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Staying committed #2511039
02/15/16 08:40 PM
02/15/16 08:40 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,675
Arghhh Offline OP
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Arghhh  Offline OP
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I have (or had) an adult student who has been taking lessons with me every other week since September. I received an email from her saying that she decided that she isn't going to continue lessons because practicing is too far down on the priority list. I have the feeling that she would still like to learn piano though, so I was considering that if she still wants to learn, to commit to just 15 minutes of practice most days of the week.

I think there is a group of people here who have made this small commitment?? Would it be worth it to propose this to my student? Anything else that keeps you all committed?

Thanks!


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Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511047
02/15/16 08:58 PM
02/15/16 08:58 PM
Joined: Apr 2015
Posts: 17
California, USA
Son N Offline
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California, USA
Nobody is responsible for your passion but yourself. If one truly loves the piano, one will find a time. I think it's just an excuse for not coming to lesson. I think it's best to let her go.

Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511055
02/15/16 09:32 PM
02/15/16 09:32 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,593
Florida
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I have made the commitment of 15 min per day... honestly, it gets me to the piano when I don't feel well, tired, or work is overwhelming. Needless to say, getting there is sometimes the hard part, and the 15 min turns into longer. Every day can't be a 'good, can't wait to practice', but every day can be a practice day.

The commitment works for me.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Staying committed [Re: dogperson] #2511058
02/15/16 09:48 PM
02/15/16 09:48 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
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Jusca Offline
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I think you can mention 15 minute practice can be helpful to progress just in case the student didn't consider that option. Sometimes there are other priorities more important than playing piano and right now may not be a good time to continue lessons. I personally would hate to pay for lessons if I knew I couldn't practice enough to make steady progress.

Last edited by Jusca; 02/15/16 09:49 PM.
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511077
02/15/16 11:07 PM
02/15/16 11:07 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,511
Australia
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earlofmar Online content
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Since the student has only been taking lessons for a very short while perhaps it has just dawned on them the enormity of the task.

I honestly don't know if I could still make progress with only 15 minutes a day, so much would have to be abandoned but I guess others have made it work. So it would be worth pointing out but I think it might only be delaying the inevitable.


Following Trying to follow the Ling Ling 40 hour method

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Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511194
02/16/16 08:47 AM
02/16/16 08:47 AM
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 3,849
Ireland (ex England)
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zrtf90 Offline
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Practising the piano is a bit like solving a cryptic crossword. You don't do anything when you've finished and they're not your own choice of words. What matters is finding the solution.

With piano, it's hard to get together with others the way you can with guitar and singing. The pieces, in the early stages, are not all your own choices. The music we tend to hear most, in movies and on radio, is vocal or combined instruments. Neither take advantage of the piano they way real solo piano music does nor make the same demands.

Progress on the piano is about practising more than playing. It isn't that we can't play something, it's that we don't know how to play something, how to move the body and hands properly and use the best fingers for an achievable and musical solution. So practise is firstly about solving problems, and having found the solutions it's about repetitively working them in, increasing physical, emotional and intellectual skills and abilities. It's not much about the joy of playing music though that reward does come at the end.

People play sports because they enjoy the sport more than they enjoy the winning, and most people lose more than they win in sport. Those who want to play the piano may take it up because they want the rewards of playing music but they don't last long in it unless they also happen to be those that enjoy the discipline of practise that leads to those rewards. That's probably the biggest cause of dropout.



Richard
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511195
02/16/16 08:48 AM
02/16/16 08:48 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,502
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malkin Offline
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I am embarrassed and sheepish at my lesson when I don't feel like I have accomplished anything since the last lesson--and that is when I have practiced!

If you have the 15 minutes conversation with her, let her know that you are willing to focus on goals that are achievable with 15 min/day and that you can structure her lessons accordingly.


Learner
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511203
02/16/16 09:15 AM
02/16/16 09:15 AM
Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 1,129
Houston, TX
Ataru074 Offline
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Houston, TX
Accept as a matter of life that not everybody has our own obsession. Most adults don't realize the amount of effort and drive necessary to learn how to play an instrument, and doesn't matter what they say... they lie and they lie to themselves.

I see that with my wife. Her expectation with the violin was to practice 15/20 minutes, 3 times a week and get better.... reality is that she end up practicing 40/45 minutes 5 times every week and her progress is still relatively slow.

You get a job, they send you for 3 training sessions of 4 days each and you are considered an expert in the field.
You get a job, you stick to it for 3 years and you are now an experienced employee, you stick to it for 7 years and some people start considering you a wizard more powerful than Gandalf the white.

Not with music, and most people are simply not committed or ready for the path. Are they going to regret it later on? probably, for 5 to 10 seconds once in a while... and they will get over it.



Private Piano Teacher. MTNA
working on:
Albeniz: Iberia
Beethoven: Op 53
Bartok: Mikrokosmos vol. 5
Debussy: Estampes
Moszkowski: Op 72
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511221
02/16/16 10:25 AM
02/16/16 10:25 AM
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 510
Midwest USA
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Farmerjones Offline
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Midwest USA
In my opinion, there's a threshold. One must get past the note names. Then, how to build a chord. Then stab out a two chord song. You've then had small, simple success. So many mysteries have been unlocked by then, one could quit for months or years.

Sorry, but the Chopinish standard method over loads many people. Students quit because they never taste success. We're supposed to be above instant gratification. Somewhere in between is this threshold. Worse than that, everybody's threshold is a bit different.


Rhythm & Chords, it's what I do.
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511239
02/16/16 11:23 AM
02/16/16 11:23 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,091
Orig. land of Svear&Götar
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RaggedKeyPresser Offline
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I think what is needed is an honest commitment, and one not being a small one, but a sizable one that is known to produce results over a long time period.
If the expectations are very low, like just learning chords and simple songs, sure then 15 minutes per day may be all that is needed. But that's not really much of a skill set.

The theory for learning three chords can be done in one 15 min. lesson. And practicing them in all inversions can be done outside the lesson once the theory is understood. The rest is all done by playing by ear and making up new songs, which some people can be amazingly good at.


Czerny's Piano School Vol. 1. Reviewing basics/ear training/analysis in interesting exercises.
Opus 599. Now at #77 and giving it a break.
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511257
02/16/16 11:46 AM
02/16/16 11:46 AM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,346
Midwest USA
Stubbie Offline
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This may sound counter-intuitive, but would it be possible for her to switch to lessons every week?

A lesson every week would keep piano and piano practice closer to the front of her mind. Very often, when something is (relatively) distant in time, like a lesson, we consciously or subconsciously tell ourselves we've got a lot of time, and the result, in piano, is putting off practice or making it a lower priority.

If, on the other hand, if piano is truly barely on her radar screen, then there's not a whole lot you can do. Many, many adults who start piano have no concept of the time commitment it entails and soon realize they don't want it enough to rearrange their other life priorities around it.


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In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511272
02/16/16 12:02 PM
02/16/16 12:02 PM
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,537
New Jersey
mom3gram Offline
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New Jersey
I don't think the original poster wants her student to only practice 15 minutes a day, or that she thinks 15 minutes is enough. I think she wants to know if committing to practicing 15 minutes will help her to establish a practicing routine. Isn't that the purpose of this MOYD thread? I have committed to this, and yes, once or twice that's all I did was 15 minutes, but 99% of the time, once I sat down for "15 minutes" it ended up stretching into a much longer session as I really got into it. I think it would be a good idea for this student.


mom3gram


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Re: Staying committed [Re: mom3gram] #2511284
02/16/16 12:33 PM
02/16/16 12:33 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,593
Florida
dogperson Offline

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Originally Posted by mom3gram
I don't think the original poster wants her student to only practice 15 minutes a day, or that she thinks 15 minutes is enough. I think she wants to know if committing to practicing 15 minutes will help her to establish a practicing routine. Isn't that the purpose of this MOYD thread? I have committed to this, and yes, once or twice that's all I did was 15 minutes, but 99% of the time, once I sat down for "15 minutes" it ended up stretching into a much longer session as I really got into it. I think it would be a good idea for this student.


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Re: Staying committed [Re: Stubbie] #2511290
02/16/16 12:47 PM
02/16/16 12:47 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 4,127
rocket88 Offline
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
This may sound counter-intuitive, but would it be possible for her to switch to lessons every week?


Piano lessons every other week are very likely a significant part of the problem.

I have never had a beginning or early-intermediate student who thrived and kept going with lessons every other week.

Once a week is the minimum...a few have had two lessons a week in the very beginning, which laid a strong foundation at the onset.

But every two weeks feels like an eternity.


Piano teacher.
Re: Staying committed [Re: mom3gram] #2511295
02/16/16 12:56 PM
02/16/16 12:56 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,346
Midwest USA
Stubbie Offline
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Originally Posted by mom3gram
I don't think the original poster wants her student to only practice 15 minutes a day, or that she thinks 15 minutes is enough. I think she wants to know if committing to practicing 15 minutes will help her to establish a practicing routine. Isn't that the purpose of this MOYD thread? I have committed to this, and yes, once or twice that's all I did was 15 minutes, but 99% of the time, once I sat down for "15 minutes" it ended up stretching into a much longer session as I really got into it. I think it would be a good idea for this student.
Yes, it's probably safe to say that every teacher wants their students to practice more than fifteen minutes a day. And the issue isn't really "Staying Committed" to practice, as in the title, but getting committed in the first place.

People who sign up for MOYD already have a decent level of commitment (otherwise they wouldn't sign on) and are signing up as a kind of booster shot. How you get committed in the first place is highly personal. Good teachers search for teaching tips to nudge a student into commitment (thus the question about 15 minutes), but they can do only so much, imo. They deserve thanks for making the effort.


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In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams
Re: Staying committed [Re: rocket88] #2511331
02/16/16 02:02 PM
02/16/16 02:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,675
Arghhh Offline OP
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Arghhh  Offline OP
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Originally Posted by rocket88
Originally Posted by Stubbie
This may sound counter-intuitive, but would it be possible for her to switch to lessons every week?


Piano lessons every other week are very likely a significant part of the problem.

I have never had a beginning or early-intermediate student who thrived and kept going with lessons every other week.

Once a week is the minimum...a few have had two lessons a week in the very beginning, which laid a strong foundation at the onset.

But every two weeks feels like an eternity.


Every two weeks is definitely a challenge, and I find it difficult even for myself to practice between my bi-weekly lessons. My student had been taking lessons for a few years with another teacher. I think she had made the every other week lessons work for her before, and liked the flexibility. Finally the other teacher said she had gotten to the limit of what she could teach (starting on the Chopin Nocturnes), so my student took a break for a couple years. There were a number things that needed to be corrected technique-wise, and I'm not sure I totally convinced her that they were things she could change, so that also may have been an excuse not to practice.

I'm definitely not saying 15 min every day is enough, but as hard as it is to sit down some days, it is probably harder to leave after only 15 minutes.


Professional pianist and piano teacher.
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511332
02/16/16 02:02 PM
02/16/16 02:02 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 100
British Columbia
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When I started (almost 3 years ago) my teacher said it was ok to practice just 10 minutes a day. But to try to do it every day. She said that 10 minutes a day was better than 2 hours twice a week. I took it to heart and have tried to follow a minimum of 10 minutes a day.

Of course, the reality is once you sit down and start working on a piece that you are engaged in, well, it turns into 20 or 30 or 40 minutes a day. I think my teacher was pleased with my progress.

Recently life has been a bitch (work and family issues) and I am not keeping up as well as I used to. Also with a few years in, now pieces are getting harder and it is difficult to make progress. I am getting frustrated and feeling like maybe it is time to take 3 months off because I just can't keep up. I told my teacher that I am having a tough time keeping up with practice. You know what she said?

"Just practice 10 minutes a day - that is all it takes. It is ok if that is all you do."

So that is what I'm focusing on... I feel bad at lessons because I haven't made much progress, but she is using the time to discuss theory more and work on some of the concepts that we've neglected in the past, as well as ear training.

I think the nice thing about the "10 minutes a day" concept is it lets the student feel ok about whatever they do. Rather than feeling guilty for not doing enough, they can celebrate even a small contribution. For a glass half-empty kind of guy like myself I really appreciate my teacher saying "no, the glass is half full, really!"

Not saying it will work in this student's case of course. But I think the 10 minute a day idea is to just encourage regular sitting down at the piano. If there is more time in your lifestyle and you have the passion, the practice time will expand. But in the rough patches, just keep the habit up with minimal commitment rather than stop and run the risk of never starting again. And if you can't do it for 10 minutes a day, well, you probably don't want to play piano then.

Blah blah - what do I know? smile Anyway, that is the way I intellectualize my lack of commitment!

Don


Piano: 1905 Heintzman Upright
Time in: 3 years! Wow!
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511647
02/17/16 08:18 AM
02/17/16 08:18 AM
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 1,232
Brighton Colorado
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WiseBuff Offline
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The need to feel progress and accomplishment is a big piece of staying committed. In the early learning there were books and advancing from one to the next. I'm using the RCM levels and although I can't advance every year like some can, I have a milestone of what is possible for me. Lately, my "breakthrough" has been a new comfort at learning the nuances of making the music on each piece. For years I was tense about getting all the notes. I CAN get the notes but now I'm fascinated by how I have to practice to make the notes sound the way they should. I may practice only four measures on a piece...Mozart (and the others) like to throw in challenging spots in every piece. Years ago I thought Hanon was difficult when I had to do staccato in one hand and legato in the other. Now I'm trying to accomplish that in the middle of a section with each hand going back and forth and never at the same moment. Good brain food. My aim is to get to level 10...we'll see. It's a journey for sure.


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Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511658
02/17/16 09:15 AM
02/17/16 09:15 AM
Joined: Nov 2015
Posts: 589
Australia
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I think it's worth having the 15 minutes conversation with her. You have nothing to lose and she has everything to gain.

Is it too close to home to also tell her about and invite her to join ABF? I find tremendous inspiration from these forums (and practical suggestions) - perhaps she would too.


The difference between dreams and reality is action.
Re: Staying committed [Re: Arghhh] #2511721
02/17/16 12:17 PM
02/17/16 12:17 PM
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Posts: 62
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I am a little unqualified to be making comments regarding your situation since I have some experience of being taught but have absolute zero experience of teaching. I feel however that if someone cannot motivate themselves to commit to practice then there is very little if anything you can do to motivate them for themselves. I did start off playing with 2 different teachers on 2 different days of the week but have since let one go using the excuse that I could not put time in practicing. This was in fact a little white lie. Actually no it was a great big fat lie because I lack the personal fortitude to tell the teacher that I felt his lessons were really, really dull and failed to inspire me whatsoever.

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