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#1511384 - 09/08/10 10:09 AM My first lesson
Crayola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 299
Loc: Chicago, IL
I'm doing it!! I'm taking lessons again!
I've taken a 3-year hiatus as I've been paying off my grand piano, and now that the entire instrument is completely mine, I can afford lessons again! I've been in contact with a great teacher/performer who lives about 30 minutes from my house. I went to one of his free concerts given at the local Steinway store and thoroughly enjoyed his interpretations and style. We've been playing phone tag for several months, and now I am on his schedule, and will be meeting him for the first time in a couple hours!

I'm bringing with me a list of all the repertoire I've studied in the last 15 years, categorized by composer. I've also typed out a repertoire "wish list" of the pieces and composers I'd like to work on in the next few years, as well as the concepts I'd like to study or discuss more in depth, and would appreciate a teacher's perspective.

I'll be playing a couple pieces for him as well - a selection from Bach Partita in Cm (which I worked up myself), a third movement from a Beethoven Sonata (which I learned years ago under a teacher's tutelage) and maybe a Schubert Impromptu (which earned me high scores back in the day).

This is my first lesson for myself since I began teaching piano over 3 years ago, and it feels so different going into this situation, being a student once again rather than the teacher. I hope to learn tons from him - not only about music, but also how to teach and direct advanced students (as most of mine or beginners - intermediates). I have many high aspirations and goals during the time I work with him, and I really hope our personalities connect well today.

Thank you to all you other teachers who have mentioned the importance and value of taking lessons again. You have been a huge inspiration to me!
Independent Piano Teacher, NCTM
Member of MTNA and ISMTA

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#1511475 - 09/08/10 12:17 PM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7639
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Here's wishing you a wonderful experience. Of course, if you're human, you'll probably be a bundle of nerves. Here's a suggestion: most teachers would rather hear something which displays your ability to interpret music rather than razzle dazzle. In other words, the 2nd movement of a sonata, which is generally slower but allows for more emotional development, or a Nocturne.
"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

#1511477 - 09/08/10 12:19 PM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
keyboardklutz Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/21/07
Posts: 10856
Loc: London, UK (though if it's Aug...
Way ta go!
snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.

#1511506 - 09/08/10 01:09 PM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 15438
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Congrats Crayola! I hope all goes well today for you. Let us know how it turned out? And I agree with John, don't worry about impressing the teacher, just show him where you're at right now.
private piano/voice teacher FT

#1511543 - 09/08/10 02:22 PM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
how very exciting. have fun.
accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

#1511545 - 09/08/10 02:25 PM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
Overexposed Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2651
Congratulations for taking your talent seriously and allowing yourself to study with an excellent teacher!

#1511840 - 09/08/10 10:22 PM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
Crayola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 299
Loc: Chicago, IL
Thank you everyone!

What an exhausting day! My lesson was an hour long, starting at 11:30, and it takes a good 30 minutes to drive there. I've been teaching from 2-9pm without much break, so now's the first chance I have to really sit and think about the lesson.

To sum it up, it was wonderful, and I can't wait to start practicing! I didn't receive some of your suggestions until I got back, but I would have to agree that a second movement with more expression would communicate more about my musical abilities and sensitivity than an impressive third movement. Oh well. He said some nice things about my playing, and also expressed joy in receiving a very complete list of repertoire studied since high school, along with my goals. We talked some about posture and ways to release upper neck/body tension. (Not that that kind of thing can be thoroughly discussed within an hour), but he made some interesting suggestions which I'll have to try tomorrow.

He also had me sightread through a Rachmaninov prelude (ouch!) and recommended that I get a score in the Dover edition. I've never been a fan of the Dover, (I'm a Henle fan) but I'll give it a try. As soon as I left his house I checked with my local music store and ordered in a copy.

He noticed that the pieces I played for him were thinner in texture, and although made great demands in finger dexterity and coordination, did little to demand full arm strength and firm, solid attack on the keys. He plans to get me into Rachmaninov and some heavier Beethoven. I felt like in an hour he was able to correctly assess my strengths and weaknesses and limitations, and he was already finding repertoire and technique to address and improve these skills. He also demonstrated a couple pieces for me at the end of lesson, and it was so extremely beautiful, I was nearly salivating at how appealing he made them sound! =) As he was playing so musically, he commented "I've always wanted to work this one up. Still haven't gotten a chance." Oh, wow!

I did find it odd, however, that he discussed no "business" with me. Apparently he doesn't have or use a studio policy, and I have no idea how he deals with absences or reschedules. I don't plan to make that an issue (I know first hand how rude and annoying it can become) but I was surprised that he never brought this up. He had sent me an invoice through Music Teacher Helper before our first lesson telling me what I owed for the first month. I'll have to ask him next week about the policies, or lack of them. I was enjoying our first lesson so much, I hadn't even noticed that he didn't speak of them, until I was driving away!

Anyway, I wish it wasn't so late and I wasn't so tired, or I'd start practicing right now! I'm so glad that I made the decision to start back up again, and I HIGHLY recommend you do the same!
Independent Piano Teacher, NCTM
Member of MTNA and ISMTA

#1511878 - 09/08/10 11:34 PM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
sarah_elizabeth Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/21/09
Posts: 466
Loc: Texas, U.S.
Thanks so much for the write-up, Crayola. How wonderful... I am so thrilled for you! I take lessons too, and I feel like it always keeps my teaching fresh (along with my own fingers wink ).

#1512016 - 09/09/10 06:13 AM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
casinitaly Online   blank

Gold Supporter until March 1 2014

Registered: 03/01/10
Posts: 6508
Loc: Italy
Wonderful! This sounds very promising. I'm excited just reading about how happy you are.

#1512222 - 09/09/10 01:16 PM Re: My first lesson [Re: Crayola]
Crayola Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/23/09
Posts: 299
Loc: Chicago, IL
I was reminded of another thing about my lesson yesterday - something I didn't notice right away but found upon further reflection. My new teacher is so relaxed. He doesn't talk fast, and appears very laid back. Very unlike me, who tries to get as much done in my students' 45-minute lessons as possible. I have a difficult time relaxing and enjoying the beauty of something, because there is so much to say and try. I think I try to squeeze too much in. He, on the other hand, gave fewer comments, but each sparkled with wisdom and maturity. I want to be more like that. Helping students identify a few key concepts and explore a couple ideas, rather than bombard them each week with too many "helpful" instructions.
Independent Piano Teacher, NCTM
Member of MTNA and ISMTA


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