suffer, and learning pieces will take longer.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/22/13 08:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene

I agree that there's two aspects in reading or sight reading: the rhythm and the pitch. If one is deficient, then sight reading will suffer, and learning pieces will take longer.


It has seemed to me that reading and sightreading differ in the degree of connection to strict time.

When sightreading one cannot disconnect; the show has to go on. When learning a piece by reading most people feel less requirement to stay strictly with time (outside of the Caruso followers maybe)

I'm curious about those who learn a piece by listening without reading; I never do that myself so I have no experience base.

Last night I subbed with a good local community band on trombone. (I accidentaly sent an email to the wrong person and volunteered to play their Christmas concert, for a band I'd never played with. Oh, well.) All the pieces in a two hour rehearsal were new to me, so it was two straight hours of sightreading at performance tempo. That's really fun, but demands your concentration not slip. I needed a beer after that.

But if I'd been given the music to prepare, my approach would have been a bit different.
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/22/13 09:04 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene

I agree that there's two aspects in reading or sight reading: the rhythm and the pitch. If one is deficient, then sight reading will suffer, and learning pieces will take longer.


It has seemed to me that reading and sightreading differ in the degree of connection to strict time.

When sightreading one cannot disconnect; the show has to go on. When learning a piece by reading most people feel less requirement to stay strictly with time (outside of the Caruso followers maybe)

I'm curious about those who learn a piece by listening without reading; I never do that myself so I have no experience base.

Last night I subbed with a good local community band on trombone. (I accidentaly sent an email to the wrong person and volunteered to play their Christmas concert, for a band I'd never played with. Oh, well.) All the pieces in a two hour rehearsal were new to me, so it was two straight hours of sightreading at performance tempo. That's really fun, but demands your concentration not slip. I needed a beer after that.

But if I'd been given the music to prepare, my approach would have been a bit different.
Still, if you can decipher pitch and rhythm faster, then you will learn a piece faster even when not "sight reading" but learning a new piece. The two are linked and they can help one another, although the requirements for each are slightly different.

PS: I find sight reading singing much easier than piano, one note at a time is easy, even if you add words smile
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/22/13 07:55 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Gary: I think that I meant a slightly different thing. Not that most students do not need it "at all", but it's not needed at a high enough level, to warrant a failed exam because of that alone...

Reading an language text is different because of a couple of things, than reading a music text. First of all is the getting used symptom: You get to read English and tons of that everywhere you go. I'd argue that 50% of our time we get to check a text (in any language). When you read a book, the news, watching the telly, the internet, in the cans, the manuals, everywhere... The same doesn't apply to a music text.

Secondly the involvement in playing an instrument demands an enormous amount of coordination and skills, that reading doesn't.

So, for me sight reading involves performing at the same time, while reading doesn't (it involves studying more or less). So the demands are very different.

* I think *

We are talking past each other. I don't disagree. smile

But their are parallels and pitfalls. Think back to a time when most people did not read, when it was considered something special, before the printing press maybe.

Then think of people who learned to read by reading the Bible over and over, stuff like that.

Some of these people eventually had a good bit of the Bible memorized, but that did not mean that they read the Bible fluently. They may have, but not necessarily.

Now, if you have something MOSTLY memorized but still read it a little, you may hold a book while reading and appear to be reading very fluently simply because the text is mostly in your head, most of the way.

There was also a time when people of all ages were forced to "recite", and that meant memorizing poems, parts of plays, and so on. Obviously when people "recite" well that does not show how quickly they read, right? We would also want to find out what a "cold reading" sounds like, much like an actor who is handed a script and is asked to being reading it, on the spot.

Reading music is a bit like the actor who wants to pick up a script and begin rehearsing immediately. Obvious someone who has an endless amount of time to study the script will eventually be just as fluent when playing the role, but it should take a lot longer to get there, all things being equal - which they never are.

That's a bit how I see piano. If your goal is to open a score and get it as close to right the first time, the emphasis will be on reading, and that will carry over to sight-reading. I don't think that is something that is just important for professional musicians, mostly because there is no division between amateur and professional while a student is developing. He or she doesn't know where it is going to end.

I started accompanying in high school. I did not know I would do it. I did not prepare to do it. I was just a quick reader, and not every students could find an accompanyist.

At close to same time I found out that a voice teacher in town was advertising for a student accompanist. He wanted cheap labor, of course. smile I got the job sight-reading selections from "The Messiah". I did not know the music.

I got the ability in reading by reading everything, same was as English. I could not pass by a score, or a pop tune in sheet music form. I simply played everything that was around, and the fact that I murdered a lot of the music is part of it.

Most students never get there, but a huge reason WHY they do not get there is a fear of making mistakes, being criticized, not being perfect. That is probably why my number one focus in teaching is not producing young players who play impressively but rather young players who are extremely versatile, who learn easily and fast, and how may later, if they so wish, branch out into any number of areas...
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/23/13 06:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas

For a silly break down:

1. To all students: To produce people who enjoy classical music and are not turned off by the elitism found here (<-not in Pianoworld).
2. To most students: To produce people who can play a little music and understand the value of it. Just take a look at the ABF and you'll see what I mean!
3. To a few students: To produce well rounded professionals. Those who will go on to teach, lecture, perform slightly and/or be in an orchestra (the last one doesn't really apply to piano, but...).
4. To a handful of students: To produce awesome professionals capable of a career.

I think that the above comes to terms with what people can do.

In that context I think that most students (but not all) would benefit a bit from sight reading skills, but if we are to face the truth, few would actually need it along the lines. I mean, very few of us have come face to face with a brand new score to learn or play right there! Professionals do, amateurs don't really. Or not?

I'd like to replace "sight reading" in the sense of an accompanist facing a new score and an eager choir or soloist all at the same time with something more basic - instead: being able to go through a new score at an easier pace, to get a sense of the piece without having to resort to a recording. I'd like to add the ability to read music and everything related to that.

The biggest thing in my mind beyond reading is simply skills. That a student gets the skills and the knowledge that they need so they can play piano, and do so after leaving lessons. But that goes beyond the quoted topic.

I'm looking at your breakdown. The one thing that I would question is the division along the idea of careers. Yes, a professional performer who goes on stage as a soloist needs the skills or he'll never get there. But someone who has those skills doesn't necessarily have to become a performer.

My interest is above all in the first stages of learning. At that point you don't know whether that student will be in your category 1, 2, 3, or 4 (in terms of skills, with or without the career). But if they don't get solid foundations, then they are compromised for anything they might reach after that. If the student is shortcutted through pieces, or given only a few pieces in order to shine at performance in exams or recitals, if that student ends up missing skills, then he'll struggle later. The tragic thing is that the student won't know why, and will think there is something wrong with him. That becomes your transfer student that the next teacher sees with dismay.
Posted by: Mike.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 12:32 AM

I am not a piano teacher.... however I am looking for one. Now here is what I would suggest to anyone teaching piano. Some advice.

NUMBER ONE!!!!

I don't care about your "star" 12 year old student that can play anything while i am trying to learn. keep it up I go away.

NUMBER TWO!!!!

I don't want to hear about your student's recitals and hear about how older students won't be as good or make it to concert pianist quality like a student that started playing in their Mothers womb because in my situation my parents couldn't afford piano lessons as we needed groceries more. again I go away.

NUMBER THREE

I don't like clock watchers,

NUMBER FOUR.

Some "star students" learn certain ways and the suckier students may not learn the same way so if you truly care about the student maybe find a way to crack their brain. some bad students are practicing and they are LONGING to be good. But every brain is different. try all approaches there is a way to get them to be stars as well if you work to try to find it. remember learning is a two way street. I teach Dressage and Banjo. I am a teacher and I also teach CCD in my Church. So i have some experience.

A good teacher will have patience with their students and bad teachers don't. I learned to play banjo with Bill Keith the best teacher i ever had only banjo teacher that knew music theory and I learned it which is helping me drastically in keys. I never met a piano teacher like him.

It also isn't all about money it is about spreading the art and sharing the art. (Do you know how many really cool church organs I get from churches? for free? TONS) There are students that are broke sometimes you need to give in order to receive. and being generous won't take your knowledge away. it only enhances it. Whilst knowing teachers deserve groceries. but sometimes student stacking is crap and annoying and I don't like it.

I am speaking of experience. both as a student and a teacher. and some riding instructors can make that little old Nun with the ruler a joy to be around. I am still looking for my dream piano teacher. I hope it will be God. but till then I have no choice but to teach myself and it is working out better so far. Some students (Myself included) don't read well (Virgil Fox as well) and the hesitation will drive me out of my skin. Now i am working on putting hands together and then will try to read. I thought i would share my feelings. I may be wrong but I am going on what I found in my search.
Posted by: Brinestone

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 01:01 AM

Mike, I'm with you 100%. I still feel bad sometimes that there were some students whose brains I couldn't completely "crack," as you say. I feel somewhat like I failed them, but not for lack of trying. Teaching is not about the prestige or satisfaction of producing prodigies. It's about sharing music: sharing the ability to make music, the joy of appreciating music, the care to be deliberate with music. And it's about students first and foremost.

I remember in college, when I majored in secondary English teaching, being told that I shouldn't choose that major if I loved English more than I loved teenagers. I should have listened because really, if you don't like students, even the "difficult" ones, you're going to be a miserable teacher.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 01:32 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

But what about kids who can read (cognitively process) notes really fast, but their hands are just so uncoordinated, or seriously lacking in fine-motor skills, that playing the correct key on the piano is well-nigh impossible?

Also, sight reading has a multitasking and a rhythm component, and any weakness in those areas will strongly affect sight reading.

What do you think?

I am defining fast reading/sight-reading as the ability to play music correctly and get to that point quickly. A student who has glaring rhythmical weaknesses is not going to be able to do that.

The same thing is true of someone with physical limitations, because such a student will be unable to turn what is on the page into a "playing-result". That's clumsy, but I can't think of a better wording.

However, this brings up an interesting point - are there people who hear the music in their heads much better than they can play it and who would also be capable of listening to others and making valuable corrections?

Well, we know some very famous composers have not been strong pianists, so if they wrote music which they obviously had to hear it all and be very comfortable with what they wrote down, and then some were excellent conductors, I don't know where that puts them, though obviously in a place I both do not understand and that humbles me.

For an example of a non-pianist there is the bio of Toscannini, who was a "mere cello player". He just started conducting opera out of nowhere, and I have read that he had a photographic memory. His talent goes far beyond anything I can hope to understand.

It gets complicated, doesn't it?

But for our rather limited focus here, just talking about what pianists have to do to be successful as pianists, I would say that all of us who work with scores have a huge advantage if we are able to read fast, meaning PLAY from score, quickly and easily. And in my world playing the right notes is not music, because music has rhythm.

Someone is probably going to accuse me of having a bias towards readers, as if people who are weak readers or non-readers are inferior, and that is NOT something I believe.

But I have never met a pianist, no matter how talented, who did not regret not being able to read better if s/he had a weakness in that area, perhaps for the same reason that I envy people who can play better by ear than I can.



Posted by: Mike.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 01:45 AM

I feel that being a well rounded piano player. Sight reading playing by ear is the dream of dreams. I have a friend that plays the organ. he is not a sight reader and he uses fake books. His excuse was that his hero didn't sight read and that was Virgil Fox. Virgil Fox i am sure would have told him that it would be much better to do so. I can read the treble clef. I am getting to where Fake books are understandable.
I know I am weak in reading and I envy (God hears me trust me) those that can take a score and just play it and I think it sucks when I can't. But I have qualities that others don't. I have great dexterity and I know i could play stride once I get the pianist in me out. I was told my left hand was excellent as fretting the banjo for thirty years has helped in that area. I also have large hands and I hear music in my head and can hear the chords and the key (most times) and I just lack the reading skills. Will i ever get to be a sight reader. I don't know. I play by ear and learning to read fake books. I am going to give it that college try. If i never sight read as long as i can play i don't care. but I'd surely rather.
Posted by: Mike.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 01:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Brinestone
Mike, I'm with you 100%. I still feel bad sometimes that there were some students whose brains I couldn't completely "crack," as you say. I feel somewhat like I failed them, but not for lack of trying. Teaching is not about the prestige or satisfaction of producing prodigies. It's about sharing music: sharing the ability to make music, the joy of appreciating music, the care to be deliberate with music. And it's about students first and foremost.

I remember in college, when I majored in secondary English teaching, being told that I shouldn't choose that major if I loved English more than I loved teenagers. I should have listened because really, if you don't like students, even the "difficult" ones, you're going to be a miserable teacher.


I wouldn't feel bad. I went to seminary as i thought I was called as a delayed vocation to the priethood I had to take undergrad courses. I took piano and the teacher I had was a nun. She was very unfriendly, The organist at the seminary was friends with her. I told him I really want to play the organ. Well she shared with him how I am not talented in the piano. I am one of those students that so far haven't met the right teacher. She was a witch. But often like with Dressage (riding horses) some students are not compatible with their instructors. I met a woman in SD that had 5 grand prix horses. She coached me and I went from 4th level to riding grand prix horses. We were a perfect fit. It is not the teachers fault if he/she is doing all he/she can. it is a compatibility issue. Some may think that person has no talent and the student is a lost cause. I however feel that it is a compatibility issue and with some instructor/student relationships it is like an Apple tying to run PC stuff. it is a tough fit. I am going it alone and I have gone so much further than with that nun or the other teachers I had which weren't many had one that I thought may be good and I had to relocate. As a student of the piano. and was a student of dressage and banjo the student MUST have that I can do attitude and the fortitude to forge on even if that means you are told you have no talent. That is for me as the student to believe or not. I am sure they thought Einstein was a dumb person. but he proved them all wrong. I also feel that miracles do happen. but I think that the student must find a compatible teacher and I believe that there is a match for 99% I hope to find a great teacher.
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 04:00 AM

Mike - what do you mean by "I don't like clock watchers."?

For lessons to start on time, they need to end on time - also, it is unreasonable to expect more, or less lesson time than you pay for. Or am I misunderstanding you?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 08:29 AM

I'm still stuck on this:
Originally Posted By: Nikolas

For a silly break down:

1. To all students: To produce people who enjoy classical music and are not turned off by the elitism found here (<-not in Pianoworld).
2. To most students: To produce people who can play a little music and understand the value of it. Just take a look at the ABF and you'll see what I mean!
3. To a few students: To produce well rounded professionals. Those who will go on to teach, lecture, perform slightly and/or be in an orchestra (the last one doesn't really apply to piano, but...).
4. To a handful of students: To produce awesome professionals capable of a career.

I think that the above comes to terms with what people can do.


The part I am stuck on is that it is seen in terms of careers. Someone may have the skills of your 4, but not be aiming to be a professional, or may not become a professional. Someone might teach (your 4) without having much in the way of skills.

The most important thing for me is that students get solid foundations. Those foundations are essential for the higher levels, or else it falls apart, but they are built in the very beginning. My concern is if this is not done in the first stage, because "this student won't need it - they are not going to become professionals". Reading ability is one such component, but there are others.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 08:42 AM

Keystring, I've run out of time. Weekends are kinda bad for me... Thus my lack of replies. I'll get back to you...
Posted by: Mike.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 12:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Mike - what do you mean by "I don't like clock watchers."?

For lessons to start on time, they need to end on time - also, it is unreasonable to expect more, or less lesson time than you pay for. Or am I misunderstanding you?


what I mean is that some teachers stack students to the the second. they want so many students that there is no time for questions or any extra time once and a while. Music is more than money. Also I meant teachers that constantly look at the clock. I also think half hour lessons are too short. when I teach a student to ride horses sometimes I would ask them to come for a 15 minute touch up the next day I don't charge,I see something that needs attention and sometimes the student needs a break and a lot of the time the next day the issue is quickly resolved when refreshed. the next day they are refreshed but not too much time has passed to where that would be uneffective. . I am different. I love to teach and give. God gave me talent to do things I like to show God my gratitude by giving what he gave me,God didn't charge me for every whip stitch thing he gave me, why should I? He also understands we need groceries and rent and all that. but at the same time compassion charity and giving back is also part of the equation. Some teachers don't get that part. Why is it unreasonable to ask for generosity once and a while?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 12:27 PM

I read somewhere that you are self-teaching atm. Have you had experience with piano or keyboard teachers, and if so, does what you write reflect your experience(s)? In youth or as an adult student? For any length of time? One teacher, or several?
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 12:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Mike.
I love to teach and give. God gave me talent to do things I like to show God my gratitude by giving what he gave me,God didn't charge me for every whip stitch thing he gave me, why should I? He also understands we need groceries and rent and all that. but at the same time compassion charity and giving back is also part of the equation. Some teachers don't get that part. Why is it unreasonable to ask for generosity once and a while?


Well, I have to work to a schedule, and I teach to make a living. I have never worked in the kind of environment where I have had the luxury of keeping a random schedule - when you work alongside other people's schedules, you have an obligation to keep strict time.

I have been known to be very generous with my time, when it has proved necessary - however, this would most certainly not be apparent to a new student.

As for "God"? I don't recall ever taking piano lessons from any such entity. I most certainly had to do my own practice, too wink
Posted by: Mike.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 01:21 PM

As for "God"? I don't recall ever taking piano lessons from any such entity. I most certainly had to do my own practice, too wink


He gave you the DESIRE to learn and play. He gave you the students and he gave you the piano to practice on he gave you a family that had enough means to give you piano lessons I am sure at 2 years old. God works in mysterious ways. and i wasn't directing my feelings to anyone person. just some observations I have lived through myself and getting riding students from other instructors. what the OP posted rang true to other arts like Banjo and Dressage. I didn't mean to ruffle your feathers just tired of some of the things the OP posted I was in total agreement with him/her. and I stated that there are a few things that [censored] me off with piano teachers and I posted it as i am sure there are other students that feel the same way. also i never said you aren't generous just was answering your question on what I meant on being a clock watcher. I don't schedule students on times of 1;00 then 2;00 then 3;00 etc. i schedule my lessons for 15 minutes between for quick questions and not to be rushed. Just me. I just feel that some piano teachers are looking at that watch too much. Stringed instrument teachers like Mine wold charge me 40 bucks a lesson and we would spend all day Saturday (Bill Keith) and I learned in a year how to play the banjo and he scared the heck out of me so I practiced and was able to play really well in two years. The piano I never EVER found a teacher like Bill and never will. The only helping hand I find with piano is at the end of my own arm. and youtube and online sources are all I have and they are working. Finally I am not trying to upset you. just wanted to answer your question. And praise be to God on high that you can play and teach. I truly thank you for helping to keep the piano alive and sharing it with the future so it can live on. Michael.

Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 01:38 PM

Mike, teaching is a practical thing. You may not know that this post was addressed to you. Since you had questions and concerns, and I assume possibly looking for help:
Originally Posted By: keystring
I read somewhere that you are self-teaching atm. Have you had experience with piano or keyboard teachers, and if so, does what you write reflect your experience(s)? In youth or as an adult student? For any length of time? One teacher, or several?
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 02:01 PM

Mike - if you truly don't want to ruffle feathers, then perhaps it might be a good idea not to proselytise like that on a forum that has no religious connotations. I, for one, find it deeply offensive that you should belittle me and my father's efforts to acquire musical instruments for our respective families, develop our skills, fund the lessons, etc, etc by attributing it all to a deity for which there is no objective proof of existence. I also find the idea that I should be singled out for such gifts over others utterly repugnant.

But that's just me.

Apologies for the thread derailing.
Posted by: Mike.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 02:05 PM

Looking for help but also agreeing with the thread and posting from my bad experiences. I have had bad experiences and decided to teach myself. I have had three teachers two were awful one I think was a good one then had to relocate. I took riding lessons and found a wonderful instructor who got me into Dressage and I took banjo lessons from Bill Keith and that was a divine intervention. Piano being a very popular instrument and many many more people play it..... it is much easier to run into a bad teacher than more obscure professions. I guess I am looking for that in a piano teacher and just have to accept that i won't. So it was a post of lament a post of agreement and a post looking that maybe in the silliest of silliest hopes that i may find a really cool teacher. but so far nope. and I had oen teacher that kept telling me about this 12 year old that wasso wonderful that he was a genius and that I am too old to be concert quality but this 12 year old he is concert pianist quality. Just can't take that abuse. So yes I have had real awful teachers and one decent one in the piano.
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 02:11 PM

Originally Posted By: Mike.
Looking for help but also agreeing with the thread and posting from my bad experiences. I have had bad experiences and decided to teach myself. I have had three teachers two were awful one I think was a good one then had to relocate. I took riding lessons and found a wonderful instructor who got me into Dressage and I took banjo lessons from Bill Keith and that was a divine intervention.


So it was divine intervention you got good banjo lessons but God had nothing to do with the bad piano teachers? Something to think about there, no?

(Sorry I couldn't help it. I'm going to bow out not and leave the capable Ben in charge of our spiritual guidance. laugh )
Posted by: Mike.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 02:19 PM

To Ben,, why did you ask me to expand on that one thing about clock watching if you didn't expect my honesty and all that. I also am offended by your attitude to me. were even. Again glad for you that you can teach and play I truly am. Now lets be friends and agree to disagree.
Posted by: Mike.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 02:29 PM

Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: Mike.
Looking for help but also agreeing with the thread and posting from my bad experiences. I have had bad experiences and decided to teach myself. I have had three teachers two were awful one I think was a good one then had to relocate. I took riding lessons and found a wonderful instructor who got me into Dressage and I took banjo lessons from Bill Keith and that was a divine intervention.


So it was divine intervention you got good banjo lessons but God had nothing to do with the bad piano teachers? Something to think about there, no?


(Sorry I couldn't help it. I'm going to bow out not and leave the capable Ben in charge of our spiritual guidance. laugh )



Yes you're absolutely undoubtedly totally correct. Clear as a bell correct. Thank you. Yes It's God telling me to do it myself and save me a boatload of money and stop relying on others and the helping hand will be found at the end of my own arm. Now off to positive things and if you don't like me,,, for everyone that don't like me there are 10 that do.
Posted by: catpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 02:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Mike - if you truly don't want to ruffle feathers, then perhaps it might be a good idea not to proselytise like that on a forum that has no religious connotations. I, for one, find it deeply offensive that you should belittle me and my father's efforts to acquire musical instruments for our respective families, develop our skills, fund the lessons, etc, etc by attributing it all to a deity for which there is no objective proof of existence. I also find the idea that I should be singled out for such gifts over others utterly repugnant.

But that's just me.

Apologies for the thread derailing.


thumb
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 02:52 PM

Originally Posted By: catpiano
Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
Mike - if you truly don't want to ruffle feathers, then perhaps it might be a good idea not to proselytise like that on a forum that has no religious connotations. I, for one, find it deeply offensive that you should belittle me and my father's efforts to acquire musical instruments for our respective families, develop our skills, fund the lessons, etc, etc by attributing it all to a deity for which there is no objective proof of existence. I also find the idea that I should be singled out for such gifts over others utterly repugnant.

But that's just me.

Apologies for the thread derailing.


thumb
clap clap clap!

And sincere apologies to keystring, for not replying to her comments properly yet!
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 02:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Mike.
To Ben,, why did you ask me to expand on that one thing about clock watching if you didn't expect my honesty and all that. I also am offended by your attitude to me. were even. Again glad for you that you can teach and play I truly am. Now lets be friends and agree to disagree.


Mike, my point is that your answers could have been given in such a way that they didn't include a sermon. Believe it or not, human beings are capable of displaying the full range of kindness, love, appreciation, generosity (as well as all the bad stuff), regardless of which deity they do or do not believe in. I know that many religious folk believe they have a monopoly on the good stuff, but those of us who don't subscribe happen to know otherwise.

Anyway - the fact is, if a teacher is able to be as flexible as you with their time, then that means one of two things: they are either of sufficient means that they do not need to work to the limits of their endurance, or they don't have a full schedule. Generosity doesn't necessarily factor into it in the way you think it does. It could, after all, be argued that by allowing the "extra" time between lessons, that you are simply charging a lower hourly rate than you appear to be.

Don't get me wrong - I do understand where you're coming from, but there are many different types of people who teach music, and with widely different life commitments. I, for instance, have a young family, and have to factor in school runs and household chores in how I schedule my students. I have a studio to rent, which needs a minimum number of students to be financially viable. I am largely restricted to working within a fairly narrow evening slot, too.

In my opinion, all of this has nothing to do with being a good or bad teacher, and I would humbly suggest you factor this out of the equation if decide you look for a piano teacher in the future.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 03:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Mike.

what I mean is that some teachers stack students to the the second. they want so many students that there is no time for questions or any extra time once and a while. Music is more than money.

OK, but we also have to pay bills. God doesn't pay them, so sometimes we have to teach more people than we would choose to teach if we did not need money to live.
Quote:

I am different. I love to teach and give. God gave me talent to do things I like to show God my gratitude by giving what he gave me, God didn't charge me for every whip stitch thing he gave me, why should I? He also understands we need groceries and rent and all that.

I'm not sure what you are comparing here. Certainly there are people who are so greedy that they only care about money, and obviously that would not make them very good teachers. Is that your point
Quote:

but at the same time compassion charity and giving back is also part of the equation. Some teachers don't get that part. Why is it unreasonable to ask for generosity once and a while?

I think you are off on a God-rant here. I'm not sure if you are talking about what makes good teachers or giving us a sermon.
Posted by: Peter K. Mose

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 03:20 PM

I suppose there is a distinction: there are clock-watching piano teachers, and there are punctual-to-the-minute piano teachers. The two categories are quite different. IOW, there may be some who are bored and simply teaching for the money, while there are others who - as Ben suggests - are enormously invested in their teaching, but without a spare minute in their schedules.

I know plenty of fine and in-demand piano teachers who are in this second category.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 03:43 PM

Mike, thank you for answering my question. It does make a difference whether you were writing from what you read about, or your own experiences.
Originally Posted By: Mike.
.... and a post looking that maybe in the silliest of silliest hopes that i may find a really cool teacher. but so far nope. and I had one teacher that kept telling me about this 12 year old that was so wonderful that he was a genius and that I am too old to be concert quality but this 12 year old he is concert pianist quality. Just can't take that abuse. So yes I have had real awful teachers and one decent one in the piano.

The teaching scenario itself is complicated, even when you look at the "standard" one involving children who begin at the "common" age. It may be more complicated (I'm guessing) than for other instruments because anybody can produce a sound on the piano, and so you have all kinds of people claiming to be piano teachers, and this puts the entire population of teachers into a tight spot.

It gets even more complicated when adult students are involved, and I hesitate to put that into the mix here. (I've written too much about it in the past.) However, I hear you about the tale of the shining 12 year old - this comes up once in a while - and I don't think these teachers have an idea of how hurtful that is. For now, have a look at this site:
http://www.musicalfossils.com/
Posted by: ten left thumbs

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 04:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Mike.


Yes you're absolutely undoubtedly totally correct. Clear as a bell correct. Thank you. Yes It's God telling me to do it myself and save me a boatload of money and stop relying on others and the helping hand will be found at the end of my own arm. Now off to positive things and if you don't like me,,, for everyone that don't like me there are 10 that do.


I wish you only the very best. smile
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 04:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland

I, for instance, have a young family, and have to factor in school runs and household chores in how I schedule my students. I have a studio to rent, which needs a minimum number of students to be financially viable. I am largely restricted to working within a fairly narrow evening slot, too.

Ben, do you mean that God is not paying your bills? laugh

I really don't want to pick fights with anyone, based on their personal beliefs. But I have to say I really get annoyed with sermons. It is the number one thing that drove me away from churches in the first place!
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 04:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Peter K. Mose
I suppose there is a distinction: there are clock-watching piano teachers, and there are punctual-to-the-minute piano teachers. The two categories are quite different. IOW, there may be some who are bored and simply teaching for the money, while there are others who - as Ben suggests - are enormously invested in their teaching, but without a spare minute in their schedules.

I know plenty of fine and in-demand piano teachers who are in this second category.

There are also clock-watching parents, they ones who will SCREAM if a lesson starts 2 minutes late but who are just fine with running over an making the next person late.

Then there are people, like me, who have schedules of their own and don't always have time to wait. I have students who literally carve out 30 minutes of time from their insane schedules to take lessons. And the reason that these people have insane schedules is that God has not favored them with a great deal of money and leisure time. Apparently He does not favor us as much as people with more money and loves the 1 percent the most...
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/24/13 04:46 PM

I find that religion is a very interesting aspect of life! One that I'm not attached in any way with, but I do consider myself spiritual enough.

I've had one of the best hotel stays of my life when staying with Jaap Cramer (EMF composer) in Texas! He's studied theology to a postgraduate level and is getting ready to be a cleric of some sort.

There are two things that made the most impact to me:

First of all he wasn't pushy. He was NEVER sermoning, or even attempting to persuade me of anything. Thus I kept talking with him, about all things in life...

The second thing is that we have totally different ideas on what religion is all about: For me it's quite simple, I think: I don't care what one believes in, but how that affects his/her life, and thus my life. It's the "real life" impact that matters for me. For him it was the exact opposite: Religion is there only for the spiritual part and he didn't care one bit for the physical part!

There's no need for any fight in this hot headed thread...

BTW, most of the times I refer to gawd, rather than God... wink

___________________________________________

Keystring,

in short, my (silly) list was a way to explain the 'how far' a student can get, due to whatever reason. I'm not lowering my standards for anyone, but I am altering the ways I teach and the impact I attempt to have at each student depending on them. I benchmark each student with every lesson pretty much!

Thus the list.
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 02:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Mike.
NUMBER ONE!!!!

I don't care about your "star" 12 year old student that can play anything while i am trying to learn. keep it up I go away.

What's wrong with having star students who can play anything while you can't? Are you saying you will only study with teachers who don't have star students and/or can't produce star students and/or are incapable of teaching to a high caliber and/or are incompetent to begin with?

cursing
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 05:10 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Mike.
NUMBER ONE!!!!

I don't care about your "star" 12 year old student that can play anything while i am trying to learn. keep it up I go away.

What's wrong with having star students who can play anything while you can't? Are you saying you will only study with teachers who don't have star students and/or can't produce star students and/or are incapable of teaching to a high caliber and/or are incompetent to begin with?

cursing

thumb
Posted by: TimR

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 08:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary D.
But I have to say I really get annoyed with sermons. It is the number one thing that drove me away from churches in the first place!


But Gary..............you can't get sleep like that at home!
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 09:00 AM

Guys, if you are decent teachers, then you cannot imagine some of the things we encounter. That is to say, you will be aware of the common things such as when child-students come to you with finger numbers written all over the place for years, etc.

Yes - when Mike wishes teachers would work overtime with their students, that is out of touch with reality and not a realistic expectation.

But there is another scenario that you guys may not be familiar and so don't expect, but I have seen it with a friend, and then a (very) few people afterward. She would prepare all week for her lesson. Often when she arrived her teacher sat back comfortably in her chair, and spent half the lesson talking about her young star student, and also detailing plans of how to teach and push him forward. My friend's own lessons lacked direction. The attitude with this kind of teacher is that the older student must be a hobbyist, and the natural wish to socialize with a fellow adult seems to take over. "This is the time for me to put my feet up and relax, before getting to my next 'real' student." Since then I've encountered this story with three other adults.

Another is what one is told. I encountered this once, and virtually when I first had a piano and asked a straightforward question in a forum: some basic technique thing. The response to my technical question was that I will never become a proper pianist because of my age. I had not asked whether I could, or expressed any ambition - but this was volunteered.

When a student of any age starts a new instrument - or even, starts music for the first time - everything is unfamiliar. He is uncoordinated with the piano, and the simplest things are hard just like for a five year old. You guys know this. The new student doesn't know how to sit, how to move, where to find middle C - anything. The new student (any age):

- needs to be given these most basic skills
- the teacher must have the attitude (and convey it) that it is normal to be clumsy in the beginning
- that all students start out this way, and the abilities come with time
- that mundane, simple things, such as reaching for that middle C, are actually important achievements. The teacher should have this attitude and convey it. The student must have the same in order to grow.

Now imagine if these two things happen:
- The new student is being told (maybe repeatedly) about the 12 year old 'star', as though this were the teacher's real interest, and this is being told to him while he is struggling with the likes of "finding middle C"
- The new student is being told, unsolicited, that he will never amount to much.

IF this was Mike's experience, then it was wrong, harmful, and hurtful. He may be saying "Stop telling me about your 12 year old wonder-student. Concentrate on teaching me, and where I am at." And I see no benefit of a teacher telling an adult student of successes she is proud of who are much younger, and especially when coupled with a dire prognosis. If you have a 6 year old, and you tell him "See how well this 12 year old is doing - you'll get there too - he started like you." this is positive. It could even be positive to tell the adult, "This 12 year old was once a beginner just like you."

We don't know the rest. Sometimes students come across poor or misguided teaching. Sometimes they themselves set up things because of how they come across, what they say, what they do - or it can be a mix of attitudes. But this dual scenario can and does happen.

That said, I am trying to stay away from the adult student part of it, because that is a separate scenario.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 09:08 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Mike.
NUMBER ONE!!!!

I don't care about your "star" 12 year old student that can play anything while i am trying to learn. keep it up I go away.

What's wrong with having star students who can play anything while you can't? Are you saying you will only study with teachers who don't have star students and/or can't produce star students and/or are incapable of teaching to a high caliber and/or are incompetent to begin with?

I believe that Mike is saying that when he is having a lesson as a beginner, he doesn't want to be told about the "star", especially if it happens repeatedly and/or if it takes away from lesson time. If this is coupled with statements of how poorly the student is expected to do, it is demoralizing. Mike can tell us whether or not that is what went on.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 09:12 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas

Keystring,

in short, my (silly) list was a way to explain the 'how far' a student can get, due to whatever reason. I'm not lowering my standards for anyone, but I am altering the ways I teach and the impact I attempt to have at each student depending on them. I benchmark each student with every lesson pretty much!

Thus the list.

Nikolas, I sort of got that. Still I wanted to mention the literal part, because I have encountered where the teaching actually starts with the thought of "where might this student get to career-wise" and then gear even the foundation to that. From everything I have read and know, I am sure you don't do that. smile
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 11:51 AM

Mike,

" The piano I never EVER found a teacher like Bill and never will. "

Well, I understand your dilemma but disagree. Have you looked?

You mentioned earlier that you wished you could find "the same thing in an obscure profession", or something like that. And I ask again, have you looked? We are professionals, after all, just like any other. You need to shop around a bit, and educate yourself to find a good one.

I mean, you wouldn't just go to the first accountant or attorney you met on the street, and sit there and listen to advice you know is bad, would you? No, of course not! You'd-

1- ask around to see who knows of any good ones.
2- Then you'd interview them to see if they lived up to people's comments.
3- you'd discuss your particular problems with them to hear what their solutions would be.
4- if you didn't like the answer, you'd excuse yourself, leave, and go talk to the next one.
5- if you have lessons with one, and they do something that you don't like or doesn't help you, you'd discuss it with them and tell them that wasn't working.
6- if they don't do better helping you, right then you'd take your business elsewhere, and for any reason you like.

Look, the piano is a much more difficult instrument to play than the banjo. And you'll need help to learn many parts of it. Even playing scales well requires a lot of help. So at some point, you're going to have to go work with a teacher to get past certain hurdles. You might as well get ready to do so now.

As far as generosity goes, I'd like to see you try to get some out of my lawyer(s). Really.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 12:16 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Nikolas

Keystring,

in short, my (silly) list was a way to explain the 'how far' a student can get, due to whatever reason. I'm not lowering my standards for anyone, but I am altering the ways I teach and the impact I attempt to have at each student depending on them. I benchmark each student with every lesson pretty much!

Thus the list.

Nikolas, I sort of got that. Still I wanted to mention the literal part, because I have encountered where the teaching actually starts with the thought of "where might this student get to career-wise" and then gear even the foundation to that. From everything I have read and know, I am sure you don't do that. smile
If I understand you correctly (still missing tons of time, but hopefully I'll grab some NIKOLAS time tonight...)

No, I cater for every student, but the list I posted has to do with their potential and will to do something, rather than my doing... Of course I don't kick start on sight reading on a 7 year old... No matter how wrong it may be, I just find it useless at this point and the student too young. If they grow at the age of ten and are still interested in piano, or something like that, then things start to get more serious. Same with scales (as I mentioned above).

The exception of getting a super amazing student is one that scares me... If I'm able to recognize them, I'll just skip ahead into harder stuff and sight reading, and harder theory ahead of time... or something... :-/

I can't think "career wise" on 7 year olds... I can certainly do that at 13 year olds, with solid foundation, but not 7 year olds...
Posted by: FarmGirl

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 01:50 PM

I think we adults have some growing up to do. I have a long career of being student for several instruments. None very good. Piano is barely reaching to an okay level after 13 years of off and on being at it. Anyway it gives me certain credential to speak about it, I think.

There are good teachers and bad ones - very true. All my teachers are / were good except one. I defined good teacher as someone who added value / helped me move forward in music. The one exception is a string teacher I got for my husband and I. I have taken violin for three years as a child. My husband could not even read notes. I explained this on the phone and in person and at the beginning of the lesson. My husband was making those scrappy bad sound and the instrument was not in tune. She kept yelling at him "play A". And started playing with him and marked "good" on his viola book #1. I was horrified, asked around and switched to a new wonderful teacher.

Adults need to grow up - many children are better than us. Don't let it bother you. I once knew a woman (older than 40) broke down in tears just because a six years old child played the same piece she played in the last recital. We have to start from somewhere.

Teacher talking about a star student during your lesson - happens to me too since I take a lesson from a college prof who has some gifted students. If its too much I tell her that I would ask you to give me a make up lesson if she does not shut up. Or just tell her, lets go to lunch and I will hear your story. I make sure she knows my time is precious too. Adults should be able to talk to ones teacher since we are not children.

Adults not amounts to be a concert pianists etc - being a concert pianists sounds like a too much work to me. But if you want it, don't let anyone bother you. Anything is possible if its possible. You know it soon or later.
Posted by: Diane...

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 03:11 PM

Bad teachers!
Well I think all teachers are just "different"!

I have had 9 different piano teachers, from Adjudicator/Examiner RCM piano teachers to Casino/piano bar teachers!

I had five classically trained and RCM qualified piano teachers.
I had four "stray dog type" piano teachers. (The stray dog type piano teachers played more than the classical qualified piano teachers.) Some would consider the stray dogs "bad teachers" but I called them "amazing!

Anyways, depending on what you wanted out of piano lessons, I think I learned a great deal from "all" these nine teachers!!

Bad Teacher?

Just the one guy who was an RCM professor classical teacher (had every letter of the alphabet after his name) and in my half hour lesson with him, he left every 10 minutes to go out and have a cigarette!!! So I think I learned NOTHING from him and he spent more time using his fingers to light cigarettes than he did to show me how to play the piano! Maybe I just drove him to smoking! Who knows grin

... If my mother only knew!!!!!!
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/25/13 10:06 PM

Great dress, Diane!!
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 12:07 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring
Now imagine if these two things happen:
- The new student is being told (maybe repeatedly) about the 12 year old 'star', as though this were the teacher's real interest, and this is being told to him while he is struggling with the likes of "finding middle C"
- The new student is being told, unsolicited, that he will never amount to much.

I think you're reading too much into that post. I don't think the situation is quite like what you're describing, "that he will never amount to much."
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 12:08 AM

Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
I once knew a woman (older than 40) broke down in tears just because a six years old child played the same piece she played in the last recital. We have to start from somewhere.

grin Funny story. It's the teacher's fault for programming the same piece.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 01:29 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
Now imagine if these two things happen:
- The new student is being told (maybe repeatedly) about the 12 year old 'star', as though this were the teacher's real interest, and this is being told to him while he is struggling with the likes of "finding middle C"
- The new student is being told, unsolicited, that he will never amount to much.

I think you're reading too much into that post. I don't think the situation is quite like what you're describing, "that he will never amount to much."

None of us know just what the situation is, and that's the problem with this thread and so many others like it.

The fact is that there ARE teacher who go on and on about their start pupils. So what Keystring is talking about does happen, and it should not.

That said, we know nothing about the details of what happened to Mike.

It would be better to focus on situations that occur and not get side-tracked with guessing things beyond what we know about individuals posters, which is often and perhaps usually almost nothing.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 01:43 AM

That is the important thing - that it does happen.

This is a thing that happens mostly, or probably exclusively, to adult students. You can't imagine a teacher chatting away to a child about such things. Since that's a small minority, I have tried to stay away from the topic. There are other underlying attitudes and expectations behind it, as well as possible histories of the teachers' past experiences that may lead to those expectations.

We're discussing the question of teaching in a broad general manner. If someone pops in with a personal story - whether teacher or student - if they want help, maybe help can be given whether publicly or privately. If it's a rant fest, then that's another story. Or maybe one can draw some general situations out of that.

The particular behaviours that I highlighted happen to push my buttons because of what I witnessed with a dear friend. In the least it falls under the category of poor teaching choices.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 02:51 AM

Originally Posted By: keystring

The particular behaviours that I highlighted happen to push my buttons because of what I witnessed with a dear friend. In the least it falls under the category of poor teaching choices.

And that is why I want these behaviors presented as the destructive things they are.

They do happen. Whether or not that have happened to someone we as of yet hardly know is another matter.
Posted by: TimR

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 08:03 AM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
I once knew a woman (older than 40) broke down in tears just because a six years old child played the same piece she played in the last recital. We have to start from somewhere.

grin Funny story. It's the teacher's fault for programming the same piece.


On any known instrument playing any known piece of music, there's an eight year old on youtube playing it better than any of us ever will.

And that's a good thing. It helps to laugh and move on, and not fall into the trap of measuring everything we do against somebody else.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 08:22 AM

Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
I once knew a woman (older than 40) broke down in tears just because a six years old child played the same piece she played in the last recital. We have to start from somewhere.

grin Funny story. It's the teacher's fault for programming the same piece.


On any known instrument playing any known piece of music, there's an eight year old on youtube playing it better than any of us ever will.

What do you mean by this statement?
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 08:53 AM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
I once knew a woman (older than 40) broke down in tears just because a six years old child played the same piece she played in the last recital. We have to start from somewhere.

grin Funny story. It's the teacher's fault for programming the same piece.


On any known instrument playing any known piece of music, there's an eight year old on youtube playing it better than any of us ever will.

What do you mean by this statement?
Probably that we should stay rather unaffected by the above fact. That it doesn't matter too much, unless we ARE in a competition were youth plays an important role... wink
Posted by: FarmGirl

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 09:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
I once knew a woman (older than 40) broke down in tears just because a six years old child played the same piece she played in the last recital. We have to start from somewhere.

grin Funny story. It's the teacher's fault for programming the same piece.


On any known instrument playing any known piece of music, there's an eight year old on youtube playing it better than any of us ever will.

What do you mean by this statement?
Probably that we should stay rather unaffected by the above fact. That it doesn't matter too much, unless we ARE in a competition were youth plays an important role... wink


+1

I am impressed with the teachers on this forum is very sensitive to adult beginners' feelings. I would never be a good teacher even if I wanted to. I would probably say something like "what's the big deal! Get used to it. You will see many kids / adults play better than you ". As Nikolas mentioned we are not in competition but trying to make music on our own. Teacher's job is to help us achieve it better for both kids and adults, at least that's how I see it.
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 12:14 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
I once knew a woman (older than 40) broke down in tears just because a six years old child played the same piece she played in the last recital. We have to start from somewhere.

grin Funny story. It's the teacher's fault for programming the same piece.


On any known instrument playing any known piece of music, there's an eight year old on youtube playing it better than any of us ever will.

What do you mean by this statement?
Probably that we should stay rather unaffected by the above fact.

In what way is it a fact? Who is "us"?
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 12:38 PM

I personally don't think there's anything wrong with having a student play the same song on a later recital. If it's a good piece that each student enjoyed and learned a lot from, it's silly to think that you "own" it and no one else can play it. And presumably there's enough time in between recitals that no one noticed this except for the adult student. As an adult student, they have to get a better perspective and realize that there are children who are learning the things they are learning. That's OK. They took a different path, and who knows? Perhaps it's better this way. Best to learn to come to terms with that than the teacher having to tiptoe around them.
Posted by: piano_deb

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 01:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I personally don't think there's anything wrong with having a student play the same song on a later recital. If it's a good piece that each student enjoyed and learned a lot from, it's silly to think that you "own" it and no one else can play it. And presumably there's enough time in between recitals that no one noticed this except for the adult student. As an adult student, they have to get a better perspective and realize that there are children who are learning the things they are learning. That's OK. They took a different path, and who knows? Perhaps it's better this way. Best to learn to come to terms with that than the teacher having to tiptoe around them.

+1 thumb
Posted by: carlos88

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 01:44 PM

How many of your students are aiming for a "2.5" level on Nikolas's goal list earlier? I'd define that as a level of playing where the student is comfortable in playing in amateur performances, most likely with groups of other amateurs, at a level where the audience can enjoy the music.

This is a far more likely level for piano students to reach, and to be able to enjoy performing music at once they are adults. For me, none of my teachers and lessons have ever focused on any of the skills necessary here, including: collaborative playing, playing from a lead sheet, improvising...


I've never had a teacher talk about pedaling techniques, besides one lesson long, long ago on syncopated pedaling. It's unclear to me if pedaling is something that isn't taught, or just something that my teachers have not been able to convey or just haven't thought about.

I'm starting on the book "The Pianist's Guide to Pedaling" this week to try to make up for this lack of information and teaching.

Or another possibility is that piano teachers are generally less aware or less analytical about the physicalness of playing the piano, compared to teachers of other instruments. My 2 viola teachers, and 1 guitar teacher were all excellent teachers of being able to convey how the student's physical interactions with the instrument result in music being produced. For example, for viola, even after 6 years of lessons, my teacher would still have weekly information about bowing technique.


From my piano teachers, I've had about 4-5 minutes total on physical technique, mainly staccato and legato years ago. My adult piano teacher talked once about playing sforzando with a high hand drop.

I've instead turned to DVDs and videos to learn more. For example, Maurice Hinson's DVD, Performance Practices in Impressionistic Piano Music, was pure gold for me. Even simple statements like - "The quieter you play, the firmer your fingers have to be" - were completely new and very useful pieces of information.


I'd call my last piano teacher more of a conformance evaluator than a teacher. For the first two weeks of a piece, I'd usually be told "That's not music" (for everything but Bach), or "That's not Bach" (for Bach). By week 3-5, she'd usually say "I don't want to hear that anymore", once the piece was at about the 80% level. This usually meant that the specific technique issues for the piece, or more general issues (like trilling with 3-4) had not been resolved.

I don't believe there is often much growth or transferable knowledge until that last 10-20% is worked through. With the 3-4 trilling example, or with something like triplets versus straight eighth notes in Philip Glass's Mad Rush, once you've worked through the technique issues, they're something that you can apply to future pieces.


One major difference between adult piano lessons, and all of my other lessons, is that the adult piano lessons were more about teaching and enforcing the teacher's 3-part philosophy towards the playing of piano music.

I understood this 3-part philosophy as:
1) The only goal of playing music on the piano is the repeated exact conformance to the written page.

2) The adult (or advanced (I was never sure which)) student is responsible for choosing all of their own music, but must do this correctly. Music that is popular (like Clair de Lune) was off-limits, as was music not at the correctly perceived difficulty level. Picking the "wrong" music resulted in more ridicule.

Especially if you're shooting for goal level "2.5" - being able to play possibly known piano pieces - this part of the philosophy is a complete blocker.


3) Listening to other people play the piece you're working on corrupts you or makes you incapable of thinking about the piece. And anyway, they're all playing it wrong.




For me, I don't understand how this kind of philosophy towards music leads to any desire to play the piano, or to have a lifelong engagement with the piano. When I finally quit, it was because I finally never wanted to play anything for that teacher ever again.


And yet, I had asked around about teachers before starting lessons, and people (parents) liked her. I suspect she was a good guide with young students though the series of lesson books. The few lessons I overheard were conducted very differently than my own lessons.
Posted by: Diane...

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 03:15 PM

Originally Posted By: laguna_greg
Great dress, Diane!!


Thank you!!!!! smile
Posted by: RG55

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 03:32 PM


REGARDING TEACHERS WHO WATCH THE CLOCK

TO MIKE: Lessons should begin and end on time or are you expecting to get something for nothing? It doesn't work that way for most teachers if they are teaching full time. Questions and answers should be addressed at the beginning of the lesson and not when the lesson has ended and you aren't paying for it. I had a mother who wanted me to go over the entire lesson that I had with her son and the end of the lesson and was constantly making me late for the next student. I suggested that she sit in on the lessons so she would know what is going on or email me during the week if she had questions. I begin each lesson by asking how practice was for the week and if there were any questions or problems and it's on their dime. She finally figured it out. Good luck finding a good teacher.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 03:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: FarmGirl
I once knew a woman (older than 40) broke down in tears just because a six years old child played the same piece she played in the last recital. We have to start from somewhere.

grin Funny story. It's the teacher's fault for programming the same piece.


On any known instrument playing any known piece of music, there's an eight year old on youtube playing it better than any of us ever will.

What do you mean by this statement?
Probably that we should stay rather unaffected by the above fact.

In what way is it a fact? Who is "us"?
Trying a bit harder to understand what the other means, would probably mean less posts from you... thus less post count! wink

"fact": That there IS an 8 year old on youtube plaing beter than any of us will on any known instrument. I can bet that there's some 8 year old better than most of "us" (not us, but "us") playing the piano. For the rest of the instruments I'm pretty darn sure of it!

And try, next time, to notice the "probably" word in my post! It does have a meaning, you know...
Posted by: Polyphonist

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 05:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
I can bet that there's some 8 year old better than most of "us" (not us, but "us") playing the piano.

It depends who "us" is, and you've just confused me more - what distinction are you making between "us" and "'us'"?
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 06:15 PM

The topic of good and bad teaching is complicated enough when it involves the "standard" scenario of children starting at the usual time, doing the "usual" things. Why it's complicated has already been discussed. The adult student scene is much more complicated. I don't even know if it is a good idea to be part of this thread. But it's come up.

Borrowing from what I wrote before:
Quote:
When a student of any age starts a new instrument - or even, starts music for the first time - everything is unfamiliar. He is uncoordinated with the piano, and the simplest things are hard just like for a five year old. You guys know this. The new student doesn't know how to sit, how to move, where to find middle C - anything. The new student (any age):

- needs to be given these most basic skills
- the teacher must have the attitude (and convey it) that it is normal to be clumsy in the beginning
- that all students start out this way, and the abilities come with time
- that mundane, simple things, such as reaching for that middle C, are actually important achievements. The teacher should have this attitude and convey it. The student must have the same in order to grow.


It is normal to feel shy about children doing things much better than oneself as an adult and really not surprising to read that it happens. The best is to acknowledge that feeling, and then get on with it. Every musician focuses on the task instead of comparison, and that is how they grow. Pavarotti said at the end of his life "I am still a student." And Nikolas pointed out that everyone, no matter how good, will find someone whose playing is superior. smile

It does happen from time to time that a teacher will think that an older student is not to be taken seriously, and some do spend part of the lesson chatting about their star students. Since this thread is about good and bad teaching, clearly this would be poor teaching. At best, it is unwise.

The adult student needs what beginner students of any age need: guidance in the skills and how to work (practice) to acquire them. And then, to succeed, he has to apply himself intelligently over the long haul.

If there are immature individuals among use, of course they should "grow up". But for the rest, "become informed" and keep learning - whether student, teacher, or musician - seems to be apt.
Posted by: laguna_greg

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 07:42 PM

Carlos,

Sounds like you had some bad teachers.

All my teachers worked on pedalling technique with me. My teacher in college worked on mostly very specific technical procedures and not much else with me, although I have to admit what I did was highly specialized.
Posted by: PhilipInChina

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 08:24 PM

I have 2 teachers. I have 1 lesson a week with each. (Neither knows about the other).

In each case I pay for an hour and expect an hour. If either wants to chat, that is fine, but it happens after the lesson.
Posted by: Gary D.

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/26/13 08:27 PM

Originally Posted By: carlos88

I've never had a teacher talk about pedaling techniques, besides one lesson long, long ago on syncopated pedaling. It's unclear to me if pedaling is something that isn't taught, or just something that my teachers have not been able to convey or just haven't thought about.

I mention it in every lesson with every student. Unless you are playing something that uses no sustain pedal, the sustain pedal is going to be hugely important, and I talk a lot about the "soft" pedal too.

How you pedal changes everything you do.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 01:58 AM

Carlos,

Sorry to hear about your experiences. All your piano teachers sounded quite bad. I hope you can find a good one someday!
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 12:52 PM

Originally Posted By: carlos88
I've never had a teacher talk about pedaling techniques, besides one lesson long, long ago on syncopated pedaling. It's unclear to me if pedaling is something that isn't taught, or just something that my teachers have not been able to convey or just haven't thought about.

It's tough to teach pedaling, and many teachers have different philosophies on how to teach pedaling. A lot also depends on the student's sense of hearing and coordination between the hands and the right foot.

I'm very specific when it comes to teaching pedaling techniques, but I've also run into walls when students can't play a note and then pedal--they are seriously uncoordinated, and they just HAVE to play the note and pedal simultaneously.

Originally Posted By: carlos88
Or another possibility is that piano teachers are generally less aware or less analytical about the physicalness of playing the piano, compared to teachers of other instruments.

You must have had some awful teachers. Each of my last three piano teachers said something about how to play the piano, and they are all very different in their approaches. But at least they all have an approach, at the very least. And it's up to me to absorb some ideas and reject some ideas.

There are good teachers out there--you just have to do some hunting.
Posted by: Diane...

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 01:07 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I'm very specific when it comes to teaching pedaling techniques, but I've also run into walls when students can't play a note and then pedal--they are seriously uncoordinated, and they just HAVE to play the note and pedal simultaneously.

hahahahahahaha
This is when a one-day seminar to teach pedaling comes in very very handy and helps to eliminate teaching each student one by one. Just have all the student come for an hour to teach the art of how to properly pedal, ONCE!

I attended a pedalling class where my teacher and other piano teachers got together with all students for a one-hour class.

Thank GOD for churches! They most often have a piano and lots of seating! grin
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 01:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I'm very specific when it comes to teaching pedaling techniques, but I've also run into walls when students can't play a note and then pedal--they are seriously uncoordinated, and they just HAVE to play the note and pedal simultaneously.

hahahahahahaha
This is when a one-day seminar to teach pedaling comes in very very handy and helps to eliminate teaching each student one by one. Just have all the student come for an hour to teach the art of how to properly pedal, ONCE!

I attended a pedalling class where my teacher and other piano teachers got together with all students for a one-hour class.

Thank GOD for churches! They most often have a piano and lots of seating! grin

But how does that solve the problem of students who literally, physically, cannot play a note and then pedal a half second later? Haven't you encountered these kids? Every single movement has to happen at exactly the same time for them.

These uncoordinated kids also don't get very far in piano.
Posted by: Opus_Maximus

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 01:21 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I'm very specific when it comes to teaching pedaling techniques, but I've also run into walls when students can't play a note and then pedal--they are seriously uncoordinated, and they just HAVE to play the note and pedal simultaneously.

hahahahahahaha
This is when a one-day seminar to teach pedaling comes in very very handy and helps to eliminate teaching each student one by one. Just have all the student come for an hour to teach the art of how to properly pedal, ONCE!

I attended a pedalling class where my teacher and other piano teachers got together with all students for a one-hour class.

Thank GOD for churches! They most often have a piano and lots of seating! grin

But how does that solve the problem of students who literally, physically, cannot play a note and then pedal a half second later? Haven't you encountered these kids? Every single movement has to happen at exactly the same time for them.

These uncoordinated kids also don't get very far in piano.


Have you tried crawling under the piano on your knees and controlling their foot for the whole lesson? I had a teacher to this to me once, no joke!
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 01:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I'm very specific when it comes to teaching pedaling techniques, but I've also run into walls when students can't play a note and then pedal--they are seriously uncoordinated, and they just HAVE to play the note and pedal simultaneously.

hahahahahahaha
This is when a one-day seminar to teach pedaling comes in very very handy and helps to eliminate teaching each student one by one. Just have all the student come for an hour to teach the art of how to properly pedal, ONCE!

And then the student who is uncoordinated, like the ones AZN described, will be able to go home and apply it? I don't see it. My area of difficulty is in coordination, and it combines with a mild learning disability where this is common. I am actually able to develop quite good technique, but it must be in stages, must be one-on-one, and there has to be a plan for how to work on it at home to develop it.

Years ago I attended a group Tai Chi class, where we faced the instructor. I cannot translate visual spacial stimulus. That is part of the LD. I work with a personal trainer, and I have to ask "Where do you feel...." It takes me longer to learn such things, but when I do have it, then it is thoroughly there.

I can see group classes for students who are already precocious (maybe), but not for those who have problems in these areas.
Posted by: Diane...

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 01:29 PM

Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Diane...
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
I'm very specific when it comes to teaching pedaling techniques, but I've also run into walls when students can't play a note and then pedal--they are seriously uncoordinated, and they just HAVE to play the note and pedal simultaneously.

hahahahahahaha
This is when a one-day seminar to teach pedaling comes in very very handy and helps to eliminate teaching each student one by one. Just have all the student come for an hour to teach the art of how to properly pedal, ONCE!

I attended a pedalling class where my teacher and other piano teachers got together with all students for a one-hour class.

Thank GOD for churches! They most often have a piano and lots of seating! grin

But how does that solve the problem of students who literally, physically, cannot play a note and then pedal a half second later? Haven't you encountered these kids? Every single movement has to happen at exactly the same time for them.

These uncoordinated kids also don't get very far in piano.


Well, you and I know that even piano teachers can differ on proper pedalling. But if attending and watching proper pedalling, learned by watching others pedal properly, or hands on (or is that "feet on"!) by getting other teachers who are there, to maybe explain to your student by giving "your" student their take on proper pedellig.

I have more often than not, to get the student to "feel" the correct way of pedalling, I have gotten down under the piano and worked their foot with my hand as they play and pedal! Wear latex gloves in this situation! grin
Posted by: AZNpiano

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 01:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Opus_Maximus
Have you tried crawling under the piano on your knees and controlling their foot for the whole lesson? I had a teacher to this to me once, no joke!

Yes.
Posted by: carlos88

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 02:44 PM

...
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano

You must have had some awful teachers. Each of my last three piano teachers said something about how to play the piano, and they are all very different in their approaches. But at least they all have an approach, at the very least. And it's up to me to absorb some ideas and reject some ideas.

There are good teachers out there--you just have to do some hunting.


My two viola teachers were quite good on the other hand, and I use what they taught now for approaching the piano.

One of the differences in their teaching methods is they would focus first on the desired sound and producing the desired sound.

So where my piano teachers might have said "That's a phrase mark" or "Bach didn't have a piano so you can't use the sustain pedal", my viola teachers would say "This should be a dry, sharp staccato, light, light, light ... so use a series of up bow strokes".
Posted by: Candywoman

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/27/13 10:58 PM

Mike doesn't want a clock-watcher. But I could say I don't want students who can't ask their questions in the lesson time allotted. They play to the bitter end and then start asking questions after their lesson time. Isn't that selfish, as well as undisciplined?

Anyhow, Mike, you're using all these things as ways to avoid commitment.
Get a piano teacher and let us know how it's going. End of story. Ten minutes extra here or there won't make an ounce of difference either way.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Bad Teachers - 11/28/13 04:58 AM

Internet psychology makes me uncomfortable. For good reason.