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#943075 - 09/30/08 12:09 PM Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
There was a recent reply that mentioned using the lesson time to practice.

I am not sure if this subject has been explored already, but I thought it might warrant a new thread. As a teacher, I often would take at least one lesson a year to just teach a student (young or older, beginner or advanced) just how to practice.

I felt it was important enough to spend time on. Many students say that they practice, but do they spend time wisely? Do they bluff it? Watching them do what they do, and giving suggestions, often gives them descipline and the mind focus on what they need to do.

Of course in most all lessons, something was suggested on 'how to practice' whatever was needed, but it still didn't address the whole issue and see what each student really does when they 'practice'.

Often these lesson times were 'make up' lessons.

As well, although I didn't participate in the theory thread, I would take time as a complete lesson to 'catch' up or 'advance' some theory but that was often more than once a year.

What are your thoughts, teachers?
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#943076 - 09/30/08 12:29 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
I think the piano lesson is all about teaching concepts, learning at the lesson how to analyze the music, learning how to practice, correcting inaccuracies or things that need improvement, polishing, and memorizing when the piece is well done. I work toward these goals at every lesson.

It is hard to hear all the music you have assigned if you keep stopping the lesson with corrections, so very often, I ask the student to present ALL of his music for the week while I write notes in his notebook about what to cover when we go back to talk about his presentation.

The presentation part takes 10-15 minutes of time for elementary - late elementary students and we go back for the last 15 minutes of the lesson to find any problem areas and work on them, or to verify what was written in the note book.

This is effective if you have a good, productive, independent student.

Practice habits are important - you don't get continued good results without the emphasis being on practicing at home. It is a constant in the lesson.

Same with theory and technique, it belongs in the lesson as needed and when needed.

I believe this approach is needed until the student is self-actualizing.

I also believe that groups of students at the same level could review in a separate one hour lesson, the things that they have learned about practice, theory, technique during the year (playing, listening, thinking), but I wouldn't use an occasional group lesson of one hour to teach the subject. That to me goes on during the individual lesson. I teach to meet the immediate need, but I do advance (plant seeds) for things coming up, too.

Perhaps it is a difference in the ages and levels of the people we teach, lilylady.

This is a good topic. I'll be interested in hearing what other teachers have to say!

Regards,

Betty

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#943077 - 09/30/08 12:43 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
 Quote:
Originally posted by Betty Patnude:
Perhaps it is a difference in the ages and levels of the people we teach, lilylady.
Betty [/b]
I agree with you. And have taught all ages and levels. Which is why I brought this up. It should not only be for younger students or beginners but for all students.

Sure, what is needed IS taught in every lesson appropriately, and according to each individual student.

I am suggesting though that sometimes a complete lesson or two needs to address how each individual student actually attacks/does practice and I wonder how many teachers actually take time to devote a whole lesson (or more) to 'listening to a student' and suggesting appropriate practice disciplines.

I love that you sometimes just listen and take notes!
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#943078 - 09/30/08 01:11 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Highlander One Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/05/08
Posts: 111
Loc: Texas
I think every student is different,wich dictates a different approach for each one.

What I try to teach, along with note reading, fingering, counting, dynamics, musicality, tempo, etc. is...THE MOST EFFICIENT WAY TO PRACTICE. I feel this is important. Efficiency will make the student better in the least amount of time.

Just a thought.......

H1
_________________________
Piano Sales since 1992
Piano study since 1969
Piano teacher since 1992
Touring musician since 1985
Studio musician since 1996
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#943079 - 09/30/08 01:59 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Morodiene Offline
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Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11901
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Every lesson I teach has ideas on how the student should practice. When a student has trouble in a particular measure of a piece, we take time to figure out a way to understand it, and a way to practice it. I will then tell them after we try a certain technique, to continue doing that for the next week in that place. I have found you must be very specific, otherwise they will just play through the song. Then at least they will try it once or twice. ;\)
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#943080 - 09/30/08 03:02 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
 Quote:
Originally posted by Morodiene:
Every lesson I teach has ideas on how the student should practice. When a student has trouble in a particular measure of a piece, we take time to figure out a way to understand it, and a way to practice it. I will then tell them after we try a certain technique, to continue doing that for the next week in that place. I have found you must be very specific, otherwise they will just play through the song. Then at least they will try it once or twice. ;\) [/b]
Yes, I totally agree. But that is not the subject I am presenting.

It is nice to have your input...

But, but, but...

this thread was started not as 'what do you do in every lesson'...
as all good teachers teach practicing habits in every lesson...

But, the thread is on devoting a whole lesson on evaluating how one student practices and how a teacher can devote a WHOLE LESSON to the subject!

Believing me, I have faith that all of you teach how to practice in each and every lesson...

Me too!

Sorry if I was not clear on the subject.
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#943081 - 09/30/08 03:07 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
musiclady Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/19/05
Posts: 431
Loc: Toronto, Canada
I show my students how to practice at most lessons, and different ways of learning the same material, for example I have two or three different approaches to learning scales, and the best one depends in the individual student.

Meri
_________________________
Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com

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#943082 - 09/30/08 03:12 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
lilylady,

Can you please clarify the subject you are presenting here in your topic?

Thanks!

Betty

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#943083 - 10/01/08 07:54 AM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
lilylady Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/17/05
Posts: 4977
Loc: boston north
Sorry Betty, if I wasn't clear. In the OP, I mentioned:

"I often would take at least one lesson a year to just teach a student (young or older, beginner or advanced) just how to practice."

In presenting this, I am interested in whether other teachers also take 'a complete lesson' and treat it as a practice sesson, listening to the student practice the way they would at home and helping them evaluate their weaknesses in practicing. The end result, hopefully would be that they developed more self discipline in learning pieces. And on the road to being able to learn pieces on their own.

I always found it quite interested to actually see how they to attacked a problem, what they do for their warm up, whether they play a piece in its entirety 'before' they stop at difficult passages to work on, or immediately went to the problem areas; whether they played through a problem area working out different fingering, working on notes, working on speed, (or whatever). Whether they then went back a few measures and tried to go through that area cleanly, and how many times they did this; or whether they just thought their 5 times to correct a problem was enough....or whatever. Things like that.

I consider this quite different than showing them in each and every lesson what they needed to work on, or working on something during the lesson.

As Morodiene points out
"I have found you must be very specific, otherwise they will just play through the song."

And I found a lesson like this quite enlightening. It was amazing how many students just 'played' through all their pieces! Oh, sure, they might correct a mistake, but it isn't the most efficient time spent learning.

BTW, it goes right along with your comment:
"Practice habits are important - you don't get continued good results without the emphasis being on practicing at home."
_________________________
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."

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#943084 - 10/01/08 09:22 AM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
lilylady,

It wasn't that you were unclear, it was I who was having trouble understanding. I appreciate the additional response

I have a slight twist to the "practice class", and that would be taking a piece or two or three, at or below the level of the group, and begin an analysis of each piece, until we had said all we could say about it. Using a white board as ideas are given, or outlining ideas into categories such as form, rhythm, dynamics. (Etc) Or using a "survey" printed page asking questions to lead with. This would be all about what you see on the music page. (Form, difficulty factors, phrasing short/long, dynamics).

Music is organized sound.

The next run through would be about someone(s) sight reading it on the piano after the analysis. Then the group gets to say if there were any places that could be improved upon in accurate notes on the keyboard, counting.

For instance at elementary level: There are more white notes in the music than black notes, it is slower moving. There are lots of (TA'i ti TA's) dotted quarter notes, 1/8 note, quarter note combinations in this piece (rhythm clapping time)

If one can discover and make use of the contents of a piece, they will come up with lots of ideas of how to play it while practicing it at home.

There would be a brain engaged, making comparisons, associations, building on what is seen, building on what is heard, building with techniques, building with theory.

This is a more encompassing effort and subject if presented this way. I do think it would take at least one of these classes per semester, if not one a month.

If you can get this approach across at an early stage of the game, it will be there as a terrific resource in the future.

One of the goals would be to make this thinking automatic without having to think what to think everytime there is a new piece of music. The student would have developed resources and acquired skills.

It really is a shame that students just play through the piece without identifying the structure of the piece. Without being rude, I'd like to say I consider playing through a "mindless" attempt - it's assuming that the student is fully self-actualizing at the level he is playing and can do the work at sight. In which case that implies moving to a higher level of difficulty.

Efficiency of time and effort is the outcome of all of this preparatory thinking work - with understanding of component parts of the music - practice makes what you observe and understand in the music - yours.

At some point, students stops practicing and simply plays having become an excellent sight reader from working through the kinds of steps I'm talking about here.

Making a video as you go is helpful.

Another activity as a group is hiring a Dalcroze instructor to come in and work on a Saturday morning for up to 3 hours, and having students, parent observers, and other teachers join the enterprise. Sharing the cost over the number of participants will make it affordable.

Dalcroze is extremely helpful, even on a one time basis. THe teachers would be scheduled first to be the participants, then the students arrive with parents who will observe, the Dalcroze teacher will lead this class, teachers will also be observing and taking notes. Then the Dalcroze teacher will come in and have the last session of the activity be a class for teachers discussing what they saw when the students were "doing" Dalcroze.

I hope I am more in line with the topic, but I am aware that my mind often associates things in what appears to be tangents, but to me, they are a large part of the background of how we get where we want to go.

It's the journey....!

Betty

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#943085 - 10/01/08 09:51 AM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Sorry to be late to this topic. However, IMHO teaching students how to practice is fully our responsibility. Where else should they learn how?

I have some very bitter memories from my own youth of teachers telling us to "study" something at home, "learn" something at home, but never explaining or teaching us how. "Well, just read through the assignment." What a total crock! Most students, 99%, need real guidance in self study/learning.

I structure the lesson just as I want them to structure their practice. And repeatedly tell them so. And yes, if students are not having lesson success, lessons are then devoted entirely to the art of practicing, including detailed practice outlines.

I also engage parents on helping their students practice better. I often tell students that their moms and dads love them very much, and they are trying to help them (you should see the sheepish looks on their faces) and while they may not be pianists, they do understand how to work to achieve a goal, and they should take advantage of their parents knowledge and help.
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#943086 - 10/01/08 10:13 AM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Varcon Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/15/04
Posts: 1931
Loc: Mount Vernon, Georgia 30445
I have a sheet with guidelines on practising that is generally applicable to most situations. For more specific things that require some individual techniques, then I prescribe that at the lesson.

Taking a specific piece, etude, exercise, and demonstrating how it should be practised for most effective results should be part, if not the whole, of a lesson. The printed guide will refresh what was covered at the lesson.

I feel that methods of approach can be varied from one student to another so while the guide sheet would be a general method, each lesson might have some instruction on how to practise certain types of passages involving the literature of the moment.

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#943087 - 10/01/08 10:52 AM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
Whenever I receive a transfer student, the first three lessons are spent ONLY on teaching how the mind assimilates information, how to practice, and how to test the practice and chart progress.

I am well known in my area as an instructor able to take a tired teen and make them voracious at the piano.

Some parents ask me what my secret is...I have no secret. I've just observed that teens who can see for themselves that they are improving collect the critical mass necessary to turn piano into an almost unhealthy obsession.

For some students, the only motivating thing in piano is that they are better today than they were yesterday. Without a focused, and flexible practice strategy, students can feel like they have not made progress, even when they have. IMO, this is almost as dangerous as not making progress.
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Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
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#943088 - 10/01/08 10:56 AM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:

I structure the lesson just as I want them to structure their practice. And repeatedly tell them so. [/QB]
Glad you said this. The lesson should be an organic continuation of what happens in the week...a time of re-focus, not de-focus.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#943089 - 10/01/08 11:36 AM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5483
Loc: Orange County, CA
 Quote:
Originally posted by pianoexcellence:
Whenever I receive a transfer student, the first three lessons are spent ONLY on teaching how the mind assimilates information, how to practice, and how to test the practice and chart progress. [/b]
Oh, it takes much longer than 3 weeks, if the transfer student has a lot of bad habits. It's like a big "re-wiring" of the brain.
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#943090 - 10/01/08 01:08 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5483
Loc: Orange County, CA
I often show students what to practice and how to practice. I can give suggestions on how to break down a complicated passage and work on the difficult parts, but it really depends on the student to follow through with the suggestions at home. Sometimes I'll take up 30 minutes of an hour-long lesson just to do a "practice session," showing the student the proper way to use a metronome, "drill and kill" a passage, practice a difficult run, or work on big chords.

The piano professors at my college tried to teach us how to practice. Some of the information is useful, but most of it I either didn't need or already knew.

I guess the biggest problem is with follow through. Students have to follow through with the correct method of practice at home. Sometimes parents have to be my "practice enforcer" at home, but then you get these parents who claim "I know nothing about music" and thus do nothing to help their children practice at home.
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Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#943091 - 10/01/08 01:29 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by AZNpiano:
]Oh, it takes much longer than 3 weeks, if the transfer student has a lot of bad habits. It's like a big "re-wiring" of the brain. [/b]
I don't share this experience (for the most part).

By your logic, If I gave a student a BMW M3, and took them for a test drive in it, they would still drive their old tercel out of habit.

perhaps some...but the majority would run out to the M3 with excitement each morning. Yes...it would take a much longer time for them to become familiar with all of the M3's features and to understand it's abilities and limitations...

Words like "rewiring" and "bad habit" and "unlearn" are dangerous to communicate to students. They represent things that students are not supposed to do. Of course, one can tell a student what not to do and never have to be specific, which is why many teachers focus on them.

AZN, I know you are a really good teacher, and I definitely respect what you say on this forum. In a way, I really am only arguing semantics and perspective. I'm not trying to pick on you personally, your comment just sparked this thought.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#943092 - 10/01/08 02:56 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5483
Loc: Orange County, CA
Jeremy:

80% of my studio consists of transfer students. I've also taken transfer students and then passed them on to someone else (mostly because their habits are unfixable). Believe me--I've done revamp projects to almost 100% of these transfers. Two of them came from a really good teacher (she raised her price too high, so the parent decided to switch to me), so I had just minor touches done on them. I've also learned a thing or two from these students, who had had exceptional teaching prior to me. Another two students were already advanced pianists who just needed someone to take them to another level. The rest of the transfers are not even close in caliber. I can spend all day telling you the horror stories. There is A LOT of bad/irresponsible/illogical teaching going on around where I live. Some of these revamp projects take 3 weeks. Some take 3 months. Some are beyond fixing, and starting over is perhaps the better option.

Another problem I witness comes from students who "teacher hop" or--for one reason or another--had several teachers prior to me. There are holes all over their music education. Plugging the holes just isn't enough.

The word "re-wiring" doesn't begin to describe what goes on here. Some students might be better off starting over with Book 1 of Hal Leonard.
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#943093 - 10/01/08 03:13 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
AZN, as you said: "Another problem I witness comes from students who "teacher hop" or--for one reason or another--had several teachers prior to me. There are holes all over their music education. Plugging the holes just isn't enough."

It is amazing how many students don't know the name of their last teachers during the interview. It is also amazing that a young student by age 9 could have had 2-3 piano teachers already! And, sadly, the child has not benefitted by being their student.

Hey, it's all up to you! You get to resculpt this student, if the parent and the student will let you.

As you say, you have a high % of transfer students - I have had the same since I've been here in Washington, but not such a high rate as yours. Fortunately, I get to start about half of the students myself. These ones seem to be the ones who stay in lessons with me for years.

The ones with previous history display that they are unhappy with their playing at our lessons, but they assume I am the problem, since they played OK for their previous teachers.

The difference between structure and standards and experience.

It's a hard role to play when you are the "bad guy".

It's like lemmings jumping off the cliff - students really have to have a very adequate teacher as the first teacher or they are going to be lost in the wilderness and may not be able to be rescued. (As in "Search & Rescue").

Not everyone is capable of making an assessment of what the student knows, does not know, and needs. So chances are the student will just go on to another teacher of similar capacity rather than one who fixes things for the better.

Teaching piano is a lot like computer programming, I think.

Betty

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#943094 - 10/01/08 03:18 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by AZNpiano:
I can spend all day telling you the horror stories. There is A LOT of bad/irresponsible/illogical teaching going on around where I live. [/b]
It's not the end of the world! Each hole in the learning is a light waiting to go off in a Student's head..."So that's how you do it! Now it makes sense"

Plugging holes is one of the most rewarding things to do as a teacher, because the difference is seen immediately. From a professional perspective, plugging holes efficiently seems to be the quickest way to distinguish yourself from your competitors.

Every time a student comes in with numerous technical, strategic, literary, aural, artistic holes, My first thought is to grieve the lost opportunity with regard to their potential. My second thought is looking forward to the smile on their face as they say: "I wish my other teacher would have taught me that...it makes so much sense now...I kinda knew something was missing".

It does require skilled diagnostics and careful planning though. Choose one or two strategically important "holes in the learning" and work on them until you are able to move onto the next.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#943095 - 10/01/08 03:24 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
Betty,

The last line of your last post made me chuckle.

If you had any idea how bad most computer programmes really are... \:D

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#943096 - 10/01/08 03:27 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
Jeremy - Paradigm shifts?

KS

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#943097 - 10/01/08 03:30 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4801
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by John v.d.Brook:
Sorry to be late to this topic. However, IMHO teaching students how to practice is fully our responsibility. Where else should they learn how?

I have some very bitter memories from my own youth of teachers telling us to "study" something at home, "learn" something at home, but never explaining or teaching us how. "Well, just read through the assignment." What a total crock! Most students, 99%, need real guidance in self study/learning.
If you change 99% to 100%, I agree with everything you just said. ;\)
 Quote:

I structure the lesson just as I want them to structure their practice. And repeatedly tell them so. And yes, if students are not having lesson success, lessons are then devoted entirely to the art of practicing, including detailed practice outlines.
This is EXACTLY what I do. When students come back with things nailed, I give nothing but compliments even if they have not followed my exact instructions. This means that if a student changes what I consider to be the best fingering and that new fingering works, I praise the student for independent thinking.

But if students comes back to lessons and murder things we had right because they decide to ignore my best tips, that's when I turn into the "not nice teacher".
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Piano Teacher

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#943098 - 10/01/08 03:44 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7368
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Gary, even though in my heart of hearts, I believe it to be 100%, you risk getting pounced on for being an absolutist, so I erred with a 1% factor of caution. \:D
_________________________
"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA

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#943099 - 10/01/08 04:46 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
pianoexcellence Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/14/07
Posts: 753
Loc: Abbotsford, BC, Canada
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Jeremy - Paradigm shifts?

KS [/b]
I don't understand.
_________________________
Music is the surest path to excellence

Jeremy BA, ARCT, RMT
Pianoexcellence Tuning and Repairs

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#943100 - 10/01/08 05:12 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11675
Loc: Canada
Sorry, I didn't mean to pose a riddle. I hoped for a change to express something in two words, on an impulse. A paradigm in this case is a way we perceive something. We might perceive that same thing in a much different way, and this can be a powerful thing. You described a scenario with a transfer student who has not been taught how to practice or approach things the right way. You spend the first three or so lessons on that alone as your priority. You state that the change can be quite rapid. But you also state something else: it is not enough for the student to be improving, he also has to know that he is improving or it might not be a good thing. My mind said "Awareness, because of those three weeks." I thought I understood why you said that last part, found it important, didn't want to be verbose and tried to limit myself to three words for a change. ;\)

Um, as a poorly taught student I might have learned to play a piece from end to end trying to improve it that way. I might be struggling with certain things, and might have struggled with them for months or years. My "paradigm" is that I must continue struggling with largish issues and work on a whole piece. The piece may be the goal and that is where I want to see the improvement.

You may see that I have poor posture and no sense of rhythm (I'm not a piano teacher so my examples may be absurd). If I can solve these two things, many things will fall in place for me. You may give me exercises to make that happen. If I understand the goals and what it is that I am supposed to do, then I will work more directly toward them and the results will be faster. This is where your three weeks of learning on how to practice comes in. My vision of what it means to practice, and what goals are, will have undergone a substantial shift. What will happen next is that as I work toward the posture and the timing (for example), my piece, which I am no longer thinking about, will suddenly start coming together. My old world of struggling against huge complex obstacles and working to complete entire pieces is completely changed.

Essentially I'll still be working on pieces and playing pieces just like I did before. Whatever technical problems I struggled with will be resolved, so they exist too, in a manner of speaking. But I am no longer in the same place with the same goals or the same perception and that is the paradigm shift.

Going back to what you wrote - If I don't understand this, then even though the posture and rhythm are improving, if I am still focussing on other goals I won't see it. Also if I go from my own experience, if you substantialy replace a bad habit for a good one, you may actually play worse or feel clumsy for a while since habits are so comfortable. You may get discouraged as well as scared to take the leap unless you can understand what is going on.

I don't know if I am correct, but that is what I saw in one of your old posts, and the two words "paradigm shift" says everything to me. I don't know where I first encountered the term.

(sigh - it's another long post.)

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#943101 - 10/01/08 06:24 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Glaswegian, said: "Betty, The last line of your last post made me chuckle. If you had any idea how bad most computer programmes really are...

Golly, Glaswegian, how sorry I am to hear that - I have a husband who spent years in the computer industry - systems programmer and systems network architect, and a son, who is an independant software developer and consultant. I've always had the opinion they work their butts off to be overly careful and provide exactly what is needed to specificiations. Yes, there are bugs and updates, changeovers, scope changes on projects - but it's all worthless if not accurately done.

Tell me it isn't true! But, then, what do I know about actually programming a computer?

Regards!

Betty

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#943102 - 10/01/08 07:13 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Glaswegian Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/05/07
Posts: 278
Loc: Glasgow, Scotland
It's not the programmers who are the problem, it's the impossible demands, incredibly short timescales and ultra tight budgets which cause the problems.

But I digress, and don't want to derail the thread. It was just a tongue in cheek comment from someone who has spent half of his short life up to his elbows keeping major companies' systems going with the coding equivalent of pipe cleaners, sticky back plastic and super glue.

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#943103 - 10/01/08 07:28 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4801
Loc: South Florida
 Quote:
Originally posted by keystring:
Um, as a poorly taught student I might have learned to play a piece from end to end trying to improve it that way.
You just mentioned what I think is *THE* most destructive student habit!
_________________________
Piano Teacher

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#943104 - 10/02/08 01:15 PM Re: Taking lesson time to teach how to practice
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Glaswegian,

No duct tape?

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