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How long can this possibly last?
#2319329 08/24/14 04:21 PM
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My middle daughter is seeking help with piano. Actually taking suggestions. At the moment, I'm sitting here in the room because she just "wants me here for any questions."

Uh?

This is the same child who if I even raise an eyebrow or appear to be loitering even near the place where she is playing piano, will totally shut down. And god forbid I say anything like "slow down" or "don't forget to do XYZ" and I get the look of death and that's the end of that.

But yesterday she was receptive to all sorts of ideas and suggestions. So far today, I even tested the waters by saying, "are you supposed to be accenting every other note during chromatics?" And instead of getting glared at, she said, "No! Is that what it sounds like? Lemme try again." You could have knocked me over with a feather. And I am already sitting down.

So I'm trying not to flinch or react or do anything but be here in case she needs help. Gonna keep reading PW so I don't do anything to scare the wildlife away. No sudden motions.

I feel like David Attenborough on some nature show: "The rarely observed motivated middle child has approached the piano. She is cautiously playing it, yet watchful for any sudden judgment or correction. Let's watch and see."

Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319330 08/24/14 04:28 PM
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Children have developing brains that alter the emergent property of consciousness and its subconscious influences as the child's brain matures.


"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson
Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319348 08/24/14 06:01 PM
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Wow, she knocked it out of the park today!

She was super motivated to do everything right. She was only supposed to start a new piece and learn the right hand, first line only as of her last lesson. Sometime earlier this week, we sat down together and I slowed her WAY down and challenged her to figure out the left hand, and she did. Then she asked if she could try to put hands together and before she knew it, she had two hands together, the whole first line. I joked that if she kept working like that, she'd probably have the whole first page hands together, and blow the socks off her teacher. She looked like someone had just given her a puppy. "ohmigod, she'd be SO SURPRISED!!!!!" She went to town and wouldn't you know it? She had the first page down, hands together, phrased, with general expression, as of yesterday.

She did this, however, at the expense of the piece she was supposed to be finishing, so I did give her a little finger shake a couple of days ago that she should not just jump to the new piece just because she was excited to surprise her teacher. She had also skipped part of her scales. So I said that her surprise for her teacher is going to be ruined if she didn't do all the other things too. It's like giving someone a present but before you give it to them, you kick them in the shins and then wonder why they don't like your present. She giggled, but then got a little sullen I wasn't as excited as she was. But even though she looked about ready to withdraw again, she stepped up to the plate and worked on that one first yesterday and today. So now it's basically where it should be.

Today she worked hard on the older piece (good girl) and then gave me a look as I was sitting here, and I said "what?" And she pulled up the chair we keep next to the piano for her teacher and patted the seat. "Can we finish the new piece? PLEASE?"

So I got the pleasure of showing her that after the first line of the second page, it goes into its little recapitulation, which is a good bit of the first page, exactly the same! She was grinning ear to ear knowing that learning one line meant learning effectively four. It left the last few lines of the whole piece, but since it was totally novel I said she should be happy she got so far, and not sweat it, her teacher is going to be blown away just as it is. And she said, "but we're SO CLOSE!" I said, "sure, but it's at least another 45 minutes today to do that, and you don't have to." She insisted. So...we did it. LOL!

She said, at the end, "I see what you mean about the other stuff. She's not going to be as excited knowing that I didn't totally finish the old piece first. I'm going to work on it tomorrow before she comes. Then she'll be ready for her BIG SURPRISE."

This kid. I swear.

Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319366 08/24/14 07:12 PM
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I remember when I was young, I was very difficult to work with. No one needed to tell me to doodle around on the piano, I would do that on my own. But if you gave me an assignment, I would just roll my eyes at you and start running around causing havoc.

It takes finesse for anyone to get on that self-propelled track where motivation comes from within, rather than from without. It takes extra finesse with a child. Sounds like you are doing a great job!


Danzas Argentinas, Alberto Ginastera
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Prelude and Fugue in G Major, Well-Tempered Clavier Vol. 2, Johann Sebastian Bach
Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319377 08/24/14 07:59 PM
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That is great news, TwoSnowFlakes, sounds like a real breakthrough!

I think that in order to learn, one must be humble. But to be humble, you have to be secure in the fact that you don't know stuff, and that's OK. Some kids have a hard time with this because they're are insecure or feel ashamed with what they don't know. Perhaps she's had some trouble with competition in the past or something that causes her to shy away from anything that might bring her close to competing?

It's amazing when students overcome these hurdles - it can totally transform them! I'm very happy that you were able to witness this moment with your daughter. Congrats! laugh


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319378 08/24/14 08:01 PM
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Maturity happens. smile


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319387 08/24/14 08:30 PM
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But could maturity be a little less messy, dramatic and loud, pretty please?

She's a tough nut to crack. Her sister was far more tractable. But she takes violin and it was harder for me to help her.

I'm sure something will get her down soon and then she'll be snotty and difficult about it for a while.

[Ha, I hear piano again.]

But I think ultimately she'll get it together. She's difficult with her teachers, too, but at the same time she's not truly looking to get out of the work. Her teacher is very strict. But she WANTED her. She had a different teacher earlier and she was the one who requested this teacher--she and I had different teachers for a while, so she had the opportunity to observe the difference. She said she knows she can be stubborn but she can tell when someone is letting her off the hook.

I don't know how it works, but it does. I almost can't really stand to listen to the lessons--the teacher is sharp toned and gets that edge to her voice very quickly with her if she's not totally following directions, and I always cringe, thinking my daughter is just going to shut down, but she never totally does.

But if anybody backs off of her and lowers the level of detail, my daughter gets upset. It happened in ballet as well, actually. She had a very strict ballet instructor and then the teacher changed for this past year. The new teacher doesn't do much in class other than smile and say how great everybody is doing. After a month of this, my daughter came home grumbling about it. The bloom came off the rose pretty fast there. She's got another year with this teacher, too, and she's ready to quit. I don't know any kids who want to quit because the teacher isn't tough enough.

So, I just need to figure out how to connect her clear positive desire for detail and technical correction with her willingness to work and receive those corrections. For now I'm ok letting her get there because something is sort of marinating inside and I feel like I can just trust that it'll happen at some point. She's only 10 and she's only on her second year of piano, so it's not like she's got any big decisions to make any time soon.

[I just offered a movie to the kids to watch. I got a "yeah!" from the older one, and a "noooo, I want to keep playing piano. Is that weird?" from the middle one. Yeah, a little. I'm sure this is not sustainable (we're on four hours of practicing today, and two hours yesterday and more than an hour a day every other day this past week), but hopefully she can find a bit of a sweet spot there between this and nothing. Or maybe she's going to really find herself in this? I don't know. Kids do latch onto things sometimes. Maybe she's got the bug.]

She's her own thing, that's for sure.

Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319390 08/24/14 08:43 PM
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How old is she, if I may ask?

Re: How long can this possibly last?
Francisco Scalco #2319393 08/24/14 08:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Francisco Scalco
How old is she, if I may ask?


She's 10... Like I said, she's young. She's got plenty of time to figure things out--piano and otherwise! smile

Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319420 08/24/14 09:39 PM
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes
But could maturity be a little less messy, dramatic and loud, pretty please?


No, sorry, it doesn't work that way. In fact, you can look forward to more gusty sighs and eye rolling--commentary to your ignorance of all things basic teen. I mean, c'mon, TwoSnowflakes! Puh-leeze with a capital PUH! smirk *rolls eyes* grin

Maturity is a series of transitions that can be measured, roughly, in half-steps. There is a half step of stability (her current position) which will eventually proceed to a half step of instability (eye rolling, arguing, back talking, monster girl) which will eventually proceed to the next half step of stability (responsibility, grace, thoughtfulness, angel girl). It starts roughly at age two (sweetness) to age two and a half (the "terrible twos"), and continues like that, although as time marches on, the cycle elongates and you can't really predict when the half-step occurs. But occur it will, and often it is preceded by comfort behavior, in which your child will play with toys "too young" for her age, before putting them away for good. It's like, they sense the transition, find some comfort in what they've known, and then launch into the next unknown.

Sorry for the lecture... But, you asked, and I'm just sayin'. I could be wrong, of course, but, no, it's messy.

Ride the wave as long as it lasts!


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319438 08/24/14 10:33 PM
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Be sure to tell her you love to hear her play. But do this when she is away from the piano. And don't elaborate. :-)

or something like that....

Forrest


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Haydn Hob. XVI: 23 in F major
Debussy Arabesque #1, Reverie
Bach BWV 874, 883
My beliefs are only that unless I can prove them.
Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319481 08/25/14 02:20 AM
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Originally Posted by TwoSnowflakes

I feel like David Attenborough on some nature show: "The rarely observed motivated middle child has approached the piano. She is cautiously playing it, yet watchful for any sudden judgment or correction. Let's watch and see."

Priceless..

Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319629 08/25/14 10:04 AM
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Very good. Soon it may be time to contemplate a second grand piano!

Re: How long can this possibly last?
Forrest Halford #2319635 08/25/14 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by woodog
Be sure to tell her you love to hear her play. But do this when she is away from the piano. And don't elaborate. :-)

or something like that....

Forrest


Forrest nailed it! And, just to elaborate a little about not elaborating--that's the second most important part!!! It is so easy to go too far, and you know how it is when you try to drive home a point with them... You can practically see the off switch click when they are no longer hearing you--you are just "wah wah wah wah wahhhh," like Charlie Brown's teacher.

Been there. Done that. A million times. Slow learner. Keep it simple. Say what you mean, then shut up. It's not easy to shut up, because you have so much love and experience to elaborate! But you have to trust that the love and elaboration comes through at the start of the simplest message and that they will find their way from that. I can remember several examples of times when someone important to me said something simple to me (encouraging or discouraging), said it only once, and it effected me for the rest of my life (like the time my second grade teacher said, "I like the way you make your voice go up when you read the question mark on the page." Or, like a few years later when my piano teacher let out a derisive chuckle when I pulled from my satchel a piece of home-made manuscript paper with very clumsy music notation on it--my first (and last) attempt at composing something.)

Well, I could go on... Know what I mean? grin


I may not be fast,
but at least I'm slow.
Re: How long can this possibly last?
Cinnamonbear #2319646 08/25/14 10:40 AM
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That's right. Music can be just a normal part of family life like what I had. A real library and no T.V. or the other distractions that weren't around when I was growing up such as the internet (an exception can be made for Piano World wink ).

There will be years and years of opportunity later to become distracted!

Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319718 08/25/14 02:33 PM
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>She's got another year with this teacher, too, and she's ready to quit. I don't know any kids who want to quit because the teacher isn't tough enough.

Ah, isn't that a well known trait, called the 'high achiever' or something?

I'm in the same category. Some (many) teachers get lazy with students that are not going fast enough (which unfortunately is self fulfilling). And then, what can you do if there is no other teacher available - quit or drag along...


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Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319782 08/25/14 05:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Cinnamonbear
Keep it simple. Say what you mean, then shut up. It's not easy to shut up, because you have so much love and experience to elaborate! But you have to trust that the love and elaboration comes through at the start of the simplest message and that they will find their way from that. I can remember several examples of times when someone important to me said something simple to me (encouraging or discouraging), said it only once, and it effected me for the rest of my life (like the time my second grade teacher said, "I like the way you make your voice go up when you read the question mark on the page." Or, like a few years later when my piano teacher let out a derisive chuckle when I pulled from my satchel a piece of home-made manuscript paper with very clumsy music notation on it--my first (and last) attempt at composing something.)
So true. So very true. I also have these short words of encouragement or discouragement etched in my memory. Both had life-changing effects.


Du holde Kunst...
Re: How long can this possibly last?
TwoSnowflakes #2319802 08/25/14 06:59 PM
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It could last forever or a few days but it sounds like you're doing everything right smile

Might also be a good time to suggest some piano responsibility outside the house, preteen is a good time to start playing for people besides mom and teacher, maybe accompanying school choir for one piece a concert, or playing with violin students or something? presented like "here's something you might be ready for" not "here's something you should do."

enjoy!


Heather W. Reichgott, piano

Working on:
Beethoven - Diabelli Variations Op. 120
Beethoven/Liszt - Symphony no. 7
Tommy (whole show)

I love Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and new music

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