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#1612093 - 02/03/11 04:50 PM a second teacher: an etiquette question  
Joined: Jun 2009
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beet31425 Offline
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Bay Area, CA
Hi folks,

I've been taking lessons from teacher A since last May. I like her a lot; I see her weekly. It had been many years since I'd played seriously (due to injury), and in nine months we've gone from slow technique rebuilding to Beethoven sonatas and Debussy preludes. We have pretty good communication, and I want to continue working with her.

But I might also be interested in taking an occasional lesson from teacher B. As much as I like my current teacher, B is in a different league: she generally teaches conservatory-track students, she's very active in the professional concertizing community, and she's a real academic scholar. I sat in on a lesson, and I couldn't believe how knowledgeable, sharp, clear, and nice she was.

I'm not ready to switch. (I have a lot to learn yet from A, and anyway, I don't even know if B would take me, and she's an hour away and much more expensive.) But I am interested in having a lesson with her maybe every couple of months or so, while continuing with my regular teacher (who would know about the arrangement, of course).

Before I bring this up with either of them, I want to ask you: Is this kind of thing done and not really a big deal, or is it probably going to be awkward?

Thanks--

-Jason



Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann
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#1612124 - 02/03/11 05:26 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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Canonie Offline
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Australia
I hope it won't be awkward, if your teacher is confident and wishes the best for you she may be excited by this opportunity for you. FWIW I would be thrilled if any of my students were interested and committed enough to music to go that extra distance. I think I would feel very proud of a student who graduated to the next level of teacher and development. If it's a clear and obvious thing that she's in a different league music and knowledge-wise, shouldn't be awkward.

Just a suggestion; ask your teacher about getting masterclasses or lessons from someone, ask if she has any suggestions herself, ask if she can support you through any reversals of advice (one teacher says wrist low, one says wrist high - that sort of thing). Frame it like she is the local doctor and the other teacher is the specialist (bad analogy, sorry!). If you keep her in with the planning of it and be clear what her role is (ongoing and highly valued teacher) it has a good chance of being positive.

One teacher is never enough. You need at least two angles on this piano thing. The teachers could be consecutive or concurrent. Hey, it sounds very exciting - lucky you! Can't wait to hear how it goes, and so glad that you are able to play again.


[Linked Image]
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.
Alex Ross.
#1612136 - 02/03/11 05:45 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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bitWrangler Offline
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Really really depends on teacher A. My daughters teacher is highly respected in the area is definitely amongst the upper end of local teachers. She had one student who was a great talent, and at some point as the student was nearing graduation (maybe a couple of years before), and it was clear that they were going to pursue piano performance in college, the student started seeing a university prof. in addition to the teacher. Our teacher was totally fine with this, she understood where the student wanted to be as well the teacher had great respect for the univ. prof. In this situation things worked out fine. There have been other situations however, with the same teacher, where scenarios that introduced another teacher, did not yield a very positive response.

I'll let the teachers speak for themselves, but it's been my personal experience that there is only a very small set of scenarios whereby a teacher would be in favor of having "another teacher" involved in your studies (for many reasons that I'm sure others will enumerate). Yours could be one of those situations where things work out, but just be ready for possible fireworks wink .

Last edited by bitWrangler; 02/03/11 06:41 PM.
#1612178 - 02/03/11 06:27 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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kck Offline
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I would present it to teacher A as an opportunity to have "master class" on occasion. I'd personally be surprised if she had a problem with it.


Amateur musician, piano and violin parent
#1612201 - 02/03/11 07:05 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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AZNpiano Offline
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At your level, I'd hope teachers will be very open-minded toward "sharing" students. This happens quite a bit at the college level. You'd have one primary teacher or "professor," but you'd also have coaches in chamber, accompaniment, and repertory classes.

For younger students with less skill, this Teacher A Teacher B thing can get more convoluted.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1612405 - 02/04/11 01:00 AM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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This is such a fitting topic for me these days....

I have a little boy who is advancing quickly and I know he will need a higher level teacher in a few years (or less).

I have decided to try and strike up a relationship with a local music scholar who has openings (and time) for new students.

I feel like I am guiding my students up to the base of Everest...but for those that are ambitious enough to want the top: they need someone with the right "gear" and experience.

This can be a tough thing for any teacher to admit. For a long time I just figured I would eventually be a better pianist anyway. But this forum has actually really helped me figure out where I sit in the hierarchy. I am good. But not THAT good!

I can't wait until I am able to successfully pass someone "up". I would never want to be in a student's way.


M. Katchur
#1612518 - 02/04/11 08:17 AM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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Morodiene Offline
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I have several students who want to pursue a career in either singing or piano. I have encouraged these students to be in touch with other teachers that I know are the "next level up" and can help them in their pursuits. They continue to study with me, and every once in a while have a lesson with another teacher or two.

The neat thing is, I get to learn as they come back and tell me what the other teacher taught them (or in the case where I'm in contact with the teacher personally, they tell me what I should be working on with them at that point). I think everyone benefits from this kind of arrangement, but mostly the student does.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1612837 - 02/04/11 07:29 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: trillingadventurer]  
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Canonie Offline
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Originally Posted by trillingadventurer
This is such a fitting topic for me these days....

I have a little boy who is advancing quickly and I know he will need a higher level teacher in a few years (or less).

I have decided to try and strike up a relationship with a local music scholar who has openings (and time) for new students.

I feel like I am guiding my students up to the base of Everest...but for those that are ambitious enough to want the top: they need someone with the right "gear" and experience.

This can be a tough thing for any teacher to admit. For a long time I just figured I would eventually be a better pianist anyway. But this forum has actually really helped me figure out where I sit in the hierarchy. I am good. But not THAT good!

I can't wait until I am able to successfully pass someone "up". I would never want to be in a student's way.

I don't think it should be a tough thing to admit. Teaching beginners is HARD and I know some advanced pianists who freely admit that they are so out of touch with that stage that they would flouder about hopelessly (= be too boring and have no idea how small each step needs to be).

If you've helped create that desire to get to the summit, my congratulations to you. My students are mostly all too comfortable and enjoying themselves. Maybe there are a few with a more burning ambition, but the parents would need to actually buy a piano... (sigh)

A student moving on to the next level of teaching is sooo much more exciting than stopping lessons from my point of view, and hopefully from the student's as well. When I first have a student who "graduates" I will report here with cheerleader icon. It's great if the base-camp teacher can be involved in the process and keep in contact.

That's a bit OT from Beet's issue. Look forward to hear how it works out.


[Linked Image]
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.
Alex Ross.
#1612869 - 02/04/11 08:16 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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Piano*Dad Offline
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The usual problem in dual teacher arrangements is the issue of "serving two masters." But the way you are approaching this seems like a good way to avoid this problem. Being open is important. Having the second teacher as the occasional voice will be much less problematic than having two equals fighting for your attention. You just need to make sure that any contrary opinions you get are worked out to everybody's satisfaction.

#1613294 - 02/05/11 03:20 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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I am mentored by one teacher and taught by another. Both of those teachers are close friends, though, and they both have close to the same teaching ideals so the relationship works out fine between them. It's nice to have more than one person's input.

#1613428 - 02/05/11 06:59 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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Steve Nixon Offline
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Chicago
Originally Posted by beet31425
Hi folks,

I've been taking lessons from teacher A since last May. I like her a lot; I see her weekly. It had been many years since I'd played seriously (due to injury), and in nine months we've gone from slow technique rebuilding to Beethoven sonatas and Debussy preludes. We have pretty good communication, and I want to continue working with her.

But I might also be interested in taking an occasional lesson from teacher B. As much as I like my current teacher, B is in a different league: she generally teaches conservatory-track students, she's very active in the professional concertizing community, and she's a real academic scholar. I sat in on a lesson, and I couldn't believe how knowledgeable, sharp, clear, and nice she was.

I'm not ready to switch. (I have a lot to learn yet from A, and anyway, I don't even know if B would take me, and she's an hour away and much more expensive.) But I am interested in having a lesson with her maybe every couple of months or so, while continuing with my regular teacher (who would know about the arrangement, of course).

Before I bring this up with either of them, I want to ask you: Is this kind of thing done and not really a big deal, or is it probably going to be awkward?

Thanks--

-Jason



Good question Jason. I think you have the right to take a lesson with whomever you want at any time. You're seeking additional information and different approaches to musical artistry and development. There is nothing wrong with that.

For example, It is very common in the jazz education area to have a "main teacher" and then occasionally take a lesson from someone else who may have a unique or specialized perspective on a particular topic.

When I studied classical I had a main teacher who's overall classical knowledge was fantastic but I wanted to learn more about Baroque ornamentation. So, I took a lesson with a teacher who specialized in Bach.

#1613522 - 02/05/11 09:11 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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Andromaque Offline
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New York
This multiple teacher thing should be rational and smooth if discussed openly, but it rarely is in my limited experience.
Some teachers are highly "possessive" for lack of a better term. They expect to be informed of any student moves they deem pertinent to their teaching and you would need to be seeking a teacher who is clearly in a higher league in order to get their "approval".. Even then, some teachers would want to "prep" you first. This is not to say that you can't bypass the teacher's wishes, but the relationship could get tense and that is often a precarious carefully constructed equilibrium that one should think twice prior to disrupting.
Of course one's instincts about the teacher's potential reaction is key.. I know mine would NOT take well to a double or occasional teacher proposition.. I still have much to learn from him, even though I would love to experience a different less rigid approach.. I will thus sit tight..

#1613561 - 02/05/11 10:09 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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I have thought about doing this. My teacher (whom I love-- in a piano-related way of course) is straight, strict classical. My son's teacher has a jazz background and is teaching my son things like how to read from a fake book and how to improvise. I've been thinking of taking a few lessons from my son's teacher, really for fun. If I do, I'm not planning to say anything to my teacher about it.

#1613743 - 02/06/11 06:59 AM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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I have done it before - Yes it is great to get new inspirations. But it is confusing and it can be troublesome when teacher A found out about it. Different teachers have different approaches. Teacher A is not dumb, he will notice when you change the way you play.

You can do it, but you have to make sure you play to teacher A with "teacher A's mode" and play to teacher B with "teacher B's mode". Otherwise trusts between you and A can be damaged if A get suspicious.


http://www.youtube.com/user/feebeeliszt
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes - ah, that is where the art resides! - Schnabel
#1613878 - 02/06/11 12:29 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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beet31425 Offline
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.

#1615395 - 02/08/11 02:37 PM Re: a second teacher: an etiquette question [Re: beet31425]  
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beet31425 Offline
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beet31425  Offline
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Thanks, everyone, for your suggestions and thoughts.

Everything has worked out well so far. My main teacher thought this was a fine idea; she knows and has respect for teacher B. Teacher B is very busy at the moment (processing hundreds of conservatory auditions), but I'm going to meet up with her next month for an introductory session. So far so good!

Thanks again-


-Jason



Beethoven op.110, Chopin op.27/2, Liszt Vallée d'Obermann

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