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#1242999 - 08/03/09 11:42 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]  
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"But that's nevermind that, the point is that in America at least we've always separated the performers/athletes from the teachers/mentors"

Hardly true. In academia, performance is almost always mandated in order to keep your teaching position. It's not so much "publish or perish" in music; it's "perform or perish," at least in the university setting.


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#1243004 - 08/03/09 11:51 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Minniemay]  
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in America also, sadly, we put a money prize on everything.
While I think I understand the gist of your question, I am still not clear why you had to post a money 'prize" for the hypothetical performance, since the point you want to make is that qualified teachers may not be able to perform at a very high level. Do you think that a money pot acts as a carrot?
A qualified piano teacher is a professional 'entity" per se, as is a concert artist. The two can and often overlap- or not. What is so strange about that? what does your 50K add to the equation?

#1243008 - 08/03/09 11:56 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]  
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What's odd is that I've met very few people who fit your description. Most people with concert performance experience (outside of their degree recitals) have more than a 4-yr music degree. And most people who've developed the skill to play Rach 3 have not sustained a full teaching load for 6-7 years.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1243009 - 08/03/09 11:57 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: NocturneLover]  
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sotto voce Offline
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Originally Posted by Thomas Lau
The reason I even asked this question and posed the hypothetical situation was because in America, let's face it, we've always separated the teachers/coaches/mentors from the performers/athletes....

But I've wondered if the piano teacher with the right qualifications ... could actually tackle ... Rach 3.... Now, I belief only half of the teachers with these qualifications could do this....

My guess is that with much more time it would probably be 3/4 of the teachers.

But that's nevermind that, the point is that in America at least we've always separated the performers/athletes from the teachers/mentors.

This discussion seems pointless to me; you appear to have reached your conclusion before asking your question with the hypothetical situation.

Obviously, the response to "How many teachers could play Rach 3?" is neither 1/2 nor 3/4 nor any other precise number; it's impossible to determine, so why guess or speculate? The only possible answer is some could, some couldn't. I think that unless one is asking a deliberately loaded question with an agenda in mind, that answer should suffice.

Steven

#1243061 - 08/04/09 02:03 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Phlebas]  
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It's probably good money was brought into the question. I would need $50,000 so that I could focus on practicing the piece without worrying about making a living. The question contains a false implication, that teachers should measure up to the false standard of being able to play Rach's Third.

But other factors would go into the mix. For myself, I have a heck of a time memorizing at a decent rate. I can only handle practicing two hours a day. For some teachers, arthritis might have set in, or some other cognitive impairment. It doesn't mean they wouldn't be fine teachers fully capable of leading a student to perform Rach's Third excellently.

#1243063 - 08/04/09 02:14 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: sotto voce]  
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What a loaded question

"My question is: Wouldn't most or every piano teacher be at the level of concert pianists if they really know their stuff? I mean piano teachers should have a strong grounding in music theory, technique, and strong sight reading skills, so why not?"

And then all the piano teaching chappies chime in with financial reward comparisons ... between the teacher and the concert pianist ... but all the time giving the impression that it was merely a personal choice at a fork in the road (where best to boost the bank balance) ... when the truth of the matter is that the teachers who populate the Teachers Forum (if they ever dreamed of concert performance fame) just couldn’t make the distance ... and fell into the old age category of ... "those who can’t ... TEACH".

But far from suggesting that piano teachers are wash-outs ... far from it ... teachers are the salt of the piano world ... the backroom boys and girls whose musical insight gives them the skill to maintain a bouncy enthusiasm in boosting the best interests of a wide range of hopefuls.

Concert pianists are a very rare breed who, for whatever genetic advantage (sight-reading/ memory skills ... , ambition, supportive environment ... etc) ... need the constant stage adrenalin-boost to face a new audience ... few, it should be said (it all came too naturally) make good piano teachers ... those however that are ... take home the big bucks.


#1243071 - 08/04/09 02:37 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: btb]  
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Originally Posted by btb

And then all the piano teaching chappies chime in with financial reward comparisons ... between the teacher and the concert pianist ... but all the time giving the impression that it was merely a personal choice at a fork in the road (where best to boost the bank balance) ... when the truth of the matter is that the teachers who populate the Teachers Forum (if they ever dreamed of concert performance fame) just couldn’t make the distance ... and fell into the old age category of ... "those who can’t ... TEACH".

There is another fork in the road. Some players—and I was one of them—are considered to "have what it takes" but just don't like the the emphasis on performing. In other words, there are people in every profession who are successful but who suddenly, for reasons of their own, walk away from it.

I discovered quite by accident that I prefer teaching to playing.

To stress this point, I don't think anyone thought that Chopin did not have what it took to have a career, but he actually preferred teaching, from what I've read.

I think a more important point is that it is nearly impossible to put equal emphasis on teaching and performing. A few manage that delicate balance, but it is really hard.


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#1243076 - 08/04/09 02:51 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted by Nikalette
I have gone through a few piano teachers. One was a concert pianist, and I learned from him in 2 months to play 2 pieces I had struggled with for months to over a year. He gave me no scales, used no method books...he gave me some arpeggio exercises to facilitate a trick part of a Chopin waltz, and a set of finger strenthening exercises. Otherwise, it was working on fingerings, correct note errors, and just getting the pieces right.


Are we to assume that, a few months ago, you as a complete beginner started on a Chopin waltz and mastered it? What an amazing teacher!

Or, had you taken lessons a number of years, either as a child, then continued as an adult after an hiatus, or for several years as an adult beginner?

I guess I really don't understand your point. Are you expecting your neighborhood piano teacher to be a concert level performer who just happened to give up a stage career, turning their back on fame and fortune, so they could teaching beginning piano to elementary school children?

Being able to play competently at church, in ensembles, accompany, etc., is quite an accomplishment in itself, and shows substantial mastery of the instrument.


Gosh, you made some weird assumptions, that had nothing to do with what I posted. I never took piano lessons as a child. I took lessons many years ago for about 6 months with one teacher. Then I just played around with blues/pop piano.

About 2 years ago, I decided to learn classical piano. I signed up at the junior college, and I taught myself a Chopin Waltz and a Prelude from a book. I played it in my second semester with many errors. I played it my 3rds semester, badly also. I took a few lessons from a couple of teachers.

Hence, as I said before, I had struggled with the pieces for a long time, over a year for the Waltz, and about 3 months for the prelude. I took lessons with the concert pianist, and he was able to help me play the pieces well...he is not only a gifted pianist, but a gifted teacher...a rarity.

With his help, I was able to get both pieces completed in a couple of months.

That's what a good teacher can do for you. I also respected him so much, I practiced more than I had before, and I practiced "better."

And the other teachers I had may have been able to perform with some competence. No one would go to hear them in concert and they didn't know how to teach well.

Why the sarcasm? I hope I didn't hit a nerve.

#1243084 - 08/04/09 03:37 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Nikalette]  
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Nikalette, I think the objection was that your post suggested the concert pianist was able to teach those pieces well because he was a concet pianinst. The other teachers (who you didn't care for) were not concert pianists and so were not good teachers. I bet that's not quite what you meant but it seemed to come out like that.

If the concert pianist taught you well then he was a good teacher. If the other teachers were not good it may or may not have had anything to do with their performing ability.

btb's 'fork in the road' is interesting and I suppose a very common assumption. Actually those people who love to perform will do so, regardless of their skills and talent. They may well give recitals and call themselves concert pianists although I doubt they get paid much for it. Teaching is a very different skill and is equally valid as a profession. It's not a case of 'those who can't do... teach'. Most of us here include some kind of performing and playing in our work but have no desire to take to the stage as a concert artist. As others have pointed out the professional concert artist has little time to devote to teaching although they often need to do a bit to support their performing income. A few people can manage both quite successfully but it's rare.


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#1243140 - 08/04/09 08:59 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pianists [Re: Chris H.]  
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There are many that do both. All the teachers that I know also do some kind of performing. Not "concert pianist" performances, but performances non-the-less.

What happens to the retired athletes? Many go on to coach. Playing and coaching are not exclusive either.


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#1243165 - 08/04/09 09:43 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
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btb does make a good point, though as others have noted the road can fork in other ways as well.

There are many teachers who once had performance aspirations, I'm sure, but who came up against their limits. Those limits may have been physical or psychological or a bit of both. In some sense, most of us share a lot with Salieri of Amadeus fame. Fortunately, most of us handle the realization that we will not achieve the pinnacle of our professions a bit better than Peter Schaffer's caricature of Salieri. We discover instead the pleasures and rewards of other aspects of our professions. And many of us discover that we can do those things (like teach) quite well, better in fact than many of those who do make the grade in the more visible side of the profession (like the concert stage in this example). This is the error of the snotty expression"those who can't, teach". People often find their way into what they do best by circuitous paths full of serendipity.

Having said this, there are people who can do both extraordinarily well, and who love to do a bit of both. These extraordinary individuals are the Mozarts of any field and we can only look at them with a bit of humbled awe and respect.

There are also plenty of excellent teachers who can legitimately claim the title of 'concert pianist' even though they are not household names with a DG contract. As Kriesler noted, these tend to be people with more than a four year music degree, i.e. they're not often your neighborhood teacher who deals extensively with elementary students. This is the sort of teacher I sought for my son. I wanted him to work with a professional performer who also happened to have a reputation as a fabulous pedagogue. After two years of studying with her I'm convinced of the rightness of this choice for him, though I perfectly well recognize that there is not just one path to successful musical education.

To get back to the issue, the 'market' is indeed segmented. People ultimately sort themselves or get sorted. Their awareness of their own limits, preferences, and talents push them in certain directions, and once firmly ensconced in their career they cannot easily switch paths. Thus, as Steven notes, the OP's question is unanswerable except in very general terms. Of course, there must be some 'ordinary' teachers who with a bit of work could give a decent rendition of Rach 3. But trying to put a percentage on this is a useless exercise (unless you're just trying to stir up trouble!).

I actually think that there are very few non-performing teachers with the criteria the OP specified who could prepare a full recital of professional level works and play the program to a discerning audience at a major performance venue. More could prepare a decent repertoire for a local audience. As many have noted, a lot of teachers actually do this.

Last edited by Piano*Dad; 08/04/09 09:50 AM. Reason: dang typos! :-)
#1243173 - 08/04/09 10:21 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Also, Thomas Lau refers to Rach 3 as "ultimate touchstone of a professional level pianist." I'm not sure that there would be much concensus there among teachers or pianists. It's difficult, but not the hardest piece ever written, some pianists might have little or no interest in learning it, and what some might consider "the ultimate touchstone" may not be learning and performing a specific piece of music, but instead, something along the lines of acquiring the skills Kreisler described in his post about church musicians.

#1243222 - 08/04/09 11:48 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Phlebas]  
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Originally Posted by Phlebas
Also, Thomas Lau refers to Rach 3 as "ultimate touchstone of a professional level pianist." I'm not sure that there would be much concensus there among teachers or pianists. It's difficult, but not the hardest piece ever written, some pianists might have little or no interest in learning it, and what some might consider "the ultimate touchstone" may not be learning and performing a specific piece of music, but instead, something along the lines of acquiring the skills Kreisler described in his post about church musicians.

I completely agree, and that statement caught my eye initially as well. There was so much else to address that refuting it got lost in the shuffle, but I'm glad you did.

Steven

#1243768 - 08/05/09 03:34 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: sotto voce]  
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The self-promotion ploy of alluding to some distant Everest ( Rach 3) wears a bit thin when we all know that the piano teachers have got so cosy in their teaching role (out of practice) and now battle to climb the foothills ... how many of our brave teachers can play prima vista any of the following hillocks?

Marche Funebre ... Chopin’s Sonata Opus 35
Traumerei ... Schumann Opus 15/7
Rachmaninoff ... Prelude Opus 3/2
Beethoven ... Moonlight Sonata Opus 27/2 (first movement)
Schubert ... Hark, Hark, the Lark
Mozart ... Fantasia in D minor KV 397
Debussy ... La fille aux cheveux de lin
Bach ... Prelude I (Book I)

This is not a bash chaps ... merely mentioning the reality that piano teachers
GAIN MOST RESPECT from pupils when they can demonstrate with playing aplomb the piece of music which is the subject of the pupil’s lesson (and therefore need to keep in trim).

PS I’m presently working on the 3-pages of the Chopin Marche Funebre ... and am endlessly gob-smacked at the massive sonorous 3 and 4-note chords ... what a legacy!!


#1243771 - 08/05/09 03:49 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: btb]  
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Originally Posted by btb
The self-promotion ploy of alluding to some distant Everest ( Rach 3) wears a bit thin when we all know that the piano teachers have got so cosy in their teaching role (out of practice) and now battle to climb the foothills ... how many of our brave teachers can play prima vista any of the following hillocks?

Marche Funebre ... Chopin’s Sonata Opus 35
Traumerei ... Schumann Opus 15/7
Rachmaninoff ... Prelude Opus 3/2
Beethoven ... Moonlight Sonata Opus 27/2 (first movement)
Schubert ... Hark, Hark, the Lark
Mozart ... Fantasia in D minor KV 397
Debussy ... La fille aux cheveux de lin
Bach ... Prelude I (Book I)

I can and do play all of the above for students, but not from memory. As for "prima vista", I'm not sure what you mean. That means to me "sightreading", and it is highly unlikely any experienced teacher has not seen these pieces many times. smile


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#1243783 - 08/05/09 05:27 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Phlebas]  
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Originally Posted by Phlebas
Also, Thomas Lau refers to Rach 3 as "ultimate touchstone of a professional level pianist." I'm not sure that there would be much concensus there among teachers or pianists. It's difficult, but not the hardest piece ever written, some pianists might have little or no interest in learning it, and what some might consider "the ultimate touchstone" may not be learning and performing a specific piece of music, but instead, something along the lines of acquiring the skills Kreisler described in his post about church musicians.


Maybe it is not the hardest, but it is one of the most demanded out of a professional pianist. You can be sure many concert pianists have Rach 3 on their schedules.


"...music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy." -Ludwig van Beethoven
#1243862 - 08/05/09 09:54 AM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: NocturneLover]  
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Only because managers, audiences, and other orchestras expect and/or demand it. I'm sure there are plenty of pianists who are ready to put away Rach 2 and 3, Prokofiev 3, Beethoven 4, and play other works. Sturm und drang impresses the masses. I know it impressed me when I was much younger and dreaming of playing Rach 3.


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#1244149 - 08/05/09 04:41 PM Re: Are all Teachers Potential/Former Concert Pian [Re: Gary D.]  
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Ditto

FYI, this would make a nice program for a high school student's senior recital.


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