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Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: TimR] #2228970 02/10/14 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR


There is more than one thing you're expecting this teacher to do.

One is to know your capabilities well, assess your strengths and weaknesses, and develop a plan to fill in the gaps.

The other is to execute the corrections for your gaps, to help you with very specific skills.

You're focused on the second (she wants me to sing Eb) but I think your frustration is mostly with the first.

If you're going to stay with her, I think you need to split the responsibility so that you do more of the first, and that will end up with you being more directive about what you want her to do for the second.

Knowing how to relate to the teacher is a bit of a dance, that develops over time and at some stages must change. The rules are a bit vague, especially in the case of an adult teacher looking for help.



Yes, I think you are bang-on here. Yes, I am asking a lot of different things from her.

The diploma requires I demonstrate I can teach to grade 6 level, and this includes not just playing but also aural, etc, etc, and sightsinging. So, I reason, I need to be able to do it, before I can demonstrate I can teach it. The diploma, and everything it entails, were what we agreed to when she took me on.

With respect to assessing my skills and needs, this is where I feel she really hasn't got a handle on what I need, and I'll give another example. She will roundly congratulate me that I can sing back pitches (or melodies) she plays on the piano. Now, this is a grade 1 skill. Yes, I can hear pitches, I know I am not tone-deaf. Yes, it is nice to get a compliment, but even so....

Next lesson she will ask me to take 4-part dictation. Now, personally, I find that a tad trickier!

I have fended her off with the dictation by working myself from a website where all the materials (and answers) are laid out in a step-by-step manner. I think as Tim has hinted, I need to be a lot more specific and directive about what I need for other skills. Maybe sight-singing I just need to get on and do myself and make sure she only assesses me at a level I am competent at.

Perhaps I should also mention, she has perfect pitch (I don't). I use solfa (she doesn't). But that really shouldn't be a problem.

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Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: TimR] #2228974 02/10/14 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR


You would be typical of the altos in our choir.


Yes, I did used to sing alto, but in school I remember hitting notes like Eb. Not comfortably. Certainly now, I couldn't. I blame that on the kids. Too much testosterone! smile

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: ten left thumbs] #2228976 02/10/14 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs

With respect to assessing my skills and needs, this is where I feel she really hasn't got a handle on what I need, and I'll give another example. She will roundly congratulate me that I can sing back pitches (or melodies) she plays on the piano. Now, this is a grade 1 skill. Yes, I can hear pitches, I know I am not tone-deaf. Yes, it is nice to get a compliment, but even so....

There is no real assessment and no plan. Having you sing back doesn't get at the underlying skills either. But really, I think you should be with a teacher who can do true assessment and come up with a plan, rather than you doing this part for her, for the reasons that Morodiene said. I went through this as a student. It's like pulling teeth combined with blind man's buff.

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: ten left thumbs] #2228999 02/10/14 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
I think probably quick advice to ditch this teacher is a bit premature.


Good evening. If I may, it appears to me that the teacher isn't teaching voice or singing, but rather sight singing. She is asking for a confirmation of the written note, nothing more. As I understand what Thumbs has written, the teacher sees a reading difficulty not a physical one and is saying "yes, you can sing this note, don't finagle just belt it out anyway you can." Thumbs seems to indicate that this piano teacher is also a voice teacher, so she certainly has a certain experience in judging what a person in capable of.

Nothing in what Ten Left Thumbs has written permits me to think that she is incompetent, or has no plan. The harsh criticism of her in different posts strikes me as gratuitous.

The image that I have Thumbs, is that this teacher sees you as more capable than you see yourself. Who knows, maybe she is right!

This said, if you are as unhappy as you seemed in your opening post I couldn't blame you for moving on, but I don't consider that a condemnation of the teacher.

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: landorrano] #2229000 02/10/14 01:23 PM
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
I think probably quick advice to ditch this teacher is a bit premature.


Good evening. If I may, it appears to me that the teacher isn't teaching voice or singing, but rather sight singing. She is asking for a confirmation of the written note, nothing more. As I understand what Thumbs has written, the teacher sees a reading difficulty not a physical one and is saying "yes, you can sing this note, don't finagle just belt it out anyway you can." Thumbs seems to indicate that this piano teacher is also a voice teacher, so she certainly has a certain experience in judging what a person in capable of.

Nothing in what Ten Left Thumbs has written permits me to think that she is incompetent, or has no plan. The harsh criticism of her in different posts strikes me as gratuitous.

The image that I have Thumbs, is that this teacher sees you as more capable than you see yourself. Who knows, maybe she is right!

This said, if you are as unhappy as you seemed in your opening post I couldn't blame you for moving on, but I don't consider that a condemnation of the teacher.
If I have a student who can't sing a note because of a lack of technique, I address that issue. There is no reason why an alto can't sing the note in question if given the right directions. It may take a few weeks of building up the voice, but if TLT is expected to sight sing this stuff for exams, then chances are hitting this note will be a part of that. If this note is not a part of it, then the teacher should only be giving her examples that cover the range expected for exams.


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Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: landorrano] #2229017 02/10/14 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Thumbs seems to indicate that this piano teacher is also a voice teacher, so she certainly has a certain experience in judging what a person in capable of.

Can you quote the words that say that? I looked through all of tlt's posts and saw no reference to "voice teacher". And if she were, a voice teacher who leaves her student struggling to do as asked would make me especially cautious.

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: Morodiene] #2229044 02/10/14 02:54 PM
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Just to clarify - my teacher is also a singing teacher.

Originally Posted by Morodiene
If I have a student who can't sing a note because of a lack of technique, I address that issue. There is no reason why an alto can't sing the note in question if given the right directions. It may take a few weeks of building up the voice, but if TLT is expected to sight sing this stuff for exams, then chances are hitting this note will be a part of that. If this note is not a part of it, then the teacher should only be giving her examples that cover the range expected for exams.


Morodiene, this is all really good to know. Just a few weeks? I could cope with that. I haven't especially pursued any kind of singing development, as it seemed like an awful lot of work, and tbh, I have a lot on my plate as it is. If that's really feasible after a few weeks, I may give it a try.

With a different teacher. smile

But what you said made me think, uh oh, best look up the exam requirements and see what I actually need. They are quite flexible. The range for sightsinging even up to grade 8 is an octave, and the examiner will fit the test to the vocal range, if you say on the day. Beyond that, the candidate is free to sing in bass or treble clef (just looking at the exercises, I realize bass clef suits me better) or to take up or down the octave as needed. Or whistle, and I whistle quite well. smile

So really I think as long as I focus on the goal of being able to sightsing at grade 6 level, to the point I can demonstrate I can teach that, all will be well.

As for how long I stick with this teacher, that really depends on the outcome of chatting with her next lesson. She has an 8-week notice period in any case, and I will definitely use whatever lessons I pay for, no matter what. But I would rather stick to my plan - stick with her for 2014, quit in December. That will have given my 2 full years with her, which feels like a good enough time to take a break and move on.

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: ten left thumbs] #2229050 02/10/14 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ten left thumbs
Just to clarify - my teacher is also a singing teacher.

Originally Posted by Morodiene
If I have a student who can't sing a note because of a lack of technique, I address that issue. There is no reason why an alto can't sing the note in question if given the right directions. It may take a few weeks of building up the voice, but if TLT is expected to sight sing this stuff for exams, then chances are hitting this note will be a part of that. If this note is not a part of it, then the teacher should only be giving her examples that cover the range expected for exams.


Morodiene, this is all really good to know. Just a few weeks? I could cope with that. I haven't especially pursued any kind of singing development, as it seemed like an awful lot of work, and tbh, I have a lot on my plate as it is. If that's really feasible after a few weeks, I may give it a try.

With a different teacher. smile

But what you said made me think, uh oh, best look up the exam requirements and see what I actually need. They are quite flexible. The range for sightsinging even up to grade 8 is an octave, and the examiner will fit the test to the vocal range, if you say on the day. Beyond that, the candidate is free to sing in bass or treble clef (just looking at the exercises, I realize bass clef suits me better) or to take up or down the octave as needed. Or whistle, and I whistle quite well. smile

So really I think as long as I focus on the goal of being able to sightsing at grade 6 level, to the point I can demonstrate I can teach that, all will be well.

As for how long I stick with this teacher, that really depends on the outcome of chatting with her next lesson. She has an 8-week notice period in any case, and I will definitely use whatever lessons I pay for, no matter what. But I would rather stick to my plan - stick with her for 2014, quit in December. That will have given my 2 full years with her, which feels like a good enough time to take a break and move on.


The exam requirements sound much more reasonable. Just work on sight singing with your teacher and let her know that the exam will be in a comfortable range for you so she can give you appropriate examples. And let you whistle. smile


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Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: Morodiene] #2229053 02/10/14 03:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
And let you whistle. smile


I am unable to whistle and would be totally lost. If you know how to teach that, give me a hint.

Last edited by TimR; 02/10/14 03:12 PM.

gotta go practice
Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: TimR] #2229060 02/10/14 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR


I am unable to whistle and would be totally lost. If you know how to teach that, give me a hint.


You just put your lips together and blow!

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: landorrano] #2229068 02/10/14 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by landorrano
Originally Posted by TimR


I am unable to whistle and would be totally lost. If you know how to teach that, give me a hint.


You just put your lips together and blow!


Arggh! I so did not see that coming.


gotta go practice
Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: ten left thumbs] #2229078 02/10/14 03:59 PM
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I can't do it either. "Put your lips together and blow" doesn't help much...


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: TimR] #2229086 02/10/14 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Morodiene
And let you whistle. smile


I am unable to whistle and would be totally lost. If you know how to teach that, give me a hint.


Funnily enough, I do remember being taught to whistle, by my mum. It has something to do with the position of the tongue in the mouth. You need to kind of brace the tongue upward, but with the tip tucked behind the front bottom teeth. And you curve the sides of the tongue slightly upward in the mouth. You adjust the pitch by up and down movement of the tongue.

Let me know if this works, and I'll consider teaching whistling too, in case piano students dry up. wink

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: Polyphonist] #2229089 02/10/14 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I can't do it either. "Put your lips together and blow" doesn't help much...


It's a line from a famous, and deservedly considered classic, movie.


gotta go practice
Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: ten left thumbs] #2229091 02/10/14 04:13 PM
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I can't whistle. On a side note. When I expressed some desire to sing as an aid to ear training, my very garden variety piano teacher but good enough to get paid to sing around town, gave me some easy to do exercises to get my range extended. A good teacher knows more than what you need, they know how to get you there. Conversely, I have found that many who can do something (like sing) easily, don't really understand how they do it and consequently have trouble explaining the how to others.

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Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: TimR] #2229097 02/10/14 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I can't do it either. "Put your lips together and blow" doesn't help much...


It's a line from a famous, and deservedly considered classic, movie.

Are we talking about that Humphrey Bogart film from the 40s?


Regards,

Polyphonist
Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: TimR] #2229102 02/10/14 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I can't do it either. "Put your lips together and blow" doesn't help much...


It's a line from a famous, and deservedly considered classic, movie.


It definitely deserves to be considered classic, as it has that line in it!

You know you don't have to act with me, Steve. You don't have to say anything, and you don't have to do anything. Not a thing. Oh, maybe just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you, Steve? You just put your lips together and... blow.

It's Lauren Bacall who says this line, in her first film, to Humphrey Bogart. I think it was start of a beautiful friendship!

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: ten left thumbs] #2229302 02/10/14 11:33 PM
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Not only I can whistle but I can whistle double tones and harmonics as well, but I don't control them almost at all.

Otherwise I have almost 2 octaves of range while whistling! HA!

Now, what were we talking about again?

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: Nikolas] #2229531 02/11/14 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Nikolas

Now, what were we talking about again?

Staying positive. Anyone remember what that is?

Re: having trouble staying positive [Re: landorrano] #2231144 02/13/14 06:36 PM
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Its actually more akin to how ones mouth looks when playing the upper registers of a flute. Its kind of hard to describe but easy to demonstrate


Practice as if you are the worst, play as if you are the best.
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