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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by bennevis
That's because exams are not the done thing where you are. If there's no peer pressure to pass (because few kids do exams, and parents - and teachers - have no interest), why would a kid bother?

That's not the case in other parts of the world where classical piano is taught.

And that's a good thing? So, the only reason anybody would bother to take up classical piano is to pass a series of tests?

It doesn't take a genius to realize there's something wrong in that picture.

It doesn't take a genius to read and understand my post correctly. You failed.

Don't you get it?


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by bennevis
That's because exams are not the done thing where you are. If there's no peer pressure to pass (because few kids do exams, and parents - and teachers - have no interest), why would a kid bother?

That's not the case in other parts of the world where classical piano is taught.

And that's a good thing? So, the only reason anybody would bother to take up classical piano is to pass a series of tests?

It doesn't take a genius to realize there's something wrong in that picture.

It doesn't take a genius to read and understand my post correctly. You failed.

Don't you get it?

I read both of your posts. Agreeing is not the same thing as "getting it", and labeling someone as a genius if they agree with your view and the opposite if they don't is not convincing. AZN has his experience teaching and dealing with students, and I have mine. I disagree with the view on exams and motivation, and that is because of what I know and have seen, and my professional work when I was teaching.

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Originally Posted by keystring
Agreeing is not the same thing as "getting it", and labeling someone as a genius if they agree with your view and the opposite if they don't is not convincing.

I don't know why you're wading into this, but you're also misunderstanding what I wrote.

I'm not asking anyone to agree with me. I'm just asking that people don't attribute words to me that I didn't say.

Do you get it now?


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by keystring
Agreeing is not the same thing as "getting it", and labeling someone as a genius if they agree with your view and the opposite if they don't is not convincing.

I don't know why you're wading into this...

I "waded" into the idea of exams and competition being motivators, etc. before that last comment of yours addressed to AZNpiano, and I also addressed the idea before. I waded into it because I have taught in the public school system, have taught privately one-on-one solving problems of individual students, and looked into alternative education. Based on those things, I do not agree with these ideas, at least not globally. In fact, they concern me because a lot of harm happens in this area.

If it's a case of words being attributed to you - yes, that would be a problem.

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​
Originally Posted by dogperson
If the first approach does not work, what is an alternative explanation?


Originally Posted by ANZ
Quote:
Most of the technical issues can be resolved if the student follows instructions and practices accordingly at home.


Originally Posted by KS

Which the teacher first needs to know how to give!


I am totally agree that a good teacher should be always thinking a new way to explain same old concept if a certain student don't understand it.

I also agree with KS that in in order for ANZ's statement to happen (Technical issues can be resolved if the student follows instructions and practices accordingly at home) a good teacher must first know how to give the instruction in a correct way. In another words, if a teacher gives wrong instruction, then even if the student follow exactly, the student will be still wrong in his playing.

I think these two points:
1- Explaining same concepts in two or more different ways
2- Give correct instruction
are falling into the "teaching expertise" category in the original article.

I am sharing the article not to announce that THIS is the standard. I am sharing it so that we can have some discussion.

In my world, I always learn. That also means that I might be that stupid and not knowing what is the difference between adapted, copy cat, plagiarism, direct quote, indirect quote etc. One thing I know, I try to be very nice even to strangers.



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The question of defining or finding a good teacher is actually not an issue for a good teacher, because he or she is that teacher. When students are being taught badly, then the cause of problems can be largely due to the teaching. But when they are being taught well by a decent teacher, then it may indeed be that 95% of problems are due to student attitude, because the teaching is there after all. I think that is the difficulty with this kind of question.

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by keystring
Agreeing is not the same thing as "getting it", and labeling someone as a genius if they agree with your view and the opposite if they don't is not convincing.

I don't know why you're wading into this, but you're also misunderstanding what I wrote.

I'm not asking anyone to agree with me. I'm just asking that people don't attribute words to me that I didn't say.

Do you get it now?

Wow, this is how you treat people in real life? cool

I'm done talking to you.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

Wow, this is how you treat people in real life? cool

I'm done talking to you.

I call a spade when I see one - and one of my biggest hates is people twisting my words to suit their purposes.

So, yes, I'd appreciate you not talking to me, if you're into that sort of thing.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

That's interesting. In my experience, the root cause of bad piano playing in students is their lack of desire to learn. You can instantly tell which kids are intrinsically motivated and which kids are just going through the motions.

And, no, I don't need to ask "Why?" five times in order to figure that out.

Most of the technical issues can be resolved if the student follows instructions and practices accordingly at home.

There are so many students who quit piano and then take it up later and say: I have wasted the years in between because my teacher was bad. I thought I did not like the piano, but I did not like the teacher. I thought I could not learn, but he could not teach.

I am quite sure that most of those teachers would state what you just stated "the student lacked desire to learn!". Because that is what bad teachers usually say. This comes from the myth that if someone is "destined" to learn something, he will, no matter the odds.


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Originally Posted by keystring
The question of defining or finding a good teacher is actually not an issue for a good teacher, because he or she is that teacher. When students are being taught badly, then the cause of problems can be largely due to the teaching. But when they are being taught well by a decent teacher, then it may indeed be that 95% of problems are due to student attitude, because the teaching is there after all. I think that is the difficulty with this kind of question.

Now add to this that there are different kinds of students, with on the "top" end of the distribution being the ones that would be able to learn to play the piano from a book or youtube videos alone, by working it all out in their minds: the ones who would even be able to learn from a bad teacher and you have a perfect mess. :-)


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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
Originally Posted by keystring
The question of defining or finding a good teacher is actually not an issue for a good teacher, because he or she is that teacher. When students are being taught badly, then the cause of problems can be largely due to the teaching. But when they are being taught well by a decent teacher, then it may indeed be that 95% of problems are due to student attitude, because the teaching is there after all. I think that is the difficulty with this kind of question.

Now add to this that there are different kinds of students, with on the "top" end of the distribution being the ones that would be able to learn to play the piano from a book or youtube videos alone, by working it all out in their minds: the ones who would even be able to learn from a bad teacher and you have a perfect mess. :-)


do all good teachers know they are good? Not in my experience
do all bad teachers know they are bad? Not in my experience

Not only do I believe this inability to self-appraise is true of piano teachers, it has been true of every profession I have seen. Ever go to a really bad doctor? Bet you a million he doesn't think so. Conversely, the truly great physicians I have known would not put themselves in the 'great' category, either. ..


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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
Now add to this that there are different kinds of students, with on the "top" end of the distribution being the ones that would be able to learn to play the piano from a book or youtube videos alone, by working it all out in their minds: the ones who would even be able to learn from a bad teacher and you have a perfect mess. :-)

That is not any "top" end, and it is a mess, but not for the reason that you surmise. Btw, those working it out and playing on youtube, are they necessarily playing well? But in any case, innate abilities have their own traps. Will your ear person learn to read music, and what is it that the book person is missing while getting other things? This in particular requires a good teacher who will not be wowed by superficial results, knows how to look for missing elements, and knows how to guide without suppressing.

Where you quoted me before, I was trying to build bridges.

Again, the core thing that I stated is being missed again and again and again:

That as a general thing, a teacher should have the prerequisite knowledge and skills in piano and music, and should have the ability to teach, plus the attitude to want to teach.

I have not seen this simple idea addressed - for or against - yet it is the central part.

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Originally Posted by dogperson
do all good teachers know they are good? Not in my experience
do all bad teachers

I have had a general impression simply through my own encounters that the really good professionals often have an element of self-doubt mixed with confidence, question what they are doing, double check, continually seek improvement, and are often somewhat humble. I have also seen egotistical characters who blow their own horn, unfortunately wow people with their big words and bravado, and by the fact of never double checking or questioning anything, will make mistakes galore as well as curtailing their own growth. And in all this there are opposites - especially as it is realized that by being too humble, the foolish masses will gravitate toward the other fellow with the megaphone, and so the good professional does after all need to self-promote.

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Who is this thread for? Is it just to write down the qualities of a good teacher in the abstract? Is it for pedagogues teaching teachers, to know what they should teach? Is it for teachers? Is it for people looking for a teacher (whether for themselves or for their child)? And if it's for people looking for a teacher, is it for someone looking for a first teacher or for someone looking for a new teacher after having already taken lessons?

From the Bastien title ("for parents...") and the tone of the writing in the OP (whether it is Bastien's writing or bzpiano's), it seems to have originally been aimed at people looking for a first teacher (for their child, although I think it could also be for themselves).

If that is the audience, then as important as identifying the qualities of a good teacher, is identifying how the neophyte can actually determine whether a teacher has these qualities. For example:

  • How can you tell if a prospective teacher teaches skills vs. choreographing pieces? Suppose the teacher says "I teach skills through pieces, and I teach those skills to a high level by having students get their pieces to a good performance standard." Is that a teacher teaching skills, or a teacher neglecting skills in favor of teaching to the test or recital?
  • How can you tell if a teacher teaches reading well? Suppose the teacher says, "I teach people both to read music and also to memorize music; both skills are important for an all-around musician." Is that a teacher who effectively teaches reading, or gives it short shrift?
  • How can you tell in advance if a teacher has many different ways to explain something or not? Sure, you can recognize it (perhaps) as you're taking lessons, but what or who do you ask to find this out before you start lessons?


Many of the qualities of a good teacher enunciated in this thread seem to be long on specifications but short on how a neophyte (whether seeking a teacher for themself or their child) can tell if a prospective teacher meets the criteria.


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keystring, I cross-posted with you. Suppose we stipulate that this is true:

Originally Posted by keystring
That as a general thing, a teacher should have the prerequisite knowledge and skills in piano and music, and should have the ability to teach, plus the attitude to want to teach.


How can someone determine if a teacher has these qualities, when deciding whether to start lessons with that teacher?


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Originally Posted by keystring
Again, the core thing that I stated is being missed again and again and again:

That as a general thing, a teacher should have the prerequisite knowledge and skills in piano and music, and should have the ability to teach, plus the attitude to want to teach.

I have not seen this simple idea addressed - for or against - yet it is the central part.


Maybe it is not addressed as it is a matter of course? It is my considered opinion that as a teacher you have to have a subject mastered. To me (and ask profession coaches/managers), being able to teach a subject is advanced from having understood a subject. In my experience, teaching usually further deepens the understanding of a subject, if you're not just quoting. Because you have to understand where the student is and then build a bridge from there, so that he can make the learning journey.

Hmm, not a bad picture, maybe? To be able to guide a student, you have know where he wants to go, what he needs for the ride and how to get there. For this, of course, you need to know where he currently is. You need to understand his abilities. Will he walk. Will he crawl. Will he fly, even?

Its a people business, teaching. You can get far with just knowing your subject, but mastery comes from being able to assess the student correctly, his abilities and then go from there.

So, how to assess a teacher on those qualities in 30m or less, that is the question :-)


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"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

Translate that to teaching a student to play piano, and what you want is a teacher who will teach a student all the necessary skills that will eventually equip the student to learn for himself. What you don't want is a teacher who teaches a student pieces by rote (apparently, there are teachers like that), or disregard reading skills, aural skills, theory, and all-round technique and musicianship.

And the teacher must be able to do all that, and have the kind of empathy to 'connect' with the student, and instil in him the love of making music that lasts a lifetime, which is strong enough to get him through the several hurdles (technical & musical) that will inevitably cross his path. Beware of any teacher who says that playing 'songs' from memory is what all his students achieve, or who believes that playing from memory is more important than reading skills.

Avoid like the plague any teacher that claims to be able to teach you to play a certain piece (any piece) within a few months. Because that teacher is almost certainly just going to teach you to copy him note-by-note.......


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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
Maybe it is not addressed as it is a matter of course?

I have a feeling that anyone who is in the industry or who has dealt with this for a while on the student or parent side will know that we cannot assume this to be true. Often it is not true. If we could assume it, then I would be a fool to mention it. We can't, and therefore I did. The things on my list - do not assume they are there.

@ Bennevis for what you wrote last -- Yes!

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Originally Posted by bennevis
What you don't want is a teacher who teaches a student pieces by rote (apparently, there are teachers like that), or disregard reading skills, aural skills, theory, and all-round technique and musicianship.

And this...
Quote

And the teacher must be able to do all that, and have the kind of empathy to 'connect' with the student, and instil in him the love of making music that lasts a lifetime, which is strong enough to get him through the several hurdles (technical & musical) that will inevitably cross his path. Beware of any teacher who says that playing 'songs' from memory is what all his students achieve, or who believes that playing from memory is more important than reading skills.

And this...
Quote

Avoid like the plague any teacher that claims to be able to teach you to play a certain piece (any piece) within a few months. Because that teacher is almost certainly just going to teach you to copy him note-by-note.......

These are cornerstones of my teaching.

The biggest problem I have, especially with adults, is that students will push to learn piece A, B or C before they are ready, before the have the skills. I won't give in, but many teachers will simply because they get tired or the endless tug or war.

Not all adults are this way, and certainly not all kids.

But this brings up an important point: People agree to things, then they want to renegotiate. Relationships change over time. There is no way to guarantee finding a great teacher - or for that matter finding a great student. Part of it is simply luck, life experience, a lot of other things.

And it doesn't always happen the first time around, because there is a matter of "fit". I may be the best teacher in the world from one student, and that student may be an ideal student for me. That doesn't mean that at some point I don't work with a student who might not do better with a different teacher.

So it's complicated.

A companion to this thread might be:

What elements make a good student?


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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
I am quite sure that most of those teachers would state what you just stated "the student lacked desire to learn!". Because that is what bad teachers usually say.

Sometimes the simplest explanation is the correct one!

Think about that.

You might begin to arrive at the same conclusion once you've taught a number of students.


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