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#1244749 - 08/06/09 01:03 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Quote
Welcome, and fret not. When you've been here longer (or if you happened to lurk before you registered), you'll know to recognize ... contributors in the Teachers Forum who aren't teachers.

Careful there, Steven. smile

Oh dang. smile

I didn't mean to imply that being a contributor who isn't a teacher is necessarily a bad thing, and certainly didn't mean to imply that I'm a teacher! It's well-settled that non-teachers have a place here, and I don't think it's problematic at all unless a poster also happens to satisfy the other condition as well ("(1) contributors who routinely offer 'extreme conclusions' and bizarre, off-topic responses to trumpet certain predictable soapbox issues").

Steven

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#1244750 - 08/06/09 01:04 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: sotto voce]  
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That's why there was a push to have all teachers include in their sigs that they were teachers. I was reluctant to do it at first but I understand why some people think it's necessary!


Pianist and teacher with a 5'8" Baldwin R and Clavi CLP-230 at home.

New website up: http://www.studioplumpiano.com. Also on Twitter @QQitsMina
#1244846 - 08/06/09 02:39 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Minaku]  
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#1244967 - 08/06/09 07:06 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: NocturneLover]  
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Audio and/or videorecord them, and have them see for themselves! And then ask them to change one thing about the way they play their piece!

Or have them learn an instrument where the repertoire is Romantic and 20th/21st century. Lots of rubato required in some of them.

Meri


Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com
#1244976 - 08/06/09 07:13 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: DragonPianoPlayer]  
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Originally Posted by DragonPianoPlayer
I'm not a teacher, but your problem reminds me of a passage from William Westney's The Perfect Wrong Note. He talks about an un-master class that he taught where the focus on a particular student with this type of a problem was to get the student to role play playing as someone else. The entire class provided suggestions and the student really improved in their performance.

Rich


A Soprano On Her Head (one of my favorite books on music) talks about this sort of thing too. The teacher tells the student to play as if they were someone who played with too much "emotion"...bad acting and over-dramatization. Probably the first thing that the author of that book would suggest, though, is telling her to actually play like a robot and NOT use any feeling...to hopefully discover that she does add a *little* bit of musicality to things...


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#1244979 - 08/06/09 07:14 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: musiclady]  
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Some students simply need some musical "rules" to follow.

Crescendo to the long note.
The quietest note in the phrase is the last one.
Arrive on the tonic 6/4. It's a musical magnet.
Short notes go to long. It moves the line forward.
Musical shape is determined more by harmonic tension than anything else.
Never play any repeated ideas exactly the same.

Start using these kinds of guidelines (there are plenty more!) and see if she improves. She may just be more analytical/cerebral and need that kind of structure.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
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#1245009 - 08/06/09 07:59 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Quote
Welcome, and fret not. When you've been here longer (or if you happened to lurk before you registered), you'll know to recognize ... contributors in the Teachers Forum who aren't teachers.

Careful there, Steven. smile

Oh dang. smile

I didn't mean to imply that being a contributor who isn't a teacher is necessarily a bad thing, and certainly didn't mean to imply that I'm a teacher! It's well-settled that non-teachers have a place here, and I don't think it's problematic at all unless a poster also happens to satisfy the other condition as well ("(1) contributors who routinely offer 'extreme conclusions' and bizarre, off-topic responses to trumpet certain predictable soapbox issues").

Steven


Just having some fun yanking your chain, Steven. That's all. [Linked Image]

#1245017 - 08/06/09 08:10 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Hehe, I know. But the way my post was worded, it could have been inferred that I'm a teacher. I thought I should err on the side of caution and clarify.

If it ever becomes an issue in sig lines, mine will have to say I am not a teacher, nor do I play one on the Internets. smile

Steven

#1245023 - 08/06/09 08:21 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Minniemay]  
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
Some students simply need some musical "rules" to follow.

Crescendo to the long note.
The quietest note in the phrase is the last one.
Arrive on the tonic 6/4. It's a musical magnet.
Short notes go to long. It moves the line forward.
Musical shape is determined more by harmonic tension than anything else.
Never play any repeated ideas exactly the same.

Start using these kinds of guidelines (there are plenty more!) and see if she improves. She may just be more analytical/cerebral and need that kind of structure.


Agreed. Ironically a huge percentage of expression has something to do with one rule or another. It's also important to note chromatic clashes against harmony. Suspension and release is vital to expression. At least 90% of the time it needs to be strong-weak to illustrate the interest returning to normality. If it's not just felt, it needs to be analysed first. Intervals are also important. Wider intervals require more time than small ones, to emulate vocal difficulty. It should often feel hard to reach the highest notes. Playing an interval with one finger (before returning to normal) is an excellent way to physically experience the sense of distance. The most chromatic intervals in a chord are also the most important to display- note things like major 7th and minor 9th especially. It's always a point of interest. Also, notes which change are generally interesting and those which stay the same are generally not. This is particularly true of such things as Alberti bass-lines and chordal passages. Often the inner parts are far more interesting than the top. Look what moves around.

In order to teach that which supposedly cannot be taught, these kind of principals are vital. Once they sink in, even students who had played like absolute robots can start to play with some degree of expression. I'd spend plenty of time actively analysing recordings by great pianists. You can't exactly analyse to the point of being able to play like Cortot, but you can gain a huge amount, if you aim to understand the principles behind that which might seem like mere 'feeling'.

Last edited by Nyiregyhazi; 08/06/09 08:25 PM.
#1245033 - 08/06/09 08:33 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
If it ever becomes an issue in sig lines, mine will have to say I am not a teacher, nor do I play one on the Internets. :)Steven


LOL love it smile


It is better to be kind than to be right.

Professional private piano teacher since 1994.
#1245148 - 08/07/09 12:05 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Ebony and Ivory]  
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Here's 2 songs, watch it and compare their expressions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pPEd8AZX5dQ&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CbesyPby7P8


Now I'm sure which one you think is more expressive.

I would suggest to show your student clips of music on what you find "expressive". Remember, it's not about technique.

One exercise I would do is to get your student to play only 1 note, using 1 hand. Play it repeatedly, trying to coax all the expression out of it. Meaning soft, loud, quiet... vary the feel.

I read in an interview with a jazz player, that many piano players have a "barrier" with the piano. They approach it like typing, rather than an instrument where you communicate.

It's like giving a massage or back rub to someone, you don't poke them with fingers, you gently rub and knead...


#1245149 - 08/07/09 12:14 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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hey sotto voce, if you aren't a teacher, why are you posting here??

#1245151 - 08/07/09 12:16 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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Are you a teacher?


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#1245155 - 08/07/09 12:23 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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Originally Posted by Jazzed23
hey sotto voce, if you aren't a teacher, why are you posting here??


At PW, everyone posts in whichever forums they're interested in. There have been specific discussions here in the Teachers Forum about non-teachers posting, and the consensus (tho not the unanimity) is that this forum is not different - any one with an interest in a thread's topic can post. Me, for instance smile , who am also not a teacher smokin smile

Just part of the culture here -

Cathy


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#1245158 - 08/07/09 12:33 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by Jazzed23
hey sotto voce, if you aren't a teacher, why are you posting here??

Because I felt like it. As I stated in one of my posts, "it's well-settled that non-teachers have a place here." As you're relatively new here, you might not have been aware of that.

Steven

#1245188 - 08/07/09 02:19 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: sotto voce]  
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Yes I am a teacher. What's the point of a teacher's forum if anyone can post? Defeats the purpose. If you write anything other than classical in the Pianist forum everyone gets all riled up and tells you to post in the "non-classical" forum.

Perhaps we need a "students" forum for you guys. Or just tell us your exact level of piano.

Horowitzian, what grade level are you and have you done any performing before?

#1245189 - 08/07/09 02:27 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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hey sotto voce, why didn't you be a man and answer my question in the PM, and instead report me to a mod saying I threatened you physically? Anyone who plays sports knows that is a euphemism not to be taken literally.
Or were you scared?

#1245190 - 08/07/09 02:32 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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Why the aggro, Jazzed23? No-one's attacked you have they? I don't think anyone on the pianists' corner gets "riled" at a non-classical topic - usually people just suggest that a post about a non-classical subject will get more responses on the non-classical forum. As it will.

The point of a teachers' forum where anybody can post is that we can all learn from each other. If you don't feel you have anything to learn as a piano teacher from your students, then this probably isn't your kind of forum.



Du holde Kunst...
#1245196 - 08/07/09 02:55 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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Originally Posted by Jazzed23
Or just tell us your exact level of piano.


The longer you stick around the more you will get to know us, and you'll have an idea of our "exact level of piano." Although I have to say that I don't think such a thing exists smile

You'll also get to know which of us have gigs, and what various kinds of gigs we have.

But, at least for me, neither of the above are the only relevant experiences people might have. There are lots of life lessons out there that are applicable to playing/learning/teaching piano that perhaps weren't learned from playing/learning/teaching piano. IMHO of course.

*I* think it's hard to characterize anyone's potential input just by one particular activity, like teaching piano, that they are involved in. After reading many posts here over the last couple of years it is clear that not all piano teachers are alike, they often teach from perspectives that are different from each other, and they don't always agree with each other about teaching piano. Not a very monolithic crowd in some ways.

I learn from lots of musicians with whom I play that are not piano or keyboard players. They learn from me, too. But none of us are, formally, piano teachers, or any other kind of music teacher. PHD physicists and geologists and biologists, pilots and scuba instructors, high school civics teachers, architects, postal workers, middle school science teachers - I learn from them all, and they from me.

I *have* taught math, as those who are regulars here know, and I must say, as currawong points out, that I always learned a lot from my students - sometimes about math, even, but certainly about learning styles and perspectives. It seems to me the same can happen here in the teachers forum.

YMMV of course,

Cathy


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#1245200 - 08/07/09 03:13 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: jotur]  
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Hey I am not at all opposed to learning, we as musicians all learn until the day we die. I learn from my students, my fellow musicians whom I rehearse and gig with, and the pros who put out the records.

Herbie Hancock said he had to practice about 4-5 hours a day for the past few months to get ready for his duo concerts with Lang Lang. It shows even the greats need to work at it.

I just thought a Teacher's forum was related to subjects that teachers may have, and the Pianist Corner's forum was for general topics for all.

#1245242 - 08/07/09 07:53 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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Do you think that teachers have nothing to learn about 'subjects that teachers have' from parents or students?

In any case, we've hashed this out many times before. No forum is an exclusive territory for any one specific type of poster.

Last edited by Piano*Dad; 08/07/09 07:54 AM. Reason: dang typos! :-)
#1245256 - 08/07/09 08:52 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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Jazzed, a number of places were found where non-teachers were found in particular to have a role, when this question was discussed (extensively) last year. One involves the "what do students think" question - instead of guessing what that might be, insights can sometimes comes from the students themselves. In another, there are repeat problem areas that teachers encounter involving parents or adult students, which actually come from one party not understanding another's world, and by bringing these to the surface some of these situations have improved. In fact a number of things happened last year due to such a dialogue. It was agreed that teachers should identify themselves in the sig-line (which incidentally you have not yet done) ;), there be proper respect, and if a side-issue occurs which is important to non-teachers, that this be discussed in a separate thread in order to not derail the topic.

Also discussed was the problem of what the cut-off line is in regards to who is a teacher for a teacher-only teacher forum. If someone teaches without remuneration? If someone takes students while still not knowing enough, for pocket money? If someone takes students because they took a few lessons 20 years ago and somebody is willing to pay them? Has teacher training? All of this was brought up - at times by teachers - last year.

Personally I would look at how valid what has been written is to the topic, more than who wrote it. I think that's what the consensus was last year. And of course respect: that includes how teachers address their colleagues.

#1245259 - 08/07/09 09:22 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Jazzed23]  
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Originally Posted by Jazzed23
hey sotto voce, why didn't you be a man and answer my question in the PM, and instead report me to a mod saying I threatened you physically? Anyone who plays sports knows that is a euphemism not to be taken literally.
Or were you scared?

I would only report a PM that I considered unequivocally harassing and inappropriate. I forwarded it intact; no words were abridged or altered, so whether the meaning was innocuous or malign was ultimately judged by the moderator himself.

I'm a man who doesn't play sports. While scary things and scary people do scare me as much as anybody else, I don't scare easily and I'm certainly not an easy mark for bullies.

Steven

#1245677 - 08/08/09 08:24 AM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: sotto voce]  
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Originally Posted by sotto voce
Originally Posted by Jazzed23
hey sotto voce, why didn't you be a man and answer my question in the PM, and instead report me to a mod saying I threatened you physically? Anyone who plays sports knows that is a euphemism not to be taken literally.
Or were you scared?

I would only report a PM that I considered unequivocally harassing and inappropriate. I forwarded it intact; no words were abridged or altered, so whether the meaning was innocuous or malign was ultimately judged by the moderator himself.

I'm a man who doesn't play sports. While scary things and scary people do scare me as much as anybody else, I don't scare easily and I'm certainly not an easy mark for bullies.

Steven


To carry Steven's thought a little further, there are some things you just don't do. You don't yell "fire" in a movie theater. You don't talk about bombs when you're on an airplane. At least you don't if you want to stay put of trouble.

Personal threats in PM's are taken very seriously - it's too hard to tell if someone is joking or serious.

Ken


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#1245814 - 08/08/09 04:15 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: Ken Knapp]  
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:insert tip-of-the-hat emoticon for Ken here:

Cathy


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#1246239 - 08/09/09 01:55 PM Re: How to "force" expression in a student?? [Re: jotur]  
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I heard a comment from Starker that may have some relevance.

(For those of you who don't know, he is one of a number of cello soloists who has recorded the Bach Suites several times, and I particularly like his interpretation. Almost as much as I dislike YoYo Ma's! but I digress)

In response to a criticism that his playing was unemotional, he replied angrily and forcefully, in that thick accent of his, "I am emotional. But I am NOT sentimental!"

Sometimes the line can be hard to draw, and a young person does not have the life experience to put into a performance. They often fake it well. Given the tools, the dry technical performer will probably change as she ages.


gotta go practice
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