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#1274360 - 09/24/09 05:29 PM What about happiness?  
Joined: Jun 2007
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Betty Patnude Offline
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Betty Patnude  Offline
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Puyallup, Washington
Please answer any question that interests you:

1) Does anyone as a teacher try to make their studio and their lessons a happy event for the student?

2) Does anyon think we need to make the student and parent feel welcome?

3) Is having fun with the student during lessons important?

4) Do we try to find the humor in the music?

5) Do we try to make sure we start on and end on a happy note during a lesson?

6) How concerned about happiness are we?

7) Is our work only about the students musical development?

8) What about his emotional state and well being over all. Is that relevant to his learning?

9) Is our work only about the music and being correct in our teaching and have the student produce and live up to our expectations?

10) How happy are we in our piano teaching on any particular day?

Betty

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#1274371 - 09/24/09 05:39 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: Betty Patnude]  
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AZNpiano Offline
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Orange County, CA
7) Is our work only about the students' musical development?

No. I talk about school and homework. For the older students, I talk about college and SAT and AP classes. Some students even ask me for help on their Geometry homework! I try to guide them the right direction and NOT repeat the mistakes that I made in my life. For the non-music majors, I try to make piano something they can put on their resumes, including community service, etc.

Being a teacher is much more than transferring knowledge and teaching skills.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1274376 - 09/24/09 05:43 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: AZNpiano]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Betty, are you implying in some way that learning and playing piano isn't fun? Intrinsically?

Personally, I'm always thrilled to see each and every student. It's probably contagious.


"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
#1274402 - 09/24/09 06:29 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Nov 2002
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Kreisler Offline
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Iowa City, IA
Fun is an atmosphere and an attitude, but it's not the goal.


"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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#1274438 - 09/24/09 07:29 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: Betty Patnude]  
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currawong Offline
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currawong  Offline
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Down Under
Originally Posted by Betty Patnude
3) Is having fun with the student during lessons important?
Depends how you define "fun". One person's fun may be another's annoying levity ("can't you be serious for once?"). Some other person's taxing hard work may be another's fun ("I just love working on this passage in 3rds - it's such fun when it comes together!").


Du holde Kunst...
#1274493 - 09/24/09 08:58 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: currawong]  
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ToriAnais Offline
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ToriAnais  Offline
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Australia
I think having fun is REALLY important. My piano teacher was really entertaining and i'm sure it's what kept me in piano lessons. Making lessons a chore is detrimental to everyone. However, it's something I often forget and have to remind myself. To chatter more, and play games more, and not be too intense.

What are your answers to your qu's betty? And has this changed between when you first started and now?


Piano teacher since August 2008.
#1274521 - 09/24/09 09:40 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: ToriAnais]  
Joined: May 2007
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currawong Offline
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currawong  Offline
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Down Under
Originally Posted by mitts_off
My piano teacher was really entertaining and i'm sure it's what kept me in piano lessons. Making lessons a chore is detrimental to everyone.
I certainly remember the entertaining teachers from my high school days! One in particular had very quirky ways of making things stick. I think being engaging and interesting in a way which is natural for you is simply good teaching.


Du holde Kunst...
#1274550 - 09/24/09 10:17 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: currawong]  
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Nannerl Mozart Offline
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Nannerl Mozart  Offline
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All answerd from a students perspective ...
2) Does anyon think we need to make the student and parent feel welcome?

- Welcome, well I think so, why don't I ask the question the other way around - Does anyone think that we need to make the student and parent feel UNwelcome? Course not, you are the teacher, the one providing a service to your student - Parents are paying for the lessons and students are recieving the lessons, if you don't 'welcome'them or make them feel 'welcome' then what kind of vibes are you going to give?

4) Do we try to find the humor in the music?

If every note was a joke, seriously it's not funny it's annoying. Believe it or not as we get older we laugh less, researches have found that the more we laugh the easier it is to retain information. You remember really good jokes right? Well I know I do ... finding humour in music isnt always needed but humour in general and not taking yourself too seriuosly is the way to go. Take your work seriously of couse, as the old folks say.

5) Do we try to make sure we start on and end on a happy note during a lesson?
My teacher does, I dont know if he does it consciencely but even if he is really tired (I can see it in his eyes and the mistakes he makes - occassional misreadings on the score) he still hides it and forgets about it, he says the lesson is all about the student. It is 1 or 2 hours devoted to just the student. With saying that, even if there is minimal practice he still finds something to praise and encourage so that I will be motivated to practice, it works ... really it does.

6) How concerned about happiness are we?
I walked into the lesson quite agitated once, a lot happend in just a week, a death of a student in the school, pressures of a certain teacher (wont go into depth but just a really rough week). I just had it, so tired, so emotionally unstable... he saw it and kept asking what was wrong. I denied everything and said that I'm fine. After the lesson he pulled me up and asked if I wanted to talk about it. It meant something to me that he cared about my well being. So on a level of concern (on a scale of 1 - 10, 1 being the lowest)I'd give him a ten.

7) Is our work only about the students musical development?
No, as AZN piano said, school work and other subjects are discussed. I think that there is a hostility in all subjects in school. Understanding language as enabled me to see be beauty of language and its link to music as a lot of poetry and literature inspired composers. Understanding mathematics is just amazing, the structure in music and maths are so clear - it's like seeing a forth dimension.

8) What about his emotional state and well being over all. Is that relevant to his learning?
Highly important. I broke down once and my teacher didn't tell me to practice, he just told me to take it easy and surround myself with people who love me. Sometimes people break down ... they need to recuperate.


#1274565 - 09/24/09 10:36 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: Nannerl Mozart]  
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michiganteacher Offline
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8) What about his emotional state and well being over all. Is that relevant to his learning?

I think the emotional state is very much connected to learning...especially when it comes to music! I try very hard to make sure that I am sensitive to what is going on in my student's lives. If something is really on their mind, I think we can accomplish much more by first taking the time to talk about what's going on, and then working on the lesson. I think this puts the students in a state much more conducive to learning music.

Very thought provoking questions, Betty!


Jessica S.
#1274632 - 09/25/09 01:38 AM Re: What about happiness? [Re: Kreisler]  
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keyboardklutz Offline
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keyboardklutz  Offline
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Originally Posted by Kreisler
Fun is an atmosphere and an attitude, but it's not the goal.
Quite right, it is a side effect. Also to a greater extent it's organic - it isn't there in a person with a poor life style.


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
http://keyboardclass.blogspot.com/

#1274733 - 09/25/09 08:07 AM Re: What about happiness? [Re: currawong]  
Joined: Nov 2002
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Kreisler Offline
Kreisler  Offline


Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 13,837
Iowa City, IA
I remember the entertaining teachers from my high school days, but they weren't necessarily the ones I learned the most from.

Originally Posted by currawong
Originally Posted by mitts_off
My piano teacher was really entertaining and i'm sure it's what kept me in piano lessons. Making lessons a chore is detrimental to everyone.
I certainly remember the entertaining teachers from my high school days! One in particular had very quirky ways of making things stick. I think being engaging and interesting in a way which is natural for you is simply good teaching.


"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)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed
#1274761 - 09/25/09 09:02 AM Re: What about happiness? [Re: Kreisler]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted by Kreisler
I remember the entertaining teachers from my high school days, but they weren't necessarily the ones I learned the most from.



Same here. The ones I learned the most from were the ones who were knowledgeable and passionate about music. That was infectious.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1274843 - 09/25/09 11:36 AM Re: What about happiness? [Re: Morodiene]  
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EDWARDIAN Offline
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I think it is essential to make people feel welcome, to establish a friendly atmosphere, and to consider the student's overall state. The person comes first, then the subject. Ignoring the teacher/student relationship will impede the learning process.

I always ask how the week went for the student, how things are in school, some question to let them know I care about them, not just how their music is coming along. I had a student this week whose Mom let me know before the lesson she was very upset about not getting a part in the school play - to the point of tears upset. So I let my student know that I knew exactly how she felt - had been in the same boat myself in a regional theatre situation just this past week! By the time the lesson was over, she was laughing instead of being on the verge of tears. I felt we accomplished a lot on her piano development, and cemented our teacher/student bond. I also felt good about making her feel a bit better.

Ignoring the elephant in the room will only put a roadblock in the way of teaching. Addressing it with sensitivity towards the person's feelings is very important, I think.

Joan


Joan Edward

Private piano teacher, 20+ years
EDWARDIAN45@hotmail.com
#1276621 - 09/28/09 02:15 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
Joined: Jun 2007
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Betty Patnude Offline
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Betty Patnude  Offline
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Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Betty, are you implying in some way that learning and playing piano isn't fun? Intrinsically?

Personally, I'm always thrilled to see each and every student. It's probably contagious.


John,

I would never imply that! I think the greatest satisfaction (fun!) comes from things that happen intrinsically that reward the student big time! Intrinsic is much more personal than extrinsic.

The question was meant to be more like what do you do to create "happy" in your studio.

I join you in the thrill of seeing them arrive, working with them, and then the departure which is usually very cordial and the expectations of the next time we see each other. My students really make my day come alive!

Betty

#1276632 - 09/28/09 02:34 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: Betty Patnude]  
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Betty Patnude Offline
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Betty Patnude  Offline
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Puyallup, Washington
I appreciated everyone's response!

I found after rereading my original questions that it was about welcoming, happiness, fun, empathy, and every one being in their comfort zone.

I believe in noticing where the student is each time he comes in the door. There are lots of clues about that if one takes the time to look for them.

I sometimes adjust my being to accomodate his if something looks to be outside the norm. Awareness of where the student is helps us address and conduct the lesson appropriately.

If he displays stress I tune to that and try not to add to it during lesson. In fact, I may reduce the pace and aim for a very comfortable lesson of things well known and easier for the student that day. I may ask him what he would like to play - his choices - in his lesson time today. If you use "AAA" (Anyone, Anytime, Anywhere)lists, he will have things presentable and finished from there that just might be the perfect way to spend the hour or half hour to restore his well being.

If he is higher in spirits than usual, I'll comment on it and ask what's happening that makes you so happy today? Negative emotions can be a hindrance to trying to focus on a lesson, while positive emotions may just be the vehicle that carries us with it to better than usual results.

I'm all for happy!

Betty

#1276714 - 09/28/09 04:57 PM Re: What about happiness? [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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BSP Offline
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Hudson Valley, NY
I definitely make the students and the parents feel welcome. I try my best to make the experience fun for everyone. I generally ask the student what's going on in school, how their weekend was, etc. I have to remember to stay away from asking a question that can be answered with "good", because that's all they say. LOL How's school? "good?", How's practicing? "good".. you get the picture. smile

I always try to find the humor, and I do manage to end each lesson on a good note. I think it's important to create a positive environment for the student..

The student's well being is very important to their learning. I had a student today (our kids are off from school for Yom Kippur), and her attitude was entirely different than it was last week. Last week, she was tired and resistant. I expected the same today, but she was a doll. Mom noticed it, too.

On any given day, and this may be because I'm still fairly new, I review the lessons and wonder if I could have done better.. am I going too slow with a student? too fast with another? Do I talk too much? Expect too much? too little?? Is the repertoire right? Is it time to supplement?? I love teaching and do feel that I'm getting better at communicating with my students, but I still worry about whether I'm doing it "right"..

BevP


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