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#1997608 - 12/10/12 10:46 PM advice on a transfer student  
Joined: May 2008
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BLUEPIANIST Offline
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BLUEPIANIST  Offline
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Has anyone ever tried to change the mind set of a 12 year old.
I have agreed to take him on as a student buy during the inter-view he told me that he really doesn't want lessons and thinks piano is just pushing buttons. After a family conference, he has agreed to a 8 week trial. Am I walking into a no win situation?
thanks for the advice.


Jeannette Lambert
MA-NCMTNA-Adjudicator for the National Piano Guild
www.jlambertpiano.com
Atkinson, NH. USA
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#1997615 - 12/10/12 11:08 PM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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bzpiano Offline
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Irvine, CA
In my experience, if student tell you that he doesn't want piano lesson at your first lesson, he will not last long.
Things you can do to try to change the mind sets:
1. Give easy pieces first before moving on to the harder one
2. Praise a lot
3. Let him decide which pieces to learn half of the time, you as teacher will decide another half (joint decision making instead of only teacher making decision)
4. Tell him that he does not need to take lesson if he doesn't want to, he just need to tell his parents, however, as long as his parents is sending him to piano lessons, means he has to cooperate with you to make your lesson as smooth as possible.


Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Follow my 4YO student here: http://bit.ly/FollowMeiY
#1997623 - 12/10/12 11:29 PM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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Scott Coletta Offline
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If it were me, I'd try to find out why he doesn't want to play the piano... not just because it's "pushing buttons". I'd try to dig into what he means by that... what's behind it. I'd ask a lot of questions. Each lesson, just try to get to understand a little more about what makes him tick. If he begins to feel like he can trust that you are listening and understanding him, by letting him express himself without trying to change his opinion and by relaying his thoughts back to him in a meaningful and relatable way, he may become open to hearing your thoughts. Just try to ease him in, a little at a time. All the while, keep the lessons light... maybe focus more on playing be ear or by rote. Let him guide the way more for awhile until you know him well enough to see a way to reach him. 8 weeks probably won't be enough time, but if you can get him to feel comfortable talking to you and enjoying the fact that you're listening, he may decide to stick around a little longer, giving you more time. I've had students like this before. Some can be reached, some... not so much. You just have to let it be. smile

#1997628 - 12/10/12 11:43 PM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: Scott Coletta]  
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adultpianist Offline
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I am not a piano teacher so apologies if I am not allowed to post in here, but if a student does not want to learn the piano, he or she should not be forced into it or persuaded into it by whatever means. The child will become resetful. You cannot make anyone do something they just do not like. As a child, I was taken to ballet lessons. I did not like it and did not want to go. Eventually after a lot of tears and tantrums from me and a lot of protesting, I was removed from the ballet class and to this day I have no regrets. It is the same for the piano student. To even try with very easy pieces in the hope that the child will become interested is a mistake in my opinion. The child has got to want to do it first and foremost.

#1997645 - 12/11/12 12:08 AM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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bzpiano Offline
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Quote
if a student does not want to learn the piano, he or she should not be forced into it or persuaded into it by whatever means.


That is correct. However it is not piano teacher's position to do that. I would encourage him to talk to his parents in order to stop the lesson, meanwhile making his piano lesson as enjoy as possible.


Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Follow my 4YO student here: http://bit.ly/FollowMeiY
#1997697 - 12/11/12 02:59 AM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Of course, Jeannette, you are walking into a no-win situation. But as Scott and ez have suggested, you can still have some fun for 8 weeks with this fellow. Choose some good pieces, teach him a few chords, and see what ensues.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 12/11/12 03:00 AM.
#1997719 - 12/11/12 04:22 AM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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AZNpiano Offline
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Well, FWIW, one of my best students right now is taking piano only because his strict family is making him. If his parents relent (they won't), he'd quit piano tomorrow and go play his video games instead. Good thing I got his folks hooked on CM, so lessons will continue until he passes advanced level, in 4 or 5 years. Yippie for me!


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#1997765 - 12/11/12 08:47 AM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: AZNpiano]  
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adultpianist Offline
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I think it is such a shame where adults who have had piano lessons as children just give up and never play again and when they do have another go,they are right back to the beginning because they have left it too long. A friend of mine had lessons and took some exams but then gave up and it has been almost 20 years since she has played. She said she now only prefers to listen to other pianists rather than play herself. She said she felt she was never much good at playing so I guess she foud it too hard to continue. I do not find it easy but with enough hard slog I do manage to progress. I guess you have to have enough love for the instrument and enough drive and determination to reach your goal. I play every day and sometimes if I am at home for the day I will sit and play for hours. I will work my socks off with pieces so I progress. I guess although I am not a natural pianist, I have eough love for the instrument. I could not just sit and watch others,,, I get a great deal of satisfaction playing myself

#1997783 - 12/11/12 09:40 AM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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Morodiene Offline
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I don't think it's a no-win situation, but only time will tell. He's got a wrong concept of piano (and if he likes video games, isn't that just pushing buttons too? Well, of course, but there's cool stuff going on when you push them, just like in piano wink ). So now you should take steps to show him that there's a lot more than pushing buttons....you actually get to communicate emotion!

I would break the ice by doing some improv with him. I do this with resistant students all the time, and it really gets them to realize they are musical, it's fun, and they can't be wrong! Keep it simple, and make sure you play with them. Improvising alone is not as fun as with someone else. Stick with black keys to start, something slow, and encourage them to just start doodling if they're not sure what to do. Eventually they'll come up with ideas on what sounds to make. Some kids are shy to begin with, so really just get him to start playing anything, and not worry about it being good.

Sometimes children don't like piano because emotionally they are afraid , perhaps of not being good, being judged, etc. Sometimes, they just don't like piano. Either way, you have him for 8 lessons and so you might as well make the best of it you can. Be sure that you have a little talk with him first, that you are aware he doesn't want to be there, but ask him to agree to at least make the best of it by trying what you ask him to do. Act like you're on his side, not the parents, and that you're just doing the best you can in the situation.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#1997811 - 12/11/12 11:07 AM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: Morodiene]  
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Scott Coletta Offline
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Originally Posted by adultpianist
...if a student does not want to learn the piano, he or she should not be forced into it or persuaded into it by whatever means. The child will become resetful. You cannot make anyone do something they just do not like.


I agree that a child shouldn't be forced. The trick is figuring out the line between being forced and being respectfully disciplined. Many parents give their kids too much say in what they do. I'm not saying that a kid shouldn't have a say, but there comes a point where parents have to put things into perspective for kids, and ultimately they just have to make the decision for them. The thing is, does a 12 year old kid know what's best for himself? In this case, this child thinks that playing piano is just pressing buttons! The issue is not about forcing the kid. It's about respectfully nurturing him, teaching him about something that he doesn't know enough about yet to decide that he doesn't like it. If you are listening to the child's feelings and way of understanding, and skillfully and carefully attaching new understanding to that, this is not forcing. Forcing is saying "You're going to do this whether you like it or not... stop your complaining!" But a lot of parents, not wanting to force their kids, just let their kids call all the shots. Besides missing out on opportunities, there's building character... having respect, compassion, and not being self-centered. Kids who get accustomed to having their way too much... I don't want to be around them when they grow up. smile But equally problematic is being forceful. This breeds resentment, distrust, and shame. It's all about respect...

Originally Posted by Morodiene
Be sure that you have a little talk with him first, that you are aware he doesn't want to be there, but ask him to agree to at least make the best of it by trying what you ask him to do. Act like you're on his side, not the parents, and that you're just doing the best you can in the situation.


Kids need to be understood, but you can't keep them happy all the time. For them to grow, they'll have to hurt a little sometimes. That's alright as long as they feel equally understood and cared for.


#1997831 - 12/11/12 12:12 PM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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Figuring out why he hates piano is the first step. Did he have a really bad teacher and ruined it for him? Do his parents demand more than he can handle and have ruined it for him? Is he too busy and piano adds more to stress than pleasure? Does he really not like piano? Maybe he likes a different instrument? Maybe he wants to do more sports or math instead of music? But of course this should really be the parents' responsibility...

Parents need to be firm only on the essential things, in my mind. For example, kids should go to school. There should be no wriggle room. But piano is not essential, one can have a great music education without playing piano. Forcing something non-essential on a kid, without helping him solving the deeper issues, will only make his life more miserable.

I teach an academic enrichment program at a local school (this is one of the volunteering activities I do besides my day job). The program is wildly popular and parents are all very enthusiastic about it. But each year, there are a handful of kids who are forced to be there by their parents. They are grumpy, they refuse to do the work, they misbehave, they are a big distraction to the rest of the kids who love to come to the class. I wish I could persuade the parents to let these kids quit. They are not gaining anything, they probably grow more hatred toward the subject, why not let them use the time on a subject that they like? In my mind, piano is indeed an enrichment program (at least in districts where music education is still mandatory).

#1997850 - 12/11/12 12:54 PM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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rada Offline
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I feel like I should make a booklet of the advice given and give each new parent one so if might help them figure out which situation might fit them best. Lots of good ideas.



rada

#2002373 - 12/20/12 09:32 PM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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BLUEPIANIST Offline
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I want to thank all of you for your advice and kind words. I thought this was a limiting situation and wanted an unbiased opinion from you. I plan to make the most of the 8 weeks and perhaps some good will come of it. Again, thanks.

JEannette


Jeannette Lambert
MA-NCMTNA-Adjudicator for the National Piano Guild
www.jlambertpiano.com
Atkinson, NH. USA
#2005843 - 12/29/12 01:52 AM advice on a transfer student [Re: BLUEPIANIST]  
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Originally Posted by BLUEPIANIST
. . . during the inter-view he told me that he really doesn't want lessons and thinks piano is just pushing buttons. . .

Jeannette,

That is a uniquely interesting view of piano playing. Taken literally, this could mean that your young man's instrument has an array of "buttons" that electronically sound pitches. Does he, in fact, have a Mickey Mouse Keyboard? If so, there might be 85% of the problem.

Ed





In music, everything one does correctly helps everything else.
#2006175 - 12/29/12 07:29 PM Re: advice on a transfer student [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Originally Posted by adultpianist
if a student does not want to learn the piano, he or she should not be forced into it or persuaded into it by whatever means.

That is correct.

In argumentation, this is called an asserted conclusion.

Support your argument. We push our children into activities they do not want all the time. It's called parenting. I made mine attend school, learn basics, such as English, Math, History, etc. If I'd let them, they would have dropped out of school at Kindergarten.


"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

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