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#2118291 - 07/15/13 11:32 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by keystring
I would think that a question like this has a pragmatic purpose, rather than being an invitation to philosophical debate. A student asking this question wants to know what kinds of things to do and not to do. Rather than getting hung up on a particular word, it makes more sense to address the purpose. If you are teaching, and a student needs your help, are you going to respond literally to a poorly phrased question, or are you going to surmise where the help is needed, and respond accordingly?

I will answer (almost) any question a student asks me to the best of my ability. And yes, I will take their question at face value - I will answer what they asked, not what they might have meant to ask.

I'm no piano teacher by any means. But my job is very similar to that of a piano teacher, from a teaching perspective. I teach people how to generate and install SSL certificates (computer security stuff). I get people that have a great idea of what they are doing and i get people that have 0 idea. What makes me good at my job is that i understand the IDEA the person is trying to convey to me, not beat them up for using incorrect verbiage. I'll clarify what they said with an easy to understand analogy to check with them for my understanding of what they are trying to convey to me. I feel these are good techniques for communicating to people on a personal level and accomplishes more. Communication is about conveying ideas and thoughts to another person, the method of doing so is moot in my humble opinion. How one uses that method DOES help convey your thoughts more efficiently, I don't disagree with you there. I used a poor word choice, most definitely. However, as a teacher myself, I find I'm THAT much of a better teacher for knowing how to "read between the lines" if you will.
I believe everyone should, teachers especially, should strive for this quality.

Last edited by Sweet06; 07/15/13 11:33 PM.

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#2118381 - 07/16/13 03:36 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: jdw]  
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As a student, I am always coming up with my own strategies for learning. I know what to do and what not to do.

#2118509 - 07/16/13 12:01 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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Originally Posted by Sweet06
I'm no piano teacher by any means. But my job is very similar to that of a piano teacher, from a teaching perspective. I teach people how to generate and install SSL certificates (computer security stuff). I get people that have a great idea of what they are doing and i get people that have 0 idea. What makes me good at my job is that i understand the IDEA the person is trying to convey to me, not beat them up for using incorrect verbiage. I'll clarify what they said with an easy to understand analogy to check with them for my understanding of what they are trying to convey to me. I feel these are good techniques for communicating to people on a personal level and accomplishes more. Communication is about conveying ideas and thoughts to another person, the method of doing so is moot in my humble opinion. How one uses that method DOES help convey your thoughts more efficiently, I don't disagree with you there. I used a poor word choice, most definitely. However, as a teacher myself, I find I'm THAT much of a better teacher for knowing how to "read between the lines" if you will.
I believe everyone should, teachers especially, should strive for this quality.


Well said. I, too, have taught a lot, tho not piano. There's a lot of learning, including learning from students, to being a good teacher.

And for the record, I think "perfect student" is perfectly understandable smile It's an adjective - a "perfect student" is about someone who is learning, and so it is talking about someone who learns, and someone in the role of student and all that entails. A student who "has no faults" as a student is a different person than a performer whose performance has no faults. Besides, "perfect" isn't defined only as "faultless" - in my dictionary that's not even the first defintion.

Polyphonist likes to pull chains. IMHO smile


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#2118548 - 07/16/13 01:09 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: jotur]  
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Originally Posted by jotur
And for the record, I think "perfect student" is perfectly understandable smile It's an adjective - a "perfect student" is about someone who is learning, and so it is talking about someone who learns, and someone in the role of student and all that entails. A student who "has no faults" as a student is a different person than a performer whose performance has no faults.

Cathy


I define perfect as performing to one's personal individual capability as it exists at that moment.


gotta go practice
#2118559 - 07/16/13 01:35 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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The perfect student listens to what I say, practices hard, and comes back each week with intelligent questions.

#2119038 - 07/17/13 11:52 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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I think the correct word for what we are seeking (as opposed to perfect) is "ideal."


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
M.M., Piano
#2119065 - 07/17/13 12:44 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: DanS]  
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Originally Posted by DanS
and comes back each week with intelligent questions.


like goldilocks, the questions have to be just right.

Hard enough to be interesting, not so hard you don't know the answer. <g>


gotta go practice
#2119093 - 07/17/13 01:40 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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Originally Posted by MM
I think the correct word for what we are seeking (as opposed to perfect) is "ideal."

I agree. I think there is no perfect students or perfect teachers in this world, only "ideal".


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#2119107 - 07/17/13 02:17 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Originally Posted by MM
I think the correct word for what we are seeking (as opposed to perfect) is "ideal."

I agree. I think there is no perfect students or perfect teachers in this world, only "ideal".

What's the difference?


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2119170 - 07/17/13 04:13 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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Polyphonist, leaving completely aside the question of perfect or ideal: are there some characteristics that you prefer a student of yours to have?


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#2119350 - 07/17/13 11:13 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
Polyphonist, leaving completely aside the question of perfect or ideal: are there some characteristics that you prefer a student of yours to have?

Talent, curiosity, work ethic.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2119388 - 07/18/13 12:54 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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How can you differ the talented ones from the non talented ones. Starting as a total beginner when would you realize the student is talented?


"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2119447 - 07/18/13 03:09 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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If you thought the word "perfect" was problematic, the word "talented" will set off a veritable storm of controversy!

Why do you want to be the perfect student? Why not be yourself and enjoy the ride?



#2119474 - 07/18/13 05:47 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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There are things that make a piano teacher's job easier, and others that make them harder. It makes a lot of sense for a student who is new to piano lessons to ask what those are. Reading any teacher forum will show there are frustrations with students "if only they would / wouldn't". What I've picked up over the years:

- Listen to what your teacher is saying, watch what he is doing, and do what he says to do when he says it. This isn't as straightforward as it sound. You can be thinking of your next question while he's teaching or wondering what he really means instead, not really paying attention to a demonstration. When you are to "do" whatever, you may be thinking of a different way of doing it, or thinking "I can't" (or saying it). If you are an adult you may be expecting it to be more complicated than it is. Accepting that it's really that simple is hard.

- Practise at least 5 days a week (4 is borderline).

- Practise what and how you've been told. If it's piece X, measures a - b, make sure you have done at least that. If you have been told to focus on counts, or producing an even sound, or remembering that F# in your G major piece, then focus on those things specifically, every time you practise. If you have been shown a way to approach it, then do it that way. Students will come back trying to impress their teacher with how musically they can play it, what extra things they have done, or what other piece they learned on their own during the week. What has been assigned comes first.

There are a couple of reasons for this. For one, your teacher is shaping your skills by giving you those things to do. If you don't do them, how can they work? Your teacher is also seeing whether what he has given you to do works, and anticipating the progress that will happen. If you don't do it, then you've thrown a spanner into it.

- Know that an experienced teacher will see that you have been practising those things, and often, how you practised, even if you mess up in the lesson because you're nervous in front of the teacher. It can be in how you almost reach for a note that you missed that shows the habit that started to form through consistent practise, some gesture, some hesitation or fluency.

- Most (good) teachers are looking to developing your skills and giving you the knowledge you need. They don't expect you to have those things already, because if you did, then you would not need lessons. You will be getting coordination for the piano, learn how to manipulate the keys and pedals, and your hearing will expand. That is, you'll start hearing when notes are uneven (loud, soft, mushy), when timing is off, and other things. You may have the potential to hear such things, but until you learn what to listen for, you can't develop it. These things will result in music that sounds rather good. In the meantime, your teacher is listening for those things that they have been teaching you. Not for an impressive virtuoso performance.

- Students worry about the "talent" thing, become anxious about proving that they have it, and worry their teachers will drop them or will hate to have them if they don't have "it". This worry about talent will get students to try like mad to impress their teachers with "virtuoso" performances, which teachers will then see as someone who is "full of himself" rather than seeing it for the anxiety that it is. Anyway, it's rather useless advice to cite a preference for talent, since this isn't something for you to "do".

- Arrive on time, leave on time, pay on time. Take lessons for long enough (let's see a year at minimum - but think years), and make your commitment consistent week after week, even when the novelty wears off.

- You may worry about what your teacher thinks about you, but teachers are also performing a service for you. When you listen to them when they teach, and try what they ask you to do, then you are expressing appreciation for their work and knowledge. When you appreciate your own progress rather than castigating yourself, this is actually an appreciation of your teacher's work. Most teachers hope that you enjoy the journey, but also understand full well that there are frustrations and days of doubt.

A lot of the rest is a matter of balance. A student who is indifferent to everything is like a wet blanket or dead wood. Curiosity gives the teacher an impetus to teach more. But jumping all over the place like an excited puppy that wants to smell all the flowers at once is not fun. Where do you find the right line for following instructions on one hand, and initiative on the other. The student who goes off on his own tangent can create a mess that the teacher has to clear up, but the student who never does anything on his own is dead wood. Doing a piece by Mozart? Look up Mozart. Is it a Gavotte? Look that up. Trying to study advanced theory? Make sure you can find middle C on the piano and play those chords you've been assigned first. laugh

COMMUNICATE! If you are having difficulties somewhere, a good teacher will often be able to see and hear it as you play what you have practised. He may anticipate it, because most of his students stumble there. But there are times that you should tell him about a problem you are having. Nor will your teacher know that you are, say, interested in theory. Teachers often hesitate to go too deeply into things because of the many students who don't want to.

If you do ask about something and your teacher responds, then follow up on it. If he tells you to do some research, or explore chords, or write something out - do that. Don't keep throwing out one question after another without also working with the answer. (The excited puppy syndrome).

ENJOY every small bit of progress you make, and don't worry that it's too small.

Last edited by keystring; 07/18/13 05:52 AM.
#2119555 - 07/18/13 10:47 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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haha I don't really strive to be "perfect" thats no fun. Mistakes are what define you. Its owning them and correcting them that make them beautiful. I just wanted to know from a teachers perspective what I can do to make it the most enjoyable for us both.


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"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2119576 - 07/18/13 11:27 AM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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Polyphonist, thank you for your statement of preferred characteristics.


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#2119657 - 07/18/13 01:43 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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Originally Posted by Sweet06
How can you differ the talented ones from the non talented ones. Starting as a total beginner when would you realize the student is talented?

I don't normally start with total beginners.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2119765 - 07/18/13 06:21 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Polyphonist]  
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Sweet06
How can you differ the talented ones from the non talented ones. Starting as a total beginner when would you realize the student is talented?

I don't normally start with total beginners.


livin' the dream!

#2120570 - 07/20/13 02:16 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: DanS]  
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Originally Posted by DanS
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Sweet06
How can you differ the talented ones from the non talented ones. Starting as a total beginner when would you realize the student is talented?

I don't normally start with total beginners.


livin' the dream!


If my dream is only teach transfer student, it would be my nightmare.

I personally prefer fresh beginners than transfer students because usually it takes me a lot of effort to un-do the damage or to find the holes to patch up for transfer students.

Not my type of tea.


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#2120708 - 07/20/13 09:01 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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It would be nice to teach excellent transfer students. However, those are very hard to come by. Most transfer students are complete disasters.


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#2120734 - 07/20/13 09:45 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: AZNpiano]  
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
It would be nice to teach excellent transfer students. However, those are very hard to come by. Most transfer students are complete disasters.

I don't teach complete disasters.


Regards,

Polyphonist
#2120791 - 07/20/13 11:28 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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hahahaha. see this makes me worry.... how the heck do i know my teacher isn't teaching me to be this disaster you folks are talking about? he seems awesome but what the heck do i know


"Doesn't practicing on the piano suck?!?!"
"The joy is in the practicing. It's like relationships. Yeah, orgasms are awesome, but you can't make love to someone who you have no relationship with!"
#2120990 - 07/21/13 12:46 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: bzpiano]  
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Originally Posted by ezpiano.org
Originally Posted by DanS
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
Originally Posted by Sweet06
How can you differ the talented ones from the non talented ones. Starting as a total beginner when would you realize the student is talented?

I don't normally start with total beginners.


livin' the dream!


If my dream is only teach transfer student, it would be my nightmare.

I personally prefer fresh beginners than transfer students because usually it takes me a lot of effort to un-do the damage or to find the holes to patch up for transfer students.

Not my type of tea.


I was thinking more along then lines of being able to pick and choose who you teach, as in only advanced students.

#2121009 - 07/21/13 01:23 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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It takes skill to teach a beginner. It is also possible to ruin a beginner, so that you create a mess for any future teacher - if anyone will even take such a student. That is highly unfair to the student who has followed misteaching on guide faith and is now an "undesirable" because of it.

I have often wondered about something. Say there is a teacher who only likes to teach advanced students who already have the skills, so that this teacher can tell his students who to bring out this and that in the music, and the students can do so because of the excellent training they had before. And then this teacher gets a student who is missing basic skills. CAN that teacher recognize what skills are missing, what knowledge isn't there which is needed in order to support his advice for interpreting music? If he doesn't develop students from the ground up, will he know how to give that remediation? Or will he then make the student feel like he "doesn't have the ability" rather than that there are things he needs to learn, which can be learned, in order to later follow interpretation ideas?

Even if a teacher doesn't teach beginners, should he know how to, so that if someone comes along who has talent but is missing underlying skills, he can recognize and address that?

#2121016 - 07/21/13 01:28 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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Or are there perhaps teachers who specialize in the rehabilitation of 'complete disaster' transfer students?


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2121075 - 07/21/13 03:14 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: malkin]  
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Originally Posted by malkin
Or are there perhaps teachers who specialize in the rehabilitation of 'complete disaster' transfer students?

I'm not even thinking about "disaster". I run into things where for example a student goes to an advanced type teacher, and that teacher is telling them to be expressive, to bring something out in the music, to emphasize a voice - whatever - and the student is missing something like knowing what a phrase is, or how to voice with different dynamics. Instead of addressing this, it stays about the interpretation of the piece - how it should sound.

#2121098 - 07/21/13 03:57 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: keystring]  
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Originally Posted by keystring
Even if a teacher doesn't teach beginners, should he know how to, so that if someone comes along who has talent but is missing underlying skills, he can recognize and address that?


To me, the answer to your question is an obvious 'of course!'.

This is just IMHO. But IMHO, a sufficiently advanced student who is not lacking any fundamental skills doesn't really need a good piano teacher. All they need is a very good listener, who can clearly articulate what's missing in a performance, as well as discern what needs to happen to make it better. But *how* to make it better, in a technical sense, is something that a well-trained student at this level should already know.

I'm not saying that being a discerning listener doesn't require quite a particular set of skills on the part of whoever that listener is. What I *am* saying, however, is that the skills required are only a subset of those required in someone who teaches piano at less advanced levels. The discerning listener doesn't even necessarily need to be a pianist themselves, as long as they have sufficient experience listening to, analysing, and meaningfully commenting upon piano performances.

Now, if one *is* an experienced pianist and/or teacher, does that help in knowing what to listen for in an advanced performance? Of course it does. Which is probably why very few (if any) advanced piano students would ever go with a teacher who isn't himself (or herself) an accomplished pianist. But keystring's post asked, indirectly, whether it would be acceptable for a teacher of advanced students not to be able to teach at the basic levels, too.

I think not. I think that if one really wants to hang out a shingle and call themselves a piano teacher, that should imply the ability (if not necessarily the willingness) to teach anyone who walks in the door, no matter what their level is, how many teachers they've had (or haven't had) before, and how bad their ingrained habits are.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
#2121136 - 07/21/13 04:55 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: malkin]  
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Originally Posted by malkin
Or are there perhaps teachers who specialize in the rehabilitation of 'complete disaster' transfer students?

Against my will I've become one. It's no fun.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
#2122921 - 07/25/13 05:43 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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I really like the ten list!!

Since I exclusively teach children, I might add,

11. a family that supports scheduling time to practice.


Learning as I teach.
#2122924 - 07/25/13 05:44 PM Re: Perfect Student [Re: Sweet06]  
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.

Last edited by missbelle; 07/25/13 05:45 PM.

Learning as I teach.
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by Marcos Daniel. 10/19/17 04:35 PM
Damper lift adjustment
by Beemer. 10/19/17 03:56 PM
Aberrant velocity on one key
by MacMacMac. 10/19/17 03:39 PM
Anyone Play Classical Music on Keylab 88
by StrangeCat0. 10/19/17 01:01 PM
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