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Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059512
01/02/07 03:06 PM
01/02/07 03:06 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,553
Jacksonville, Florida
Oxfords Gal Offline OP
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My piano teacher likes doing duets but I don't.

I know they're supposed to be fun and all but for some reason I detest them. I hate sitting on a bench with half my behind hanging out, not being able to see the music and having to stretch my arms to the right or left while my body is twisted everywhich way. in addition my dog is very sick and my fun factor is not up there right now.

I've let her know this but she seems to want to continue them. i'm pretty unhappy and frustrated at this point. it hurts and irritates me to be pushed when i've asked not to do something i don't particularly like

Am I wrong not wanting to do them? will i be missing out on something important if I don't do them?

should i talk to her again or should i email her? is emailing her cheesy?


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
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Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059513
01/02/07 03:26 PM
01/02/07 03:26 PM
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 69
Indiana
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Indiana
With all of the music that exists in the world, classical or otherwise, it shouldn't be a big deal to switch to other pieces. Unless the teacher just enjoys playing. But, I think you can learn just as much technique from other pieces than from duets. So, this sounds like a teacher problem, not a problem with you.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059514
01/02/07 03:34 PM
01/02/07 03:34 PM
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Posts: 147
Orange County
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i dont think this is just a piano/music problem question, but a question that can be answered by any body with a little sense.

your teacher has got to be professional on her approach of teaching you and if you do not agree with doing duets, either she has to stop or you have to just move on to another teacher.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059515
01/02/07 05:11 PM
01/02/07 05:11 PM
Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 8,483
Ohio, USA
signa Offline
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i actually think playing duets is a very valuable experience. i remember trying some easy duet with a friend, which was pretty fun, although we just sight read through and had a lot mistakes and were not always in sync. we tried also playing the beginning of Beethoven's 'Spring' sonata for violin and piano with 4-hand (me for piano part and her on violin part) on piano only. it was fantastic, and i only wish i could have done it better with her.

my teacher is also an accompanist, great in playing chamber or accompanying choir or singers. he often tells me that playing with others or accompanying someone is a good experience to have, especially for musicians, where you learn to listen to and cooperate with other players. i only regret not to do it often enough and want to prepare myself to at least try to accompany a singer friend soon.

so, i guess if you're open minded and accept that as a learning opportunity, you might find the joy in doing so as well. no, you're not 'wrong', but it's just you'd miss a learning experience.

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Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059516
01/02/07 05:26 PM
01/02/07 05:26 PM
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Posts: 1,428
Essex, England
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Essex, England
loly, may I say how sad I was to read the news about your poor dog. Obviously the dog comes before piano practice! I think your teacher sounds sadistic. Is she maybe used to teaching naughty children? If so, maybe she just gets into the habit of "disciplining" all the time. But that is not appropriate for you. I suggest that you never do another duet in your life unless you want to. Write down a polite but firm statement saying this and either send it to your teacher or memorise it and say it to her. You could also take along an alternative piece to turn to once your message is out of the way.

Good luck, and please let us know how it turns out!

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059517
01/02/07 05:35 PM
01/02/07 05:35 PM
Joined: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,654
New York City
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Quote
Originally posted by signa:
i actually think playing duets is a very valuable experience. i remember trying some easy duet with a friend, which was pretty fun, although we just sight read through and had a lot mistakes and were not always in sync. we tried also playing the beginning of Beethoven's 'Spring' sonata for violin and piano with 4-hand (me for piano part and her on violin part) on piano only. it was fantastic, and i only wish i could have done it better with her.

my teacher is also an accompanist, great in playing chamber or accompanying choir or singers. he often tells me that playing with others or accompanying someone is a good experience to have, especially for musicians, where you learn to listen to and cooperate with other players. i only regret not to do it often enough and want to prepare myself to at least try to accompany a singer friend soon.

so, i guess if you're open minded and accept that as a learning opportunity, you might find the joy in doing so as well. no, you're not 'wrong', but it's just you'd miss a learning experience.
That may be so, but if the student pushes back a lot, the teacher should back off. Teachers don't need to force adult students to play something they don't want to play.

Loly, very sorry about your dog. I wish you the best of luck. Don't back down from this teacher.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059518
01/02/07 05:38 PM
01/02/07 05:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 640
Austin, TX
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I agree with Phlebas. There are a lot of things out there that are "learning opportunities", but if you don't enjoy playing it, I don't think it's worth it. There is so much good music out there, you should find things you like to play and play them. We're adults, doing this for enjoyment, not concert pianists (for the most part!), and if it's not enjoyable then what's the point?

I think it's time for a new teacher.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059519
01/02/07 05:41 PM
01/02/07 05:41 PM
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Posts: 6,416
Washington D.C. Metro
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My goodness!

My teacher also likes duets, whereas I don't. My problem isn't having my butt hanging off the side of the bench (I'm rather used to that! smile ), but that they aren't fun to practice because you can't make the whole cool sound all by yourself. Also, if someone says, "Hey, play what you're working on for me!", you feel kind of stoopid playing half of a duet.

As a result, **my teacher doesn't try to force me to do duets.** Or anything else.

It sounds like there is some confusion on who is the employer/client and who is the employee/provider. I'd clarify things with something like this:

"Nancy, I've really enjoyed my time working with you, and I feel like you've taught me a lot. I have every intention of continuing to take lessons as long as it takes to progress to where I want to be.

But we need to come to an understanding about something. This is a hobby for me. I have to enjoy it, or I won't be able to continue. I don't like duets and I don't want to do any duets ever again. I know you have very good reasons for asking that I try, you know what you're doing, and I would be a better pianist if I did duets, so perhaps I will change my mind one of these days.

In the meantime, I'm afraid I can't do any more duets. Let's put the duets aside and try to find other pieces to learn, and I promise I will do my best with them, OK?"

If that doesn't work, you'll need to find a new teacher.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059520
01/02/07 05:52 PM
01/02/07 05:52 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,215
S. California
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I think it would depend on how pretty the teacher is laugh


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Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059521
01/02/07 05:53 PM
01/02/07 05:53 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,557
Roswell, Georgia
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Loly, if you can, I think I should try to address this with her, not so you can stay necessarily, but so you won't leave with something unresolved and uncomfortable. Maybe you could set up a meeting outside of a lesson and let her know ahead of time that you want to discuss the issue with the duets and her philosophy with adult students. She may have a particular plan she follows with all students and may be unwilling to alter it to suit a student's preferences. That's something you should know. It's not something to get angry about if everyone knows it ahead of time.

I know my own teacher, who has taught over 50 years now, has her own preferences, but she's pretty flexible with adults. Some are beginning beginners, and they follow her plan pretty closely. Others have taken before, and if their goal is to play from fake books or only pop tunes, she assists them. I came to her wanting to earn a "five complete sonata" plaque from a teachers' organization, and she's since told me she would have never chosen that goal for a student--it's too limiting. But she helped me achieve it because I wanted to. I'm sure, though, if someone came in wanting to play jazz or by ear, she'd just say honestly, "I don't think I can help you with that." She does prefer that people memorize pieces from time to time, but when someone says they just can't, she leaves it alone.

I think adults tend to come and go as students, and they have many more time constraints than children, so teachers have to treat them differently. Does your teacher have many adults? I would be curious how other students have dealt with this issue. If you're at all feeling strong enough to have this discussion with her, I think you'll feel better in the long run to have worked out the issues before continuing or moving on to another teacher.

Nancy


Estonia 168
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059522
01/02/07 06:41 PM
01/02/07 06:41 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,553
Jacksonville, Florida
Oxfords Gal Offline OP
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thanks for the advise all.

I thought there was something wrong with me for not liking duets.

I decided to sit and talk with her about them instead of emailing if we continue to do them.

i know they'll come up in our lesson books and that's fine but i really don't want to do them as part of our weekly lesson, i'm just not having fun with them.


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059523
01/02/07 06:48 PM
01/02/07 06:48 PM
Joined: Jan 2006
Posts: 273
Ohio
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I would call her and say, "Don't come back. You're not that great."

Life is short, find a teacher you like and respect.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059524
01/02/07 06:51 PM
01/02/07 06:51 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 325
PA
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Hello Loly,

I am so sorry about your fur baby.

I don't feel that this issue is about doing duets... you'd be willing to do what your good teacher requests. It's about doing something you aren't truly keen on NOW when you are so emotionally distraught. Plus, you need to use what energy you have left to devote to your full time job.

You might want to ONCE MORE explain the heartache with which you are presently dealing and, sadly the greater one you anticipate.

If your teacher remains unyielding AND unsympathetic... well, remember the advice given by Dear Abby, "When given a choice... CHOOSE THE DOG!!"

Daria
Pansy's Mama


Only love is real, everything else is of ego and is an illusion.
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059525
01/02/07 08:18 PM
01/02/07 08:18 PM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,557
Roswell, Georgia
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No, loly, I don't think an email is cheesy. I like email for difficult topics because I can type it on a word processing program, change whatever I want, save it until the next day to read over, then paste it and send it. If I would rather say something in person, I have actually typed it out ahead of time and can practice what I want to say. That way I don't have to think so hard in a stressful situation. I like what Cindysphinx had to say about how a conversation might go. She definitely has the right idea--what you need, what you're not getting.

Taking lessons as an adult is an intensely personal endeavor, and you have to be able to trust your teacher enough to be vulnerable with them. Otherwise you will always be hesitant to say when you don't understand something or are having a hard time with something. We are so used to how teachers have to be when we are children, but as adults they should really be more like mentors, walking the journey with us. Just with more knowledge. If you do not trust your teacher enough to speak your mind without fear, then it doesn't really matter how great she is; you won't go as far as you could if you trusted her.

In the end, even if her students don't fully trust her, they are paying customers looking for a service. It's no different than if you had a cleaning person who was not doing what you asked, a sitter letting the kids watch R movies, or anything else. It's possible that speaking to her or writing to her will be a favor to her as well as you. On your side, you'll regain the feeling of an adult--a client--who is not satisfied with a service. She will hear how she can better serve her clients.

Good luck with this. Please let us know how you handle it and what her response is.

Nancy


Estonia 168
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059526
01/02/07 08:25 PM
01/02/07 08:25 PM
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Posts: 6,416
Washington D.C. Metro
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Loly, a face-to-face discussion really would be a great way to handle it, for lots of reasons. It gives her a fair chance to respond to your concerns, for one thing. It makes sure you have been clearly understood.

But most of all, it is a wonderful chance to engage in a bit of confrontation, especially if you're not normally comfortable in such situations. You have all the power, don't you? There's very little on the line -- it's not like you're asking for a promotion or something. If it doesn't go the way you want, you can just walk away.

In my experience, you'll feel better having closure and knowing *you* handled things in a professional and mature fashion, even if she doesn't.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059527
01/02/07 08:30 PM
01/02/07 08:30 PM
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Posts: 4,042
not in Japan anymore
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Everyone has given you really good advice here, but I can't resist adding my own comment:

WOW! IMO that teacher is really out of line. I would definitely say write an email if that makes you comfortable expressing your feelings.

Remind her that you are an adult, and although she is the piano expert here, you want to take an active role in your learning and in setting the course for the piano work that you do. If she really thinks that duets are the best way for you to learn something, then she needs to treat you like an adult and explain why. If, after hearing what goals she has in wanting you to do duets, you still decide that you'd rather play solos, then she needs to respect that. (It's not like you're telling her you're only going to play with your index finger!!)

I think we need to incorporate the concept of "informed consent" in piano lessons. laugh

P.S. I don't do duets for the same reason as Cindy, they aren't fun to play alone.


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
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Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059528
01/02/07 08:34 PM
01/02/07 08:34 PM
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not in Japan anymore
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Oops, Cindy and I were simul-posting.

After reading that, I would have to agree, you should talk to her in person. (In addition to what Cindy said, in person she'll have to respond, but if you email, she could avoid replying.)

If you feel a little bit uncomfortable about that, make a list of what you want to say, so that you won't forget anything important and also so that while you're talking to her, you can keep on track and try to stay level headed etc.

Whatever you decide to do, Good luck!


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059529
01/02/07 08:42 PM
01/02/07 08:42 PM
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Posts: 1,557
Roswell, Georgia
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I think I was also simul-posting with Cindy and Shiro.

I agree with both of them that talking is better than writing, but I also think that if you know for sure that you won't confront her in person, you're better off to write than do nothing. I'm pretty non-confrontational, but I do feel that resolution is worth a lot to my self-esteem if I think I've been wronged.

Nancy


Estonia 168
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059530
01/02/07 08:53 PM
01/02/07 08:53 PM
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Posts: 1,391
SouthWest Michigan
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Roger Ransom Online content
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I had a piano teacher once who had me play 2 piano four hands duets. She had 2 pianos. Even then I think I only did two in the entire time I took from her and that was with another student for a recital and that was fun. What's her big deal with duets? Duets played crunched together on a single piano are not fun to me for all the stated reasons plus a few of my own.

Of course, even with 2 piano duets you are only practicing half the piece.

I wouldn't do it either. Don't be intimidated.


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Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059531
01/02/07 10:14 PM
01/02/07 10:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 18,231
Lexington, Kentucky
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Quote
Originally posted by Cindysphinx:
It sounds like there is some confusion on who is the employer/client and who is the employee/provider. I'd clarify things with something like this:

"Nancy, I've really enjoyed my time working with you, and I feel like you've taught me a lot. I have every intention of continuing to take lessons as long as it takes to progress to where I want to be.

But we need to come to an understanding about something. This is a hobby for me. I have to enjoy it, or I won't be able to continue. I don't like duets and I don't want to do any duets ever again. I know you have very good reasons for asking that I try, you know what you're doing, and I would be a better pianist if I did duets, so perhaps I will change my mind one of these days.

In the meantime, I'm afraid I can't do any more duets. Let's put the duets aside and try to find other pieces to learn, and I promise I will do my best with them, OK?"

If that doesn't work, you'll need to find a new teacher.
I think this advice is perfect, and I can't think of anything to add to it.

Loly, I agree that having this conversation in person would be preferable... but seeing as I would have a hard time confronting her myself, I'd be sympathetic to your sending her an e-mail. Use Cindysphinx's script as a starter and it should all work out fine... but if it doesn't, a new teacher is in order.

You have my sympathies regarding your dog's illness. The "cat of my life" had to be put down 10 years ago, and I still miss her. The loss and grief you are going through is real, and you are wise to cut yourself a lot of slack during this time.


Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica
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Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059532
01/02/07 10:22 PM
01/02/07 10:22 PM
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Posts: 19,862
Kansas
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the good thing about an email is that you could just copy Cindy's post and sign it.


accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059533
01/02/07 10:51 PM
01/02/07 10:51 PM
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Posts: 2,365
Philadelphia
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Loly

Another vote for Cindy's post. I agree that normally it is best to discuss an issue face to face. However, the combination of her controlling nature and your possible reluctance to avoid an unpleasant discussion may make an e-mail or letter the best medicine.

Most importantly I would recommend you do this as soon as possible. It's very important to get rid of this stress. Your teacher probably has the best of intentions to get you beyond your reluctance but apparently has gone way beyond the boundaries. This kind of stress has no benefit that I can see.

I have never been asked to play duets and neither have my kids. We all have separate teachers. I don't see duets as a required evolutionary step and certainly not for an adult.

I say get it over with--you'll feel so much better and the e-mail is not a cop out given what you've said. Time to put the ball in her court and you will either confirm everything you thought about her or be pleasantly surprised.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059534
01/02/07 11:48 PM
01/02/07 11:48 PM
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Posts: 1,553
Jacksonville, Florida
Oxfords Gal Offline OP
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thanks for the great advise all. I decided to do it face to face rather than an email. If she didn't respond to it, it would be a bit awkward when I showed up for my lesson on saturday.

I know this isn't a pet forum and I certainly don't want to deviate by mentioning my pets but I do appreciate the sympathy that comes only from people who love their animals with a passion. It's always nice to find people like that because it's like a big extended family.

I lost the love of my life Oxford (my very first Airedale) two years ago and there's not an hour that goes by that he isn't on my mind. I picked him out when he was 2 weeks old, brought him home at 8 weeks and we were soul mates until he passed on almost 13 years later.

4 months after he passed I adopted leon, who was 9 at the time. He filled my heart and comforted me for almost 2 years and now I'll be losing him soon. He's one of those highly intelligent, funny, quirky doggies. He filled a spot that I thought would be empty forever.

I'd like to share a video I made of Oxford and I'm posting a picture of leon.

make sure you turn your sound up

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8895018885746309829&q=oxford+forever&hl=en

Leon not long ago before he got ill

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i suppose a section for pets would be out of the question? he he. sorry thought I'd try laugh


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059535
01/03/07 12:03 AM
01/03/07 12:03 AM
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loly, sorry your dog is not well. that is the sweetest video i have ever seen though!!! what a lovely dog!!! sweet:)


If it ain't fun I ain't doin' it:)
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059536
01/03/07 03:26 PM
01/03/07 03:26 PM
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Posts: 640
Austin, TX
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What a great video! Thanks for sharing. Love the antler ears, I had some for my cats but I could never get them on!

So sorry about your dog. I lost my last two cats in May, within two week of each other, one was 19 the other 14. In the last three years we've lost three cats and a dog, mostly to old age, one cat to cancer. I can really sympathize with you. They really do become part of your family.

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059537
01/03/07 11:02 PM
01/03/07 11:02 PM
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Posts: 325
PA
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Dear loly,

The first thing that struck me while watching your video of Oxford was the opening shot of him as a puppy -- HIS EYES. I gasped -- while my one hand covered my mouth the other went over my heart. He has eyes filled with SPIRIT, twinkling with mischief, almost "human eyes" that say, "I can understand every word you speak but I'm NOT gonna listen cuz you love the RASCAL in me!!" He stole my heart.

I had to then mute my speakers because I would not have been able to see your video to the end with Neil Diamond mournfully singing, "Hello Again.” What a beautiful tribute to Oxford, whose only offering was unconditional love. And somehow I sense that Oxford brought you and Leon together smile .

Quote
Originally posted by loly:

I know this isn't a pet forum and I certainly don't want to deviate by mentioning my pets but I do appreciate the sympathy that comes only from people who love their animals with a passion. It's always nice to find people like that because it's like a big extended family. laugh
Loly, People who are passionate about playing the piano are most likely passionate about other things – especially their pets. Note how many forum members replied to you expressing their deep affection for their dogs and cats!

God Created DOG to LOVE Man and CAT to teach him HUMILITY----unknown


Daria
Pansy’s Mama


Only love is real, everything else is of ego and is an illusion.
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059538
01/04/07 10:32 AM
01/04/07 10:32 AM
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,553
Jacksonville, Florida
Oxfords Gal Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
Oxfords Gal  Offline OP
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,553
Jacksonville, Florida
OMG Daria, it's like you opened a window and saw what was in my life. Everything you said is absolutely correct even about sensing that Oxford brought me Leon, since we felt the same but not only us people who have met us have said the same thing.

I can talk about Oxford, all day if anybody would let me. He's hard to sum up in one word but he was/is as you described. Extremely intelligent and knowing. He understood everything I told him even unspoken words (he brought me out of the woods when I got lost and took me to the spot where I had left my backpack with a simple phrase "ok lets go". He was a very kind and patient soul with a bit of clownish mischief in him. We were both each others joy and we were so devoted to each other. I still am as a matter of fact and when I'm troubled for some reason I wake up with my legs all the way to the right side of the bed. It's how I slept when Oxford, would jump on the bed and lay on the left side of my feet every night till I fell asleep. laugh

thanks for your kind words, it helps me tons in these moments of heartache. I am of the belief that I will someday see all my fur kids again but it's always hard having to wait.

http://home.bellsouth.net/p/s/community.dll?ep=87&subpageid=147138&ck=

Leon, is so much like Oxford, extremely intelligent and knowing, a clown with some really neat quirks and we bonded the moment we met. I love him sooo much. he's at the vets right now getting a tune up. IV's to get his kidney squeeky clean.


uhmmmmm, I played the piano yesterday. I'm on Scott Joplins, theme from solace in alfreds book 2. /hides


Fuzzy Wuzzy was a bear, Fuzzy Wuzzy had no hair.>>> Herman Munster
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059539
01/04/07 05:36 PM
01/04/07 05:36 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 982
Oregon
S
sleepingcats Offline
500 Post Club Member
sleepingcats  Offline
500 Post Club Member
S
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 982
Oregon
loly,

I'm so sorry for your loss and sadness. If some pet owners could have even 5% of the love you have for yours, there would be no more animal abuse (it's so horrible to see the mistreatment on some of these pet shows).

Pets are so therapeutic. We talk to each other, they make us smile and laugh, so it's only right that they get spoiled rotten! Your Leon has the best Mom - he's very lucky, as Oxford and you were to have each other.

Regarding your teacher, I hope your talk with her goes well. Her behavior is so insulting. If she has issues in her life, she should understand that you also have issues.

Good luck.


"Cats make purrfect friends"
Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059540
01/04/07 05:54 PM
01/04/07 05:54 PM
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,428
Essex, England
M
Mary-Rose Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Mary-Rose  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 1,428
Essex, England
loly - How is Leon doing? I loved the pic. I can imagine how you must miss him. I have an airdale called Butz who is six years old and I feel frightened at how quickly the remainder of his days will flash by. I can't imagine life without him. Here he is, sending you a wag and saying "take courage!" [Linked Image]

Re: Am I wrong?(UPDATE) #1059541
01/04/07 06:11 PM
01/04/07 06:11 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,198
Canton, MI
Les Koltvedt Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Les Koltvedt  Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 3,198
Canton, MI
First off...I so sorry about your puppy...I know all about having ill pets... lost our westie a short time back.

Second...Your paying HER, do what you want, play what you want, when you want to...period. Lifes too short. (although as a youngster, I played in the Grinnell\'s big piano duet, being about 13/14 I got to play with a young girl laugh and had to practice 3 times a week...you get the picture, different motive I guess)

and I feel you should talk to her face to face.

ps... I started to watch the video but had to stop, as we are about to attend a funeral and I just know I'll start to cry right now...will watch soon...


Les Koltvedt
LK Piano
Servicing the S. Eastern Michigan Area
PTG Associate
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