My piano lesson today was a flop

Posted by: Gomtorus

My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 04:31 AM

I am an adult beginner who is learning piano in my spare time purely for my own satisfaction.

Most weeks I have little time to practise yet my lessons go reasonably well.

I practised hard this past week and could play all the pieces my teacher assigned to me perfectly. Then this morning it's like I just went blank.

My teacher sometimes tells me how she feels like slitting her wrists listening to some of her pupils. I feel like I am one of those pupils.
Posted by: Eglantine

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 04:41 AM

Practice always pays off in the end.
So, one week, it didn't all come together? Teachers know that.

If your teacher included you in that group, she wouldn't have mentioned that thought to you.
Posted by: supertorpe

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 05:04 AM

Perhaps the desire to demonstrate the good work have added extra pressure.
There are days that I am very clumsy in piano class. These things happens.

Originally Posted By: Eglantine
If your teacher included you in that group, she wouldn't have mentioned that thought to you.


Although, sometimes, if someone speaks ill of others ahead of you, also speaks ill of you in front of others.
Being a teacher requires a very high doses of patience.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 05:12 AM

If I had a nickel for every time that happened to me!

My teacher says one of the phrases she hears most often is "but I could play it perfectly at home!".

As I generally have my lessons in my home, I've "tweaked" my lament to "I could play it perfectly before you got here" !

I think the stress /enthusiasm for wanting to show off what we've managed to do during the week sometimes throws us off. I don't know at what point we get over this phenomenon, but I do live in hope.

Don't sweat it.
Posted by: Rupak Bhattacharya

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 05:22 AM

Believe me or not, the kind of frustrations you've right now is perfectly normal, not only to a musician but also to every kind of performer. In my feelings, it's the test of your patience and love to music - the examiner is your instrument. It's just like the days in our daily lives: some days are happy, some are sad. And you have to face and survive the bad days to get the ultimate happiness in life. As Eglantine says, if you have true love for music then music WILL pay you back in the end, 'cause music is no human being who knows how to cheat smile So, just ignore your frustrations, concentrate on practice and think beyond your limitations and capabilities. The morning is waiting for you!
Posted by: Artur Gajewski

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 05:26 AM

Usually when you play alone you rock, but when someone enters the room, let alone sit by you listening carefully, it all goes down the toilet.
Posted by: MaryAnn

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 06:50 AM

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
My teacher says one of the phrases she hears most often is "but I could play it perfectly at home!".

As I generally have my lessons in my home, I've "tweaked" my lament to "I could play it perfectly before you got here" !
My variation on this is "I don't usually mess up at THAT part at home"

Hang in there. We all have bad weeks.
Posted by: SwissMS

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 06:55 AM

Oh, can I relate to this! I practice hard all week, then I go into a piano lesson with great expectations, ... and fall apart. We adult students some times just try too hard. Yesterday at my piano lesson, as I was looking at the Bach Solfeggio like I had never seen it before, my piano teacher said "you just have too much Angst! Relax!" She was absolutely correct. I was putting pressure on myself that made it MORE difficult for her to teach me. When a young child goes to his piano lesson, he just goes in, plays, and has fun. He doesn't get uptight if he makes a mistake. He hasn't learned to judge himself yet. I think we adults (at least me) need to learn how to do this. I play slower and make few mistakes in practice, but when I go to a lesson I rush and make a lot of mistakes. I cannot just relax, play, and have fun, because I feel I am being judged. Yet teachers are not judging their students, they are trying to help them learn. I am trying to learn how to play like that child-- and have fun!
Posted by: zrtf90

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 07:19 AM

What you can't hear and your teacher can is the gradual improvement in your ability and touch over time. It may be difficult to comprehend right now but a trained or experienced ear can hear a good piano technique whether you're playing a well-practised party piece or taking your first tentative steps in a new and challenging piece.

Chill! One bad day counts for nothing. The improvements you made from practising during the week will still be there even if you made mistakes in the lesson.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 07:56 AM

Originally Posted By: zrtf90
What you can't hear and your teacher can is the gradual improvement in your ability and touch over time. It may be difficult to comprehend right now but a trained or experienced ear can hear a good piano technique whether you're playing a well-practised party piece or taking your first tentative steps in a new and challenging piece.



That's so true.

A teacher can tell which mistakes are due to nerves - or somethng that has been forgotten rather than something that has not been studied or not understood.

My teacher said something similar to what you wrote above, and I didn't really "buy into it"... until I found myself saying something very similar to one of my own (language) students - telling her that there were different kinds of errors and I could tell them apart. I realized that if it could be true for me, there was no reason to not believe it was also true for her.

I always find it interesting when I discover parellels in the teaching (or learning!) of different subjects.

Posted by: malkin

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 08:55 AM

Originally Posted By: casinitaly

I always find it interesting when I discover parellels in the teaching (or learning!) of different subjects.


A brain is a brain after all whether it is learning to play piano or learning to speak English.

In my practice of speech-language pathology, it is sometimes necessary to teach a skill or behavior in several environments and with different materials or people present before the client will be able to exhibit it successfully outside of my office. The technical term for this is generalization.

I know I will play better at my lesson if I have played my pieces on the piano at work in addition to my own.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 09:58 AM

Originally Posted By: malkin
Originally Posted By: casinitaly

I always find it interesting when I discover parellels in the teaching (or learning!) of different subjects.


A brain is a brain after all whether it is learning to play piano or learning to speak English.

In my practice of speech-language pathology, it is sometimes necessary to teach a skill or behavior in several environments and with different materials or people present before the client will be able to exhibit it successfully outside of my office. The technical term for this is generalization.

I know I will play better at my lesson if I have played my pieces on the piano at work in addition to my own.


Very interesting -
Teaching with differnt materials or approaches is important for several reasons, I think.
It helps make things moree easily recognizable in different contexts, and it also deals with the fact that people learn differently.
Some people learn through listening, some through doing, some have to speak, some have to touch, some need to make a picture - these are called "multiple intelligences" and the more you can connect with with the person you're working with, the better chance you have of making an idea stick.
Posted by: ukbuk

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 10:16 AM

Don't worry about it. The same thing happened to me yesterday. A piece I've been learning for a number of months went completely wrong three times when I tried to play it for my teacher.

As said above though he could still recognise how far I'd progressed with it and said at points that he'd stopped listening to the piece as a teacher and found himself listening purely for enjoyment (I'll take that compliment!)

To add to other people's comments, playing for yourself and playing in front of people is completely different. One thing you can do is before your lesson play your 'perfected' pieces for a friend/relative/neighbour first. That way your first real performance of the piece isn't for your teacher and so won't be a new experience for you when you do play it for your teacher.

Cheers
Posted by: Stanza

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 10:31 AM

Your job is not to entertain your teacher. If you learned something new, or your teacher helped you through some difficulties, then your lesson was not a flop.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 10:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Stanza
Your job is not to entertain your teacher.

Well said!

This happens to me. Sometimes I have no time to practice and I do well in my lesson and other times I practice a lot, feel confident in what I accomplished and don't do well. It's all just part of the learning process.

Also, I think it was really inappropriate for your teacher to say that to you. Playing and sounding like crap are all part of the process and no one should feel bad or insecure about that.

I had a (former) teacher accuse me of not practicing when I practiced a lot all week. What bothered me about that was 1.I'm an adult, I'm paying for lessons and I wouldn't/don't need to lie about whether I practiced or not. 2.She didn't recognize that what was happening was (I now know) very common among adult students who are still developing their reading skills. She taught other adult students so I don't know what her deal was! Anyway, my point is that instead of her understanding the normal/natural process some adult students go through, she accused me of not practicing when I actually did practice and I don't need that crap from someone I am paying to teach me how to do something that I love!

Anyway. don't worry too much of a lesson doesn't seem to go well. We all have good and bad days but there is always something to learn from the experience and whether you realize it or not you are always improving.

smile
Posted by: alans

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 01:51 PM

Have any of you read The Inner Game of Music? It's worth checking out. It helped me immensely when I was taking a conservatory exam on another instrument many years ago. It talks about the voices we set off in our heads and how we try and sabatoge the things we love to do. It's really useful. It taught me how to stop competing with myself and try and play for the pleasure itself.
Posted by: keystring

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 03:07 PM

Originally Posted By: malkin

In my practice of speech-language pathology, it is sometimes necessary to teach a skill or behavior in several environments and with different materials or people present before the client will be able to exhibit it successfully outside of my office. The technical term for this is generalization.

That is very interesting. We had an excellent professor in an advanced second language training course, and she spoke a lot of "integration". The idea was that any knowledge or skill was useless unless it could also be applied to the activity in practical terms and become an automatic part of that activity (be integrated). Thus if you memorize grammar and syntax, but cannot automatically string together a sentence while speaking in real time, then it was not integrated and was not useful. I've always thought that a similar principle would have to apply in music.
Posted by: JimF

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 04:40 PM

Gomtorus - As everyone has already told you, fuggggettabouddditt, we all have bad days now and then.

I've got a better idea for you.....

Instead of coming here to post about a bad day when you have one, why don't you come over to the Achievement of the Week thread and post about something that went right this week. Anyhthing, no matter how small it is, counts, and counts a lot more than having a little rough patch at lesson time. Celebrate your baby steps forward with the rest of us.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 04:45 PM

Originally Posted By: casinitaly
If I had a nickel for every time that happened to me!

My teacher says one of the phrases she hears most often is "but I could play it perfectly at home!".

As I generally have my lessons in my home, I've "tweaked" my lament to "I could play it perfectly before you got here" !

I think the stress /enthusiasm for wanting to show off what we've managed to do during the week sometimes throws us off. I don't know at what point we get over this phenomenon, but I do live in hope.

Don't sweat it.

EXACTLY AND SPOT ON!

As a teacher, I can 'sense' when a student has practice but is too eager to show off what (s)he's done, or simply didn't practice. The better we do and the more unique it feels to us, the more the stress and anxiety to do as well in front of others... BANG!

The way to get over it (I think) has to do with our own selfish personality: Once one can decide that they ARE good and they don't count on the teacher 100% then all these psychological blockings will start to fade away.

(At least this is what I'm getting from my own students).
Posted by: Rm403

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/23/12 06:40 PM

As a teacher, I can 'sense' when a student has practice but is too eager to show off what (s)he's done, or simply didn't practice.
[/quote]

This is what my teacher always says. She can tell when I have practiced and am just making nerve mistakes. I usually practice so she really hasn't seen much "didn't practice" stuff, but she knows.
Posted by: KeysAngler

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/24/12 12:05 AM

"Flop Sweat"

we all have it in one way or another
Posted by: lyricmudra

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/24/12 12:49 AM

Here is a link to a video that was posted by beeboss in an ABF thread that was discussing the book 'Effortless Mastery'. The video addresses some of the issues that we have with inconsistencies in our playing (e.g., why we do well in practice but falter during performance in front of others). The focus is on how the 'self' (or the 'ego') interferes during practice as well as performance. It is a one and a half hour video but I think that the parts that are more relevant to this current thread start after the first fifteen minutes. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un3p614XExc
Posted by: Artur Gajewski

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/24/12 02:02 AM

People take lessons for different reasons. I would take lessons to obtain the extra level of motivation to practice and would not take it too seriously. Because when I take things too seriously, I tend to get frustrated when I happen to play a wrong note. I just keep in mind, that I am not going to be a concert pianist at this age any more, so I practice to get that level where I can just get the sheet music and start playing at least in some level of capability. And most importantly, to be able to jam away and enjoy.
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/24/12 02:57 AM

Originally Posted By: lyricmudra
Here is a link to a video that was posted by beeboss in an ABF thread that was discussing the book 'Effortless Mastery'. The video addresses some of the issues that we have with inconsistencies in our playing (e.g., why we do well in practice but falter during performance in front of others). The focus is on how the 'self' (or the 'ego') interferes during practice as well as performance. It is a one and a half hour video but I think that the parts that are more relevant to this current thread start after the first fifteen minutes. Here is the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un3p614XExc


What a great link - what a great speaker. He certainly hits the nail on the head when he talks about having (or rather not having) patience with ourselves and setting our expectations (be their for time limits or managing a skill) too high.
I've watched about half an hour and now my curiousity about the other thread is really piqued....off I go to see what it is all about!
Thanks Lyricmudra!
Posted by: dmd

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/24/12 08:34 AM

I take lessons to give me a sense that I am doing the right things to become a better player. I try to keep from trying to show the teacher how "good" I am. I, instead, am satisfied with just playing the best I can AT THE MOMENT and let the teacher deal with what that means. In other words, I just do the best I can and the teacher will do the best he/she can and together we will make some progess. That is all either of us can do.

A typical lesson includes me playing some, my teacher playing some, some conversation about this and that, some laughter, .... very informal, relaxed atmosphere. Sometimes the next week's "assignment" is to keep doing what I was doing last week. I also fill out my week with pieces that I wish to play and when I have them at a point where I wish for some guidance, I play it for him and we go from there.

I consider a teacher just someone who looks in on me periodically, observes and gives me his impression of what I might do next ... or NOT. I do not have to do what he suggests, it is merely a suggestion. If it something I just cannot get myself to do, yet ... he backs off.



Posted by: Kymber

Re: My piano lesson today was a flop - 05/24/12 03:48 PM

Originally Posted By: alans
Have any of you read The Inner Game of Music? It's worth checking out. It helped me immensely when I was taking a conservatory exam on another instrument many years ago. It talks about the voices we set off in our heads and how we try and sabatoge the things we love to do. It's really useful. It taught me how to stop competing with myself and try and play for the pleasure itself.


This book is next in line after I finish with Effortless Mastery.
I slacked off a lot with EM but your suggestion inspired me to get on the ball with things. Thanks!