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#1277011 - 09/29/09 12:56 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: currawong]  
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Betty Patnude Offline
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Currawong,

I understood it's his "screen" adopted name, but it's still a disadvantage if no one can say it correctly. Yes, I understand he borrowed it from a Hungarion piano prodigy. Again there was no pronunciation key in the link, so I'm still uncertain of how to say the name correctly.

Now I'm wondering what the poster feels he has in common with Nyiregyhazi. The wikipedia information shows a very troubled life.

A comment was that he for 40 years he did not own a piano. Again, a very sad situation for someone with such strong natural abilities at age 3.

Thanks for the link, Currawong!


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#1277017 - 09/29/09 01:28 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Betty Patnude]  
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currawong Offline
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Originally Posted by Betty Patnude
I understood it's his "screen" adopted name, but it's still a disadvantage if no one can say it correctly. Yes, I understand he borrowed it from a Hungarion piano prodigy. Again there was no pronunciation key in the link, so I'm still uncertain of how to say the name correctly.

Now I'm wondering what the poster feels he has in common with Nyiregyhazi. The wikipedia information shows a very troubled life.

Yes, it's interesting reading. But I wouldn't feel I had to analyse so much. Apart from those who use their real name (like you!) many of us have screen names which may have no special significance. Mine for example has no deep psychological layers. It's simply the name of an Australian bird which sings. And as we're only writing here, not speaking, I don't find the pronunciation issue a problem. By the way, a time-saving way of writing a difficult name is simply to copy and paste. smile


Du holde Kunst...
#1277019 - 09/29/09 01:33 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Morodiene]  
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

4) Do reflect on your own teachers, what you liked about how they taught and what you didn't like, to help you form your own style of teaching.


Superior list! I'd like to respond to this one.

Just because a student can regurgitate a fact or a definition does NOT mean he/she understands the concept. Memory does not equal comprehension. When I first started teaching, I was satisfied with a regurgitated answer. Now I force the student to "say it in your own words" or "explain it to me in a different way." When students can demonstrate comprehension, they can begin to apply what they learned in new and different situations.


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#1277024 - 09/29/09 01:57 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Nikolas Offline
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Mistakes I made when started out (I teach very few students and I mix composition and piano, so... :-/ I didn't add it in my signature. If I have to I will do so, though).

* More time. I'm TERRIBLE at time structure! Terrible. Even at uni, when teaching I take my time and often spend more time that I have to. Of course this is ALWAYS happening when I don't have another student after that waiting, or another course in the uni. But it still remains a mistake, cause I spoil my students!
* Money. I did it once and never did it again. Back in London, I got into a home of a rather poor woman (apparently anyways) and we agreed on an amount I wasn't happy with, but I kinda felt pity for the woman... We didn't have many lessons, she was an adult learner, loved music, but couldn't really cope, but still I didn't like going there and spending an hour (plus something to come and go) for such a low amount of money. Made me feel quite bad!

EDIT: I always use the name "Nikolas". Nikolas is not really written like this in the English language, but it is in the Greek language, so it is actually (almost) my passport name! And google loves my name as far as I know! :P

Last edited by Nikolas; 09/29/09 01:58 AM.
#1277083 - 09/29/09 05:21 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Nikolas]  
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Spend time doing and less time talking.

Model practice in your lessons. You can't send a child home without teaching the "how" of practice. They have no frame of reference!

Model beautiful sound at every opportunity, whether it is in an exercise, a rote piece or improvising.

Build success into every activity by stairstepping from what the student already knows.

Assume nothing.

Ask many questions. They open the mind.

Build a relationship with your students. They are people first.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
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#1277106 - 09/29/09 06:56 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Betty Patnude]  
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Originally Posted by Betty Patnude
Currawong,

I understood it's his "screen" adopted name, but it's still a disadvantage if no one can say it correctly. Yes, I understand he borrowed it from a Hungarion piano prodigy. Again there was no pronunciation key in the link, so I'm still uncertain of how to say the name correctly.

Now I'm wondering what the poster feels he has in common with Nyiregyhazi. The wikipedia information shows a very troubled life.

A comment was that he for 40 years he did not own a piano. Again, a very sad situation for someone with such strong natural abilities at age 3.

Thanks for the link, Currawong!



Well, aside from his troubled life, he did actually play the piano and make recordings (despite not owning a piano). I doubt whether a particularly high percentage of Cortot's fans were drawn by the cocaine habit, or that many of Cziffra's fans served time in a prison camp. I just like the unique style in which he played.

#1277107 - 09/29/09 06:58 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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I'm a piano teacher in the UK.

#1277189 - 09/29/09 10:04 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Nyiregyhazi]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Thanks. By "where" I meant, in a private studio, in a school program, etc. And as I'm being nosy, do you teach piano full time or part time?


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#1277205 - 09/29/09 10:34 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Thanks. By "where" I meant, in a private studio, in a school program, etc. And as I'm being nosy, do you teach piano full time or part time?


Ah, mostly in a couple of schools. I do a few at home as well. I'm just on three days a week, so I can use the rest of my time to practise.

#1277208 - 09/29/09 10:36 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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I think one trap teachers fall into is trying too hard not to fall into traps. You become paralyzed by the fear of not trying things out. Don't become paralyzed!

You have to jump in, take risks, and try a lot of new things.

You have to expect a lot of them to fail, but celebrate the ones that don't.

You have to realize nobody starts out perfect. The reason that all of us are able to tell you what the traps are is that we fell into them. Hard. Head first.

No matter how good or how bad you are, you will have some students who do well and some who don't. Sometimes they will do well or poorly because of you. Sometimes they will do well or poorly despite you. The only thing that will tell you which is experience, so go get some.

When you blame yourself, blame everybody. If a student does poorly, it's everybody's fault - yours, the parent's, and the student's. Encourage all to do better.

When a student is successful, give everybody credit - yourself, the student, the parent. Make sure everybody shares in the glory!


"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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#1277223 - 09/29/09 10:59 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Kreisler]  
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Good ideas here!

One "trap" I got myself into when I started was giving a discount for the second sibling or even the third, in one family! I soon discovered that giving a discount because I had more than one student from a family was a bad idea! So now I don't give discounts to family even though they will ask for it! A student is a student regardless!

And I take one day off! I make sure the parents know which day, and now one calls me and I don't think "teaching" on the day that I have off! Friday is the day I take off and I go out for lunch or go shopping and I don't think about piano teaching on that day! And I especially don't do make-ups on that day!

Just some lessons learned! [pun intended) smile


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#1277249 - 09/29/09 11:54 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Minniemay]  
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"Read about Nyiregyhazi here."

(nyeer-edge-hah-zee)

Wow, that's some bio. "Troubled" certainly says it--- if it says enough. Happens I'm placing a bookstore order today, and the Wiki article points to Kevin Bazzana's book, Lost Genius. I happen to be a fan of Bazzana's book on Glenn Gould; he appears to be a specialist in the cautionary tale, if it's possible to judge by the two works. I'll post a few words after I read the book, if I think it might be of interest to anyone else.

Overlooking the unnecessary argumentativeness, the OP's question was a good one, and a good topic for this very useful thread.


Clef

#1277357 - 09/29/09 02:08 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Thanks for that info, Jeff Clef!

Now I can practice saying (nyeer-edge-hah-zee)!

Please do post after your reading it will be of interest to me!

Betty

#1277541 - 09/29/09 07:32 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: JerryS88]  
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Originally Posted by JerryS88
I would say the worst trap I fell into when I used to teach was to be so concerned about my students learning to read music that I avoided playing for them lest they "cheat" by mimicking me. Now I believe that the teacher's greatest and most powerful teaching tool is to CONSTANTLY play for their students, precisely because it uses children's natural ability to mimic, just as they learn to speak. There are so many nuances to playing music that can be demonstrated so much more easily than can be described in words, and playing for the student helps develop their hearing. When I go back to teaching, my students and I will get a great physical workout switching places on the piano bench. I would also incorporate a lot of listening to great recordings.


I completely agree!


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#1277704 - 09/30/09 01:45 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: jazzyclassical]  
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This is a oft-derailed thread. I like the OP, so here are my 2 cents.

1) Maintain high expectations. And keep the bar high. Don't compromise your aspirations. Amazingly, most kids rise to the occasion.

2) Quality is better than quantity. Seek out serious students who are willing to put in the work. You might not have a big studio, but you'd be much happier.

3) Be willing to learn and try something new and different. It's too easy to fall back on stuff you used before, or the stuff your first teacher used to teach you piano. Expand your teaching repertoire.


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#1277823 - 09/30/09 09:28 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Diane...]  
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Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Diane...
Good ideas here!

One "trap" I got myself into when I started was giving a discount for the second sibling or even the third, in one family! I soon discovered that giving a discount because I had more than one student from a family was a bad idea! So now I don't give discounts to family even though they will ask for it! A student is a student regardless!

And I take one day off! I make sure the parents know which day, and now one calls me and I don't think "teaching" on the day that I have off! Friday is the day I take off and I go out for lunch or go shopping and I don't think about piano teaching on that day! And I especially don't do make-ups on that day!

Just some lessons learned! [pun intended) smile


I also gave discounts for siblings. My hourly rate is not exactly twice my half-hour rate, so if I have two half-hour students from the same family, I charge them the hourly rate. I have a family with 3 kids, two of whom are up to 45 minute lessons and the other is still half hours. I don't give discounts for any of them. I don't teach the 2nd or 3rd child with any less preparation and care, so why should my time be cheaper?

I also stopped teaching on Saturdays a while back. I used to do it when I had a studio of 50 students, and then when I cut back I continued. The Saturday students had more rescheduling and missed lessons than the weekly ones did, and it freed up my Saturdays so once in a while I could hold group lessons and recitals then.


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#1277835 - 09/30/09 09:54 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Morodiene]  
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Don't be afraid to adjust your rates on an annual basis. People pretty much expect it, and if you don't, the only person that loses, is you.

When I first applied an increase for new students, I kept the old ones on the original rate, thinking I might lose them if I upped the price.
In fact the opposite happened. I had more than one parent, say to me, "I think you deserve a raise, so from now on, I will pay you X"

I too, used to give a discount for more than one family member, taking lessons concurrently, but soon realised that I was the only one losing out in that arrangement.

I have a family of three children, plus a parent, taking lessons in both piano and guitar, and they are more than happy to pay the individual lesson rate.

I think we can be our own worst enemy, when it comes to setting rates, and feeling we should give discounts.

My accountant would not dream of giving family discounts, so if it is good enough for him.......



Rob
#1277888 - 09/30/09 11:31 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: R0B]  
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TimR Offline
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At the risk of being overly practical, time.

My daughter's teacher set a kitchen timer for 30 minutes as the child sat down. When it rang, that child was done and the child outside the door gathered up her materials.

Other teachers ran over - maybe only five minutes, but add that up over several students and you're in the studio an hour or so later than you intended.


gotta go practice
#1277908 - 09/30/09 11:52 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: TimR]  
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Originally Posted by TimR
Other teachers ran over - maybe only five minutes, but add that up over several students and you're in the studio an hour or so later than you intended.


That's why some teachers (myself included) schedule mini breaks throughout the day. 15 minutes of break for every 2 hours and 45 minutes of lessons. Sometimes it's hard to schedule them like that, but I like the flexibility.


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#1277925 - 09/30/09 12:12 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: TimR]  
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Originally Posted by TimR
At the risk of being overly practical, time.

My daughter's teacher set a kitchen timer for 30 minutes as the child sat down. When it rang, that child was done and the child outside the door gathered up her materials.

Other teachers ran over - maybe only five minutes, but add that up over several students and you're in the studio an hour or so later than you intended.


Tim, I have a wall clock which is in my line of sight as I teach, and also is one of those which pick up the US Government time signal, so it's always accurate. Because my lessons are blocked into three major groups, etudes/scales, new/review pieces, repertoire, I need to keep track of time and keep both student and myself on task. I hate watching the clock, but I dislike buzzers and beepers even more.


"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
#1277929 - 09/30/09 12:17 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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John--

How flexible are you on your teaching blocks? Wouldn't some pieces require much more time that they end up taking up the entire lesson?

For some of the advanced students whose parents refuse to pay for anything longer than an hour lesson, I end up splitting their repertoire so that I hear half of them one week and the other half the following week. The downfall is that they don't have lessons on a piece until two weeks later, and some instruction is lost from the previous lesson.


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#1277941 - 09/30/09 12:34 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: AZNpiano]  
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They are not hard and fast, but if I see we're 20 min into a lesson and still working on scales, I know it's time to move on. My lessons are most 50 min, so the normal break down is 15-20-15.


"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
#1278093 - 09/30/09 04:37 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Minniemay Offline
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If you aren't getting through all the repertoire in one lesson, then you are either assigning too much repertoire, or not using your time as efficiently as you might. IMO, you don't have to hear an entire advanced piece clear through at every lesson. Plan to hear certain portions of the piece to work on certain ideas or technical problems.

I often will ask the student what their primary issue is in a piece (if I don't they, are a bit antsy and won't focus on anything else anyway). Address that first, then choose what you want to hear in each piece.

I always try to hear one piece all the way through, but the parts of other things.


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#1278128 - 09/30/09 05:40 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Minniemay]  
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AZNpiano Offline
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Minniemay--

As you know, CM requires 5 hefty pieces for Advanced level. It takes half an hour just to hear every piece _once_. Some of these kids are going for Panel.

My old teacher makes these kids take 2-hour lessons, which makes better sense to me. I can't cajole all the parents to do that, so I have to compromise.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1278135 - 09/30/09 05:59 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Minniemay]  
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John v.d.Brook Offline
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
If you aren't getting through all the repertoire in one lesson, then you are either assigning too much repertoire, or not using your time as efficiently as you might. IMO, you don't have to hear an entire advanced piece clear through at every lesson. Plan to hear certain portions of the piece to work on certain ideas or technical problems.

I often will ask the student what their primary issue is in a piece (if I don't they, are a bit antsy and won't focus on anything else anyway). Address that first, then choose what you want to hear in each piece.

I always try to hear one piece all the way through, but the parts of other things.


For Guild, my students need to maintain a repertoire of 10 pieces. For the lowest levels, this will take 10 minutes to hear once through, for upper levels, we cannot get through it in an entire lesson. So, again, depending on student's level, I selectively listen to repertoire and rotate. There's no other way.

BTW, there are plenty of non-Guild teachers who understand the virtue of having students maintain repertoire. We can discuss the merits, pro and con, in another thread if you like, so we don't hijack this thread.


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#1280469 - 10/04/09 11:01 AM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: Barb860]  
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Some traps I can think of:

Charging really low fees in the hope to attract people.

Accepting just about any student who asks for lessons. (like I rarely accept students who don't, or their parents say, they don't want to do exams, I do really well with students who want to achieve excellence. And I definitely do not accept students who do not agree to at least performing at the twice-annual student concerts I do)

Agreeing to discounts off your lesson fees when they ask for it.

Not firing students when they are proving to be not worth the money.

Not insisting on good tone quality.

Not insisting on right rhythms.

Not establishing a good studio policy.

Not asking your colleagues for advice on problems you're having with students.

Not connecting with musical colleagues or friends (I've gotten more than a few students this way!)

Worrying about how other people will feel about your choices of music, because of say, some people not wanting kids to learn modern music or music that makes reference to magic, wizards, or witches for example.

Not insisting on longer lessons when students clearly need it, and assuming people only want 30 min lessons.

I think that's a pretty good list...

Meri


Clarinet and Piano Teacher based out of Toronto, Canada.Web: http://donmillsmusicstudio.weebly.com
#1280663 - 10/04/09 05:16 PM Re: "Traps" new teachers fall into [Re: musiclady]  
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AZN: I know all about the CM advanced level. I've taken students through it in the past and I have one doing it now.

I manage it by spreading the pieces out over the year. They might learn the biggest piece first thing in the fall, then put it on the back burner until a few weeks before CM. In my opinion, students must learn lots of repertoire, not just a few contest/festival pieces. Not everything has to be learned to perfection, but the more exposure they have to repertoire in a given style, the more quicky they learn because you have covered the concepts before.

The other thing about CM rep is that it doesn't have to be all long pieces. Choose carefully. A Bach fugue doesn't last 20 minutes. Some sonata movements last only 5-8. An character piece of Schumann might only last that long. You don't have to play pieces of great length, just increasing difficulty.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano
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