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Brilliant but Stubborn #2412770
04/22/15 09:38 AM
04/22/15 09:38 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 50
North Carolina
Angela62213 Offline OP
Full Member
Angela62213  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 50
North Carolina
Hey there everyone!
I have a child who is an absolute natural at playing the piano. I have had her for 6 months (she was a transfer) and before that she had only taken for 2-3 months with her previous teacher. At this point she is finished with the level one Faber book and has completely skipped level 2A and is making her way through level 2B at an above average rate but still having enough difficulty that I think this is the level for her.

My problem is that when she cannot just read something she gets frustrated and thinks she can't do it and so getting her to practice regularly is a challenge. Even in lessons getting her to slow the difficult section down to a point that it is accessible to her current ability is really difficult. However, when she does practice and "gets into it" she progresses more quickly than any student I have and she really enjoys it.

How can I get her to see that if she just slows down much the difficulty will be eliminated and she will be able to progress easily? She is brilliant and fun to teach when she feels confident (and is one of my few students who really gets into "interpreting" their music).

Just a side note, she is 9 so I understand that some of this may be her age.



"Prayer is when you talk to God, Meditation is when you are listening, Playing the piano allows you to do both at the same time"
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Re: Brilliant but Stubborn [Re: Angela62213] #2412779
04/22/15 10:25 AM
04/22/15 10:25 AM
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,019
Brussels, Belgium
S
Saranoya Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Saranoya  Offline
1000 Post Club Member
S

Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 1,019
Brussels, Belgium
If you will forgive me for butting in (because while I may be a teacher, I don't teach piano, and I only deal with kids as young as this one on Sundays during cub scout meetings), I have a suggestion that may or may not prove useful to you.

Give her something that you're sure she cannot read at first (or second, or third) sight, but that you are also reasonably sure she will be able to play within a week (or less) with regular (slow) practice.

Then give her a "practice calendar", on which she gets to color in a smiley face (or some similar system) whenever she has done one of the things you want her to do each day. For example:

- practiced measures x to y slowly (is she old enough to use a metronome?) x times
- played this tricky right-hand measure x times without mistakes
...

(fill in as you see fit)

If you think the parents will, get them to "sign off" on the practice sheet each day, just to make sure she will do the things you told her to do in the way you told her to do them. And tell your student up front: this piece is too difficult for you to read right now, but if you do these things every day, I promise you'll be able to play it by your next lesson. If I'm wrong, we'll try something else, but you have to promise me that you'll try it this way first, for just one week.

(If she is *not* one of those kids who will eschew reading in favor of memory once they've heard something played, you could perhaps demonstrate the piece for her in the lesson in order to make it more attractive).

If you choose the music and the practice goals right, and if she loves music (which it sounds like she does), then the ability to play something with practice that she couldn't play before, should be all the reward she needs.

Of course, if you do this, you have to be *very* sure that the piece you pick is in fact far enough out of her reach that she won't be able to play it on the third straight play-through at home. Yet it should not so far out of her reach that following your instructions will *not* result in her being able to play it within a week ...


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

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
Re: Brilliant but Stubborn [Re: Angela62213] #2412782
04/22/15 10:27 AM
04/22/15 10:27 AM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member
John v.d.Brook  Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted by Angela62213
How can I get her to see that if she just slows down much the difficulty will be eliminated and she will be able to progress easily?

That's the 64 million dollar question of the ages. If you can find an answer, copyright it and retire a very rich lady!

Seriously, I have teens, whom I've taught since day one, who cannot grasp this concept, even though we go over it lesson after lesson. My suspicion is that's it's due to a mix of immaturity, lack of experience, and know-it-all-ism which is a defining characteristic of being a child.

On a practical note, I spend an inordinate amount of lesson time working with students precisely that way, so we can solve these technical problems. Students progress. My hope is that one day, the light will dawn.

In the meantime, best wishes!

John


"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
Re: Brilliant but Stubborn [Re: Angela62213] #2412802
04/22/15 11:14 AM
04/22/15 11:14 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,706
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
7000 Post Club Member
AZNpiano  Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,706
Orange County, CA
One word: metronome.

All of my "brilliant" students are instructed to use the metronome, heavily. I don't have a problem asking them play the entire piece through with the metronome, eliminating all the tempo changes. We use the metronome during lessons. I demonstrate how to play slowly with the metronome.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Brilliant but Stubborn [Re: Angela62213] #2412842
04/22/15 01:29 PM
04/22/15 01:29 PM
Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,530
UK
Nikolas Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Nikolas  Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Joined: Nov 2007
Posts: 6,530
UK
I can testify to what AZN says on many accounts!

And now with smart phones you can get a free metronome wherever you are! :P

Re: Brilliant but Stubborn [Re: AZNpiano] #2412889
04/22/15 04:03 PM
04/22/15 04:03 PM
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member
John v.d.Brook  Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
One word: metronome.

All of my "brilliant" students are instructed to use the metronome, heavily. I don't have a problem asking them play the entire piece through with the metronome, eliminating all the tempo changes. We use the metronome during lessons. I demonstrate how to play slowly with the metronome.

Yes, it works great in the studio, but how do you get students to use one at home? In this, I've had very limited success.


"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
Re: Brilliant but Stubborn [Re: John v.d.Brook] #2413313
04/23/15 11:32 PM
04/23/15 11:32 PM
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 35
J
jc111 Offline
Full Member
jc111  Offline
Full Member
J

Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 35
Metronome + voice recording apps work great with my 10-year-old, electronic-device-obsessed boy. thumb

He got assigned Allegro in F major by Haydn weeks ago. The first week he played it FAST because it said "Allegro" crazy . Then his teacher asked him to practice with metronome and wrote down the speed he should practice with. I let him use a small tablet with a metronome app and later he started to record his practicing with the metronome beat. Of course he experiments with various speeds laugh . He had great fun practicing and got much better the next lesson wink . This week he starts to wean off using metronome and it sounds pretty even to me.


Originally Posted by John v.d.Brook
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
One word: metronome.

All of my "brilliant" students are instructed to use the metronome, heavily. I don't have a problem asking them play the entire piece through with the metronome, eliminating all the tempo changes. We use the metronome during lessons. I demonstrate how to play slowly with the metronome.

Yes, it works great in the studio, but how do you get students to use one at home? In this, I've had very limited success.


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