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#1574655 - 12/11/10 11:48 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Some things I've run into directly or indirectly:

- An unscrupulous teacher may deliberately sow doubt in a student's mind in order to gain students. The teacher might also make false promises to lure a student away. (worst scenario)

- There are teachers who have rigid ideas on what should be taught when. They may use the same approach for every single student regardless of that student's makeup. Any teacher who does not do exactly what they do will "doom" a student to failure. The present teacher may have very good reason for what s/he is teaching when and how. By interfering with this, the other teacher may be messing up what the original teacher has been setting up. A student will not have the necessary information to assess this. If what the other teacher is doing is different but not problematic, the doubt, confusion, loss of confidence in the teacher and in him/herself can mess up a student. It is hard to play well if you have lost confidence. It is also hard to work with your present teacher in that case.

- Variant of the above: The present teacher may have chosen whatever because of what s/he has seen in a student. You guys say that it takes three months for student and teacher to know each other. How, then, can a stranger know instantly what needs to be done? (Unless something extreme and obvious is going on.)

- More positive scenario: The criticizing teacher sees some hole that the present teacher also sees but hasn't been able to bring across. By hearing about it in a different way, the student might start doing what the original teacher has been trying to ask for all along. OR there may be a weakness in one area of teaching, and this teacher has managed to fix a weak link in the chain.

- The present teacher is in fact neglecting important things and it is actually causing difficulties that the student isn't aware of. Sometimes the present teacher can actually address this if the student asks about it. There are teachers who won't teach some things if they think their students aren't interested or wouldn't do them. There is no way that a student will know what is missing.

- The present teacher might actually be inept and causing harm to the student, or at best, preventing the student from learning to play better. They may confuse playing harder pieces crudely with "advancing", rather than learning to play better over time. Can an outside teacher actually know what is going on from one observation? Are all teachers scrupulous and honest?

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#1574657 - 12/11/10 11:50 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Oh dear, that doesn't sound so good. Sorry, but I can't just look on. I suppose I'm just a have-a-go-hero when a person's piano-life is in danger.


A hero in your own mind, perhaps.

#1574661 - 12/11/10 11:55 AM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Piano*Dad]  
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
Quote
Oh dear, that doesn't sound so good. Sorry, but I can't just look on. I suppose I'm just a have-a-go-hero when a person's piano-life is in danger.


A hero in your own mind, perhaps.
Yeh, like Clark Kent!


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#1574666 - 12/11/10 12:02 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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It reminds me of that television commercial--- I forget the product. A group of bitches (actual dogs) are gossiping at a party. One says, "Well, you didn't hear it from me... but I heard she has FLEAS!"

If you're going to gossip about someone else's fleas, better make sure you don't have any yourself.

It may take some time, but students find out about these things for themselves.


Clef

#1574669 - 12/11/10 12:06 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef
It may take some time, but students find out about these things for themselves.
Yeh, like there's a concert pianist on every street corner. smirk


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

#1574689 - 12/11/10 12:54 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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It's so difficult to keep my mouth shut in those situations.

I recently went to another teacher's student recital - one that I ended up dubbing "Tensionfest 2010!"

I agree with what keystring says, however.



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#1574726 - 12/11/10 02:04 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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I don't care what profession you are in. It is not acceptable to criticize your colleagues to their clients.

#1574732 - 12/11/10 02:14 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Considering we're in the season:
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The early egalitarian communities called "guilds" (for the gold deposited in their common funds) were denounced by Catholic clergy for their "conjurations"—the binding oaths sworn among artisans to support one another in adversity and back one another in feuds or in business ventures. The occasion for the drunken banquets at which these oaths were made was December 25, the pagan feast of Jul: Bishop Hincmar, in 858, sought vainly to Christianize them.
From Wiki.


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

#1574749 - 12/11/10 02:42 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: Jeff Clef]  
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Originally Posted by Jeff Clef

It may take some time, but students find out about these things for themselves.


Like when they become adults and want to re-start lessons and find that what has been hard-wired into their brains during early lessons vis-a-vis technique, fingering, tempo control, etc, is impossibly wrong for any progress to occur, and must be laboriously unlearned.

I have had adult re-starters like that, and it is not a happy scenario for them. They literally are victims. And this includes the self-taught people with terrible habits who were encouraged to follow the self-taught route.

Having said that, I do not think it is right to speak out and criticize other teachers.

That was a hard one for me to learn, but I realize that my job is not to correct the piano teachers of the world, (like I know enough to do that!) but rather to correctly teach the students that I have.


Piano teacher and Blues and Boogie-Woogie pianist.
#1574754 - 12/11/10 02:47 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: rocket88]  
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Quote
.....but I realize that my job is not to correct the piano teachers of the world, (like I know enough to do that!) but rather to correctly teach the students that I have.



` ` ` [Linked Image] 1,000%


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
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#1574772 - 12/11/10 03:33 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Is there a distinction between offering unsolicited free advice, and being approached by a student in consultation because the student feels something is wrong?

#1574785 - 12/11/10 03:57 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: keystring]  
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There's an old saying, "Free advice is worth what it costs."


"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
#1574793 - 12/11/10 04:03 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: Argerich5405]  
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There's an even older saying, "Poo sticks together!"


snobbyish, yet maybe helpful.
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#1574794 - 12/11/10 04:03 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Quote
Is there a distinction between offering unsolicited free advice, and being approached by a student in consultation because the student feels something is wrong?

Not to KBK... grin

#1574796 - 12/11/10 04:09 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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OK, KBK is free to walk up to students after their recitals and tell them how much harm their teachers are doing to them. They and their teachers are free to call him an @sshat in front of all assembled. [Linked Image]

#1574801 - 12/11/10 04:21 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Hold on! I ain't about to go raining on no one's parade - there's a time and a place you know.


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#1574805 - 12/11/10 04:31 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Well, that's good to know. thumb

#1574808 - 12/11/10 04:50 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
There's an old saying, "Free advice is worth what it costs."

My question was not clear enough. Supposing that a student thinks there may be a problem but is not sure. The student asks for a consultation with another teacher. During the consultation that teacher can be rather certain that the student's problems are coming from what is (isn't) being taught. We know that if the teacher happens to hear a student elsewhere s/he will refrain from stating impressions. But in this consultation, might it be different?

In regards to the saying, I think that free advice is often given by instant experts who don't know much and don't take time. A professional will take time to form an opinion, and usually charges for it. But if a professional does volunteer his time he will be as thorough as usual, and it will have the same value as paid advice. But because it takes time, it is much more likely that free advice will be instant expert advice.

#1574817 - 12/11/10 05:08 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Is there a distinction between offering unsolicited free advice, and being approached by a student in consultation because the student feels something is wrong?


keystring, I think there is a big difference!

It reminds me of this: I took my son to a dentist closer to our home. The dentist never took the mask off his face (the kind that cover nose and mouth), and he said my son had a cavity.

I felt there was something wrong with this picture. I found him untrustworthy. So I thanked him but did not have any more done than the exam. I took my son back to our regular dentist (farther away). She found no cavity. She went on to say "I don't like to say anything bad about another dentist. But Dr. Frazier is in the business of selling dental products."

I think this was still professional behavior on the part of my dentist. And I am grateful to know to steer clear of Frazier.

#1574822 - 12/11/10 05:17 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by Argerich5405
If a teacher sees a student doing something wrong (posture, bad fingering, etc), should he or she say something?

My friend has had his teacher criticized by another teacher (who has never met the teacher, only heard of him). The "advice" was un-solicitated. The other teacher heard him play and started criticizing. He then preached about how the first teacher was not teaching the fundamentals that he should, etc...

This was the question; KBK makes it clear that he, too, feels free to criticize any and all "for the benefit" of the student. Of course, the feelings of the student, his confidence, his ability to continue performing without worrying about someone in the audience coming up to him afterward and ripping him a new one, is irrelevant. The holy grail is technique.

My comment on free advice wasn't a commentary on your post; it was a general comment on unwanted advice from any source. MYOB seems to be dying in our society.


"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
#1574832 - 12/11/10 05:31 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: John v.d.Brook]  
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Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Of course, the feelings of the student, his confidence, his ability to continue performing without worrying about someone in the audience coming up to him afterward and ripping him a new one, is irrelevant. The holy grail is technique.
Who said it as after a concert?


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#1574850 - 12/11/10 06:18 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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"...there's a concert pianist on every street corner..."

I must live in the wrong neighborhood.

Only my present teacher is a concert performer. Others have been professional accompanists and teachers, or conservatory students. Each had something to offer; some more than others. I think piano pedagogy has come some distance since I was a kid, taking lessons from my church accompanist in a small town--- though she was a wonderful teacher. But, things like, for example, ergonomic motion to reduce the chance of RSIs just were not on the radar back then (and at that very minute, Glenn Gould was soaking his arms in scalding water and eating pills like candy just to keep going). Concerts and recordings (which I take advantage of now) were not so available, and there was no YouTube or PW.

I have enough to do just to follow my own teacher's advice, without having additional instruction thrust in my way... no doubt with the best of intentions.

There are plenty of times I am just dying to offer my advice, but I keep quiet unless I am asked for it. There's no denying it takes an effort of will.


Clef

#1574854 - 12/11/10 06:26 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teach [Re: Argerich5405]  
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@John: the "re:" feature creates a complication. Yours says "re: Keystring" and comes after mine and fit the question. It's an idiotic feature imho.

@Ann: That is the kind of thing I'm talking about. It's a judgment call and there is a time and a place.

#1574855 - 12/11/10 06:26 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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This is Argerich5405's initial question.

Originally Posted by Argerich5405
If a teacher sees a student doing something wrong (posture, bad fingering, etc), should he or she say something?

My friend has had his teacher criticized by another teacher (who has never met the teacher, only heard of him). The "advice" was un-solicitated. The other teacher heard him play and started criticizing. He then preached about how the first teacher was not teaching the fundamentals that he should, etc...


Here are your (KBK's) instant and unequivocal responses.

Quote
Yes, the student's welfare is paramount.


and

Quote
I wouldn't hesitate to say a student was being taught poorly if tension issues were being left unaddressed.


There are no circumstances mentioned or circumstances excluded. You would just jump in with both feet, asserting your right and your duty to ride in like the white knight to the rescue, cutting down bad teaching with your righteous scythe. [Love the purple prose metaphors! grin ]

The mention of post-recital situations was mine. I was offering an example of such a righteous (self-proclaimed) rescue offered to my son by an area teacher (who was new, and building her business). She is Russian, BTW, though that is not germane to the topic.

I'm glad to see that you would not violate the sanctity of the post-recital celebration in order to cast out the demons of inferior teaching. Any more qualifications we should know about?


#1574859 - 12/11/10 06:34 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Hot under the collar or what P*Dad? I advised you once - was that wrong of me?


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

#1574868 - 12/11/10 06:48 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Being an expert feels good. An expert is an important contributer! Giving intelligent, subtle, profound advice to a stranger gives a wonderful feeling of spreading good in the world, where nobody else knows enough to solve this particular musical or technical problem.

I have to wonder whether those who, unasked, give out a lot of advice are getting enough personal benefit, such that the music student's development is of secondary importance. The benefits of proving expertise, of adding credibility to the experts methods and ideas are just too great to allow broader thinking and useful flexibility. Chronic advice-givers may not be as generous as they would have us believe wink


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Composers manufacture a product that is universally deemed superfluous—at least until their music enters public consciousness, at which point people begin to say that they could not live without it.
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#1574871 - 12/11/10 06:50 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: keyboardklutz]  
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Hot under the collar or what P*Dad? I advised you once - was that wrong of me?


Hot? No. Amused, most definitely! smile

BTW, did you advise me? I honestly don't remember. Lots of people have offered commentary on posted videos. That's most definitely fair game.

#1574885 - 12/11/10 07:09 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Originally Posted by Piano*Dad
BTW, did you advise me? I honestly don't remember.
Yeh, about P*Son's shoulders.


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#1574894 - 12/11/10 07:20 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Argerich5405]  
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Which were quite tense. That was a multi-year project. And it was much more than the shoulders. All of his teachers were quite well aware of the problem. As was I. Tension is an ongoing battle for lots of people. The better you get, the more you realize how a little bit of tension here and there holds you back.

P.S. The righteous rescue offered by our area's new teacher had nothing to do with shoulder tension, or tension at all. It had to do with finer points of interpretation in the right hand. Extra reason his teacher (a concert performer and college faculty member) felt that the unsolicited criticism was out of bounds. Some people, however, just think their viewpoint is so important that everyone must hear it.

#1574912 - 12/11/10 07:47 PM Re: Does a teacher have the right to criticize another teacher? [Re: Canonie]  
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It is quite a moral dilemma. If every time I heard a performance clearly lacking in rhythmic and structural stability and flexibility in the body and mind of the musician, I set about promoting my own (somewhat radical) methods of training that, then I would be a very busy (and hated) piano teacher.

It seems that my desire to operate within the normal social etiquette means that I fall short of being a real piano crusader. Not sure if that makes me good or bad. Just normal, I suppose!

But when someone asks me directly and I offer advice which contradicts their teacher's (or former teacher's), I always preface this with remarks about there being no absolute rights or wrongs and pointing out that what works well for one may hamper another.

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