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#1270931 - 09/19/09 08:40 AM Contacting Former Teachers from long ago?  
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 732
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member
Nannerl Mozart  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 732
Australia, Melbourne
I'm going to graduate soon and I am planning to be a music perfomance major when I finish school. There were so many teachers that made this path possible to me, and now when I look back I can see that some have truly influenced me and have had quite an impact in my development as a musicain.

Is it worth contacting them ... or is that unsual for a student to do so. Honestly, some date back to the time when I was eight years old, others I didn't get a long well with at the time... one had to endure their moments with me, I wonder if its all worth telling them thanks.. or should I forget about it?

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#1270983 - 09/19/09 10:56 AM Re: Contacting Former Teachers from long ago? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]  
Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 820
Lollipop Offline
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Lollipop  Offline
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Joined: Jul 2009
Posts: 820
Rebekah - I think a short note in the mail would be marvelous. Calling might be uncomfortable or inconvenient (but then, I don't like the telephone). I had one student contact me a year or so ago, and ask if she could drop by and play for me. It was a nice thought, but I felt it was awkward. I enjoyed talking with her, and hearing about her plans, but as a non-teaching audience of one, I wasn't sure what to say. Clearly I was supposed to compliment, which I did, but I felt like she thought it was inadequate somehow. (Then she wanted to know what I was currently "working on," which somehow also felt awkward.)

My son had a senior recital (performing on two instruments) when he graduated from high school. He sent invitations to all his private and school music teachers. In the middle of the recital he stopped and asked anyone who had contributed to his musical education to stand and be recognized. He also had their names printed inside his program. The teachers seemed really appreciative. Many but not all attended. And of those who didn't, some responded and some didn't. From that I conclude that some were happier to be thought of than others!

piano teacher
#1270990 - 09/19/09 11:11 AM Re: Contacting Former Teachers from long ago? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]  
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 155
Mrs.A Offline
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Mrs.A  Offline
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Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 155
Absolutely. Your previous teachers would be thrilled.

Piano Teacher.
Church Music Director.
Kindermusik Instructor.
Mom to four boys.

#1271012 - 09/19/09 11:49 AM Re: Contacting Former Teachers from long ago? [Re: Lollipop]  
Joined: Mar 2009
Posts: 374
Basia C. Offline
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Basia C.  Offline
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Posts: 374
I have been wondering about this too. (I'm a student.) There was one teacher I really felt connected to and we had a great time in lessons, so I do send her a card for Christmas and let her know how much I still enjoy playing and if there is something special going on in my music life. But I have no idea if she appreciates it or not.

Another teacher I actually met and we had nice a cup of coffee in the city and chatted and laughed about old times.

Sometimes I think that for the student a teacher can be very special, since it's rare that you get so much one on one time with people today week after week. And with time the student starts to apprechiate how much the lessons has influenced their musical life. For the teacher it's maybe not the same. They might have many students in their studio, it's their job to teach, and they are older so they have seen many students come and go. But I do hope it's fun to hear from us!

Lollipop, I think it would be enough to just say something about how happy you are that the student is still enjoying piano and playing and learning more. Maybe show some interest in what they are currently up to pianowise. If they ask what you are currently working on they are probably just trying to be friendly and show that they are interested in your activities too. You can always chat a little about what has changed in the studio since they left, or if you recently met some other previous student that they know from lessons you could mention that. You can talk about music the student wants to learn some day, concerts they (or you) have been to, or about performance mishaps (which can be fun!).

(And don't forget to ask about things that can be useful to your current teaching. Like their impresson of somthing done in the lessons, what they think about the method book used today, or interesting things they learned since leaving you.)

Nothing is accomplished without enthusiasm. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

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#1271122 - 09/19/09 03:55 PM Re: Contacting Former Teachers from long ago? [Re: Basia C.]  
Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Betty Patnude Offline
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Betty Patnude  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2007
Posts: 4,896
Puyallup, Washington
I think that's a great idea, Rebekah!

I have recently met on facebook several students from the past who are now adults with families and careers who have contacted me or I have contacted them. It feels very much like having a "reunion" of spirits and minds.

One is an 18 year old and it's great to see her happiness in having graduated high school, summer fun, and now the big adventure, going off to college. Her plans for her future are exciting and I've learned about her internship at a museum which is helping her career plans.

One 13 year old who had 6 years of lessons with me has become my friend there and all of her current passions in arts: ballet, composing, and singing are displayed in her posts. How great to be able to see her on a daily basis and she chose me as her friend.

I regret not being in more contact with one of my teachers, Don Janse, who passed away in 1999. I first met him in 1957 and appreciated his long career in music, composing and conducting choral groups who performed and recorded. My husband and I visited him in 1965 with 3 of my children when we visited the area I grew up in. Then I lost touch my fault as we moved several times state to state with my husband's career and Don Janse moved also at one point. This is prior to cyberspace - the main communications were in person, by mail, or by phone.

Today it is so easy to keep in contact. We can send recording, photos, videos in a flash. I think you should try this too and assume that you are a "welcome" voice to them. And, when I get graduation announcements or wedding inviations or birth announcements, I feel like a member of the students family. I think I actually am or hy would they bother contacting me!

I've always joked that someday I would sit in my rocking chair looking at all my music teaching memoirs, scrapbooks, recital programs, letters and such. Well that time is getting closer for me.

The best thing that has ever happened to me is when students and families from the past and I meet again. It's a thing to treasure!

Don't hesitate, Rebekkah!

Betty Patnude

#1272394 - 09/21/09 11:13 PM Re: Contacting Former Teachers from long ago? [Re: Betty Patnude]  
Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 79
Arcturus Offline
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Arcturus  Offline
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Joined: Sep 2009
Posts: 79
Kansas City, MO, USA
In my experience this is a great thing to do. I still visit my old teacher 3 or 4 times a year. I was her student from age 8 until I graduated from high school. Unfortunately she had to stop teaching full time only a year after I graduated. Now she just gives lessons to maybe 2 or 3 adult students who work in the nursing home where she lives with her husband. I know she really appreciates my visits and I enjoy them too.

#1272491 - 09/22/09 05:38 AM Re: Contacting Former Teachers from long ago? [Re: Arcturus]  
Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 732
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member
Nannerl Mozart  Offline
500 Post Club Member

Joined: Jul 2008
Posts: 732
Australia, Melbourne
Thanks for the replies, all your experiences sound so good. Lollipop, I understand wat you mean by awkardness, that was the one thing that I was in fear of.

One teacher I didnt get a long with, I saw her when I was 8 years old... its been so long and I wonder how she would react snce I was a little rascal child. (I never practiced, well I did sometimes) besides that, I have the email of one teacher so I might contact her by email and another teacher I have the phone number to.

One teacher I had, I really didnt get along with, I did get along with him for most of the course of my studies with him but towards the end I felt fustrated, I politely expressed that I was no longer enthused and that lessons lacked the depth that I desired, there was no longer any substance and I wanted to learn a lot that he neglected. I expressed this to him several times and he was really just stubborn to change, additionally he knew nothing about the school system and was quite secluded to his collegues. I decided to go after a few counter productive lessons but our ending wasn't all that great ... still he had goals of sending me off to a music conservatorium to major in performing so I feel like he should know.

I might send a letter to my very first teacher since its been years and I doubt shed remember me,.. I might put a picture of myself in there or something.

Anyways ... objections, ideas, thoughts, musings ... let me know smile

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