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Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590359
11/26/16 11:05 PM
11/26/16 11:05 PM
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Orange County, CA
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“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.” -- Oscar Wilde


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Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590407
11/27/16 08:46 AM
11/27/16 08:46 AM
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I'm incredibly pleased with the way this thread is turning out. I often self-censor my thoughts on PW as well as IRL because I don't feel like getting slammed on raising children since much of what I do is "not popular"-particularly in the area of pushing my children both academically and with piano-even when obvious success results. My parents/ILs had a very hands off approach. I get enough grief from my own family.

Since people have been respectful on this thread of different and controversial opinions, I'll share a little more detail about why I believe pushing children in general and being super involved is a good thing from my real life examples.

To start off, I live in a very competitive affluent metropolitan area. The school my children attend expect so much out of them.

When my daughter was in first grade, I was told that she was a poor reader (by hyper competitive standards) by her first grade teacher. Some parents in this situation take their children to educational specialists who will help assist with "modifications". Instead I saw this "problem" as one of not enough practice. I started reading with her maybe 4 HOURS or more each and every weekend. Results were not immediate and it's been a tough road. In third grade, my daughter was recommended for a "skills" reading class (it was an extra class for poor readers) -which I rebuffed. Fast forward, she's now in middle school and she's without question a top, top English student evident not only by her grades, teacher conferences but her standardized test scores as well.

My daughter had similar problems in math. In third grade, the school put her in the bottom math class and I was horrorified. I tried unsucessfully to get her moved out. My solution to my daughter's math "problem" was lots and lots of extra enrichment including weekend classes. Many parents when told their child has a problem in math assume that their child is just not a good math student. Fast forward to middle school and she was put in the top math class and it's not due to some natural talent but hard work. I wish my ending in math was as bright as reading..it is not but she's made tremendous strides. Probably the biggest accomplishment she's made is that she was selected as one of the top students to represent her school in a competition this year-they chose the top 10 percent. Her standardized test scores are inconsistent- but sometimes they are very good. I work hard with her in math.

I'm so glad that I never bought into the philosophy let your children "fail" etc.

I'm not sure if any of you have read Stanford Dean's article condemning "Helicopter" parents written several years ago. The Dean complained about children coming to school but being unprepared in life because of too helpful parents. She was very pro natural consequences. My first thought was when Stanford "excuses" bad grades and test scores, I'll consider it.

IRL- there are the truly gifted in piano as in other areas but I do believe that for most of us success is to a large extent dictated by hard work and by working with my kids hard, I hope that I instill such a work ethic in them.

Last edited by pianoMom2006; 11/27/16 09:13 AM.

Yamaha G2
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590464
11/27/16 02:20 PM
11/27/16 02:20 PM
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Canada
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I wrote here this morning responding to the above, because it no longer has anything to do with parents being in or out of the studio. I mean, regardless of how you help your child with schoolwork or similar things, the role of the teacher and parent vis-a-vis each other in private lessons has disappeared from the equation, and that is the purpose of this thread. So initially I deleted what I wrote.

What I did write, more briefly, was this. In regards to ambitious parents affecting the local school system, when my son started kindergarten, there had been a big shakedown at the school that summer that I didn't know about. The principal I had talked to was not there in the fall, and almost all of the staff had disappeared. I had not known that either. All I know is that I ended up sitting in on the class after I found my child wandering 3 blocks from the school trying to find his way home, with nobody having noticed he was missing, so I stayed in the class. I did not like what I was seeing at all. I was a trained teacher at the primary school level, and what I was seeing was contrary to the things I knew.

I found out that the teaching was going that way because the school had been forced into it by influential parents, i.e. the shakedown, who wanted their kids to "advance" fast, be competitive, etc. What I was disturbed by were things that the principal felt forced to enforce, and the teachers I talked to colleague to colleague found it counter-educational and possibly destructive. When ambitious parents as a group force the agenda, these same parents do not have the teaching training to govern their choices, and they tend to go for superficial end results. All the kids and their parents then end up in that environment and having to cope with it.

I put my child in another school, which unfortunately closed down the following year, and being out of options we homeschooled for 8 years. During that time I tutored from time to time, kids from the same school who having been hothoused in the primary grades were missing basic understanding of the things they had flashcarded their way through, and full of anxiety and sense of being failures. I got them at the grade 7 - 9 level, and helped them with the source of their problems, which was usually around grade 2.

Does this have any pertinence to the topic of this thread, I wonder?

@Pianomom, I'm glad that what you did worked for your child, and that you guys didn't go under in that atmosphere. The things that you described, that the school did, could have had destructive consequences but you rode the waves and somehow knew which way to steer the ship.

Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: keystring] #2590471
11/27/16 03:01 PM
11/27/16 03:01 PM
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Gary D. Offline OP
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Originally Posted by keystring


Does this have any pertinence to the topic of this thread, I wonder?

It does for me because it touches on having to do damage control.

No, I don't have to fix "reading language" problems, because that's not my job.

I don't have to fix "can't do math" problems, because that is not my job.

But often my kids are afraid that they can't understand anything that has a number, and fixing that becomes my job.

If a student has "math-phobia", which is REALLY common today but perhaps has always been a big problem, then the moment I talk about 5 lines, 5 fingers, 88 keys and figuring out how many counts/beats/subdivisions there are in a measure I'm hitting that problem - fear.

If I say, "How many 8ths in a quarter," immediately the "math-challenged" start to panic.

So a huge amount of what I do is about taking the myths out of music.

There are similar myths about how people learn to read lines and spaces.

It's not terribly unusual for a music student, a very good one, to end up absolutely on top of everything without appearing to be on top of anything else.

In my case music was the only thing I did right. I didn't know that. If I had applied the same reasoning to other subjects in school I probably would have been a top student. As it is, I wasn't tops in anything else, so teachers who found out about my musical ability probably were always wondering why my "gifts" didn't show up in academics.

Last edited by Gary D.; 11/27/16 03:01 PM.

Piano Teacher
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590487
11/27/16 04:49 PM
11/27/16 04:49 PM
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Canada
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
If I had applied the same reasoning to other subjects in school I probably would have been a top student.

This is extremely important and I wonder if it will be caught. There are ways that school material is taught (depending who, where etc.) which can lead to results in tests and such, but which are actually inefficient ways of dealing with anything. It can even result in people who get great grades not being that good at applying what they learned to real life - math. applied to common scenarios. Conversely there can be alternate was of thinking, more efficient ways of getting at things, which you might get at in music, which are just as pertinent in academic subjects.

One thing that bothered me earlier on in a post in some thread was the idea that if a student does well academically, then he will also do well in music. It may be that other ways of thinking might make that person be good in music, and it might even feed back to academics.

Still another thing that bothers me from time to time is when music teaching seems to try to emulate the teaching of the school system, when the one-on-one and the nature of the subject gives so many other possibilities.

Meanwhile - pertinent to the subject is that in my story, the ambitious parents managed to force the school system to do things their way, when the actual experts knew better. If pressure is put on teachers in an area to produce fast results, high grades, loads of winnings in competitions, then I can see that likewise teachers here may be put into boxes against their better judgment. Or ... you get conflict between teacher and parent or older student because of held beliefs of "oughts" that may not be right.

Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590488
11/27/16 04:54 PM
11/27/16 04:54 PM
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Canada
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A tale of a paradigm shift:
I was told of a similarity between math and music, and that people who are good in mat tend to be good in music. I was not good in math in school, except perhaps algebra, but I had a natural sense for music. so this puzzled me. I tend to see patterns in music; the patterns interact and interrelate, and that is what has always been natural in me. I did not see math. that way, so did not see the connection. I saw math. in the way it had been taught.

One day I came to the checkout counter embarrassed that I only had coins. The cashier said "Just pour it out. Don't worry, I'm a mathematician." She glanced at my piles of coins, and seemingly without counting, she grouped them into groups. Well, we put 4 quarters together without counting 25 + 25 + 25 + 25 or even counting them: we "see" them as four, same as when we see the dots on the dice, we don't count the dots. That's what she was doing. It was patterns. Same as what I did with music. I had a huge "aha". So that's how math and music related. Conversely, my relative weakness in math was because of how I had been taught. I've figured that I might be able to reverse-engineer my math. through what I had just discovered.

Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Deep Fish Piano] #2590514
11/27/16 07:57 PM
11/27/16 07:57 PM
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Richmond, BC, Canada
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Originally Posted by Deep Fish Piano
. . .
When my son showed his first passion for math, my husband and I discussed for a long time. We did not want our son became crippled as us. We want him to be well round and happy. So in areas where his natural genes dominate, we will withhold the resources for now. When he is still young, we will spend more time on "forge" him in music and sport, where we are not able to support him down the road.
From those who hate math, math is one word. Actually math has many branches, and required different abstract abilities. So even in his math, he has some area very advanced, that he could hit university-level in 2 years, some areas he will struggle down the road. We withholds the area he is best at, instead, we let him practices in areas he will struggle when he gets to junior high level. Same for science. when he put aside his Genomino mouse books, ask questions about the fundamental theory underlying of Element Period table, well, we removed all science books from house. We want him to enjoy the recreational reading for a bit longer in his childhood.
We will lift the withholds after he developed a self-discipline on music and sport, hopefully at age of 10 or 12? . . .


DeepFishPiano --

You removed the science books from the house, because he was interested in them, and showed some talent for science?

To me, this is punishing the child for being who he is!

I understand that you, and your husband, had unusual childhoods. And your adult lives may have suffered as a result. But please, do not say:

. . . "What our parents did, was wrong. We will do the opposite!"

IMHO, you should try and find a middle way -- to let your son explore his interests, but not let them take over his life. Maybe even:

. . . "One hour of science, one hour of play outside."

I'm sure that you can find some way to explain why the Periodic Table works, without going into the depths of quantum mechanics and group theory -- at least, not until he's ready.

I was a bright kid, studying college textbooks in high school. But I really loved riding my bicycle, and playing piano.

PS -- I have no degrees in education, and only one daughter, so I cannot claim special knowledge or experience.




. Charles
---------------------------
PX-350 / microKorg XL+ / Pianoteq / Lounge Lizard / Korg Wavedrum / EV ZXA1 speaker
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590530
11/27/16 10:21 PM
11/27/16 10:21 PM
Joined: Jun 2013
Posts: 430
AZ, USA
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I am not a very social person - AT ALL. My husband is maybe a little more social, but not much. We are very happy being the way we are. We are living what is normal for us. What's wrong with that?

Maybe you have the "grass is greener" thinking, but it may not be.


Cynthia

Roland FP-50
Conover Upright, 1888/9, but a very low mileage piano. http://www.pbase.com/schnitz/conover_upright_piano__1888_or_9 .
Tuneless = Don't play piano yet but getting there.
I'm technically very capable. I love my piano and love tinkering with it.
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590653
11/28/16 11:14 AM
11/28/16 11:14 AM
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DeepFishPiano,

I'm a parent, not a teacher. I find it sad that your mom and dad weren't very involved in your life. However, I'm having a hard time understanding your rationale for withholding your son's interests from him. He obviously has a natural love for math and science. Since you and your husband are also math inclined people, imagine how much joy he would get if you allowed him to explore these things freely, and shared in his passion! Your parents could not understand your interests and could not nurture you intellectually, but you can do this for your son, all without having to push him.

I understand wanting to encourage your son to be a well-rounded and socially adjusted person. But I don't get how piano is going to accomplish this goal. No offense to all the professional pianists here, but I really don't think of piano as a very social instrument. When I think of a gifted pianist, I have the image of an introverted, mildly tragic figure who spends hours a day hidden alone in a practice room. I know this is just a stereotype, but my point is that there are surely more social hobbies for a child, perhaps even other instruments, if social adjustment is your goal.

My husband and I also read science texts on our own when we were young. We have a precocious 7 year old daughter who does the same. Math is her main interest right now. I'm getting her a Naum Vilenkin book for Christmas and I can assure you she'll be more thrilled with that math book than a live pony. I'm pretty sure people assume we teach or push her, but when it comes to math and science she teaches and motivates herself. I even had to make a rule, "no math at the dinner table" or else the child would not eat. But apart from that rule we let her read whatever she wants, whether its a comic book or a textbook, and we are always praising her for her curiosity.

For her age she is also very interested in the piano, but is not as obsessed with piano as she is with math or science. I remind her to practice twice a day for 15 minutes at a time, which is the amount she needs to make satisfying progress at her current level. Even though she loves piano, she wouldn't do more than this on her own because she would rather read and play outside with friends, and that's fine with me. If I wanted to, I could easily encourage her do more, but her teacher is already very happy with her progress.

I agree with what Charles Cohen said above. Find the middle way. Your parents' neglect was not good. I hardly support slacker or absent parenting, and I believe in discipline. But I think a good amount of freedom is equally important. I think having too many rules stifles creativity.

Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: ViennaAutumn] #2590662
11/28/16 11:54 AM
11/28/16 11:54 AM
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Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by ViennaAutumn
DeepFishPiano,

I'm a parent, not a teacher. I find it sad that your mom and dad weren't very involved in your life. However, I'm having a hard time understanding your rationale for withholding your son's interests from him. He obviously has a natural love for math and science. Since you and your husband are also math inclined people, imagine how much joy he would get if you allowed him to explore these things freely, and shared in his passion! Your parents could not understand your interests and could not nurture you intellectually, but you can do this for your son, all without having to push him.

I understand wanting to encourage your son to be a well-rounded and socially adjusted person. But I don't get how piano is going to accomplish this goal. No offense to all the professional pianists here, but I really don't think of piano as a very social instrument. When I think of a gifted pianist, I have the image of an introverted, mildly tragic figure who spends hours a day hidden alone in a practice room. I know this is just a stereotype, but my point is that there are surely more social hobbies for a child, perhaps even other instruments, if social adjustment is your goal.

My husband and I also read science texts on our own when we were young. We have a precocious 7 year old daughter who does the same. Math is her main interest right now. I'm getting her a Naum Vilenkin book for Christmas and I can assure you she'll be more thrilled with that math book than a live pony. I'm pretty sure people assume we teach or push her, but when it comes to math and science she teaches and motivates herself. I even had to make a rule, "no math at the dinner table" or else the child would not eat. But apart from that rule we let her read whatever she wants, whether its a comic book or a textbook, and we are always praising her for her curiosity.

For her age she is also very interested in the piano, but is not as obsessed with piano as she is with math or science. I remind her to practice twice a day for 15 minutes at a time, which is the amount she needs to make satisfying progress at her current level. Even though she loves piano, she wouldn't do more than this on her own because she would rather read and play outside with friends, and that's fine with me. If I wanted to, I could easily encourage her do more, but her teacher is already very happy with her progress.

I agree with what Charles Cohen said above. Find the middle way. Your parents' neglect was not good. I hardly support slacker or absent parenting, and I believe in discipline. But I think a good amount of freedom is equally important. I think having too many rules stifles creativity.
+1, a fine perspective and I think it honors the child's propensities while also making sure that 'mistakes' of the OP's parents aren't repeated.


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Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: AZNpiano] #2590736
11/28/16 02:24 PM
11/28/16 02:24 PM
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Virginia, USA
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.” -- Oscar Wilde


I think it was Fritz Perls who said nobody gets the quality and quantity of parenting they need, no matter how good their parents; once they become an adult it is their responsibility to seek out whatever they need to complete that growing up process.


gotta go practice
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: ViennaAutumn] #2590749
11/28/16 03:02 PM
11/28/16 03:02 PM
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Gary D. Offline OP
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Originally Posted by ViennaAutumn
No offense to all the professional pianists here, but I really don't think of piano as a very social instrument. When I think of a gifted pianist, I have the image of an introverted, mildly tragic figure who spends hours a day hidden alone in a practice room. I know this is just a stereotype, but my point is that there are surely more social hobbies for a child, perhaps even other instruments, if social adjustment is your goal.

You are assuming that a "gifted" young player is always going to want to play alone. Why?

Piano is the most flexible of all instruments in terms of playing with other people, and when you play piano well you will always have all the opportunities you want to play in any kind of ensemble you can think of.

Piano is also keyboard, and keyboard players get jobs more easily than players of any other instrument, perhaps with the exception of guitar.

I assure you that people who are gregarious and extroverted will not become introverted because they play the piano. wink

Last edited by Gary D.; 11/28/16 03:50 PM.

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Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590750
11/28/16 03:03 PM
11/28/16 03:03 PM
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I realize this thread has wandered to the topic of child-raising styles. I hope I can still contribute to the original question.

I am a parent. My girls started piano lessons when they were six. Our piano teacher gave me the choice of whether or not to stay for the lesson.

I stayed for the first four lessons, and then my daughter indicated that she wants to try not having me sit in. So now I only stay for the last 15 minutes of her lesson, and just pick up the gist of what the piano teacher wants.

I do play the piano myself, and the teacher takes pretty good notes both on the music and in a notebook. So I haven't detected any gaps resulting from me not attending lessons. She's a very experienced teacher, and not afraid to tell me when she's not happy with something, so I don't believe there are any unvoiced concerns. In any case, the girls are teenagers now.

Last edited by MomOfBeginners; 11/28/16 03:33 PM.

Mom of Two Girls Who Used to Be Beginners
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590751
11/28/16 03:10 PM
11/28/16 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
[quote=ViennaAutumn]No offense to all the professional pianists here, but I really don't think of piano as a very social instrument. When I think of a gifted pianist, I have the image of an introverted, mildly tragic figure who spends hours a day hidden alone in a practice room. I know this is just a stereotype, but my point is that there are surely more social hobbies for a child, perhaps even other instruments, if social adjustment is your goal.
[quote]
You are assuming that a "gifted" young player is always going to want to play alone. Why?

Piano is the most flexible of all instruments in terms of playing with other people, and when you play piano well you will always have all the opportunities you want to play in any kind of ensemble you can think of.



I agree. In fact, this is somewhat true even if you play piano quite badly.

However, I'm not sure traditional piano lessons end up encouraging very many people in that direction. It would be the rare private clarinet or trombone student who does not play in an ensemble, but I think the reverse is true of most piano students.


gotta go practice
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: MomOfBeginners] #2590757
11/28/16 03:25 PM
11/28/16 03:25 PM
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Gary D. Offline OP
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Originally Posted by MomOfBeginners
I realize this thread has wandered to the topic of child-raising styles. I hope I can still contribute to the original question.

I am a parent. My girls started piano lessons when they were six. Our piano teacher gave me the choice of whether or not to stay for the lesson.

I stayed for the first four lessons, and then my daughter indicated that she wants to try not having me sit in. So now I only stay for the last 15 minutes of her lesson, and just pick up the gist of what the piano teacher wants.

That's an unusually early age to be so independent.

I'll give you an example of what I go over in the first lesson, and maybe it is much more advanced than what you did at first.

In the first lesson I print out a page of random lines, line 1 through line 5 plus Middle C. I explain with a keyboard chart how to find those lines, and I give a copy of the chart to be used at home. The chart has only lines, no letters, and it is a temporary guide to make finding the right places to play these lines. In the first lesson I tell people that they can play these with their "nose and toes", but that they just need to be able to find the keys. As a follow up I give a very simply song, to show how it works, something like Mary Had a Little Lamb or Twinkle Twinkle.

This is not an easy thing for most adults, thought the smart ones figure it out pretty quickly - because it is not linked to memorization but logic.

I have the child work this out together with the parent, but at age six it is very rare for the adult not figure it out quicker.

The second week I cover the bass clef, same logic. If it goes really quickly, I teach both clefs.

(I've spent years finding a way to do this. The idea is that almost immediately I can move to 3 lines above and below each clef, so most of the notes we need to play are already covered fully within the first month.)

The other thing I start in immediately is a scale, and I teach the two black keys with 2 and 3, then the three black keys with 2 3 4. ASAP we add in C and F and learn how to play the Db scale. Once we do that, just for fun we can move from one octave to the whole piano, and I jump to doing this modally.

Because what I'm teaching is essentially the same for any student, any age, and adult will almost always understand the logic and overall structure far quicker.

There will be a lag in what the child can understand and master, and that puts the adult ahead - which is good. Within only one year that will change if the child does well. The child will catch up and surpass the adult unless the child is very slow and the adult is very quick. (This is sometimes the case, but rarely.)

Because of the way I teach each child is getting several lessons a week, at home, at a pace that would be impossible otherwise. If you were able to see me small children the first thing you would notice is that their eyes are on the page, but I never tell them not to look at their hands. If it is easier to read music than to memorize, your eyes automatically do the right thing. "Hand lookers" simply memorize more quickly than they read and thus pay careful attention to the hands to compensate for slow reading.

What I'm trying to say: Yes, you can get it done without a parent knowing exactly what is going on, but it's harder, and it's slower. Time is lost in the beginning.

I'm not a fan of "accelerated learning" because often - or perhaps usually - it skips steps and does not give enough practice on each level. That's bad.

But as teachers we are also facing what I can only call a "honeymoon period". At the beginning parents and small children are pretty excited about the whole process, but if the children do not make enough progress to start playing what THEY want to play, and rather easily, that "honeymoon" is over. The students and parents either starting thinking about quitting or moving to another teacher who is more "fun".

So I would say I have about a year - and often less - to finesse the playing up to where it needs to be. If I can do that, I may have a student for many years. But if it does not happen in the first year, it's pretty much over.

The reason for having a parent present is simply to increase the odds of success. If the first year goes extremely well, most likely it makes no difference whether or not the parent is still there. After two or three years usually the situation develops so that the young student is very successful and very independent.

Perhaps a similar idea: When I was young my mother read to me regularly, and this started when I was very young. By the time I was in the middle of elementary school I devoured books, and I read TO my cousin, who was only one year younger.


Piano Teacher
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590760
11/28/16 03:43 PM
11/28/16 03:43 PM
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ViennaAutumn Offline
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
assuming that a "gifted" young player is always going to want to play alone. Why?

Piano is the most flexible of all instruments in terms of playing with other people, and when you play piano well you will always have all the opportunities you want to play in any kind of ensemble you can think of.

Piano is also keyboard, and keyboard players get jobs more easily than players of any other instrument, perhaps with the exception of guitar.

I assure you that people who are gregarious and extroverted will not become introverted because they play the piano. wink


I realize that all serious music students have to do the solitary practice thing, and that there are ensemble and accompanying experiences for pianists. However, if you play a string or band instrument, you don't have to even seek these opportunities out as a young person. It's a no brainer to join your school band or orchestra. You don't even have to be very good to do it! As a piano student, my kid takes lessons by herself and practices by herself. It's quite a different experience from sports and dance. I would love it if she could play piano with others. I don't see many opportunities at her level, though. If she played violin or cello, she could join her elementary school orchestra in just a couple of years. If you have any suggestions to make piano more social for kids, that would be great. I don't think my daughter is missing the social aspect, but I keep thinking it would be nice.

While I don't really think playing the piano will cause a gregarious kid to become introverted, I do wonder if there's some truth to the idea that the piano attracts more introverts. I've definitely heard this notion from more than one music student. BTW, I am definitely an introvert. I have nothing against introverts. I have nothing against extroverted pianists either. smile

Back to your original topic, you value parental support at young ages. I was wondering if there an age at which you think parents should stop attending lessons and be less involved? Sorry if this was already discussed above and I missed it.


Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: TimR] #2590761
11/28/16 03:54 PM
11/28/16 03:54 PM
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Gary D. Offline OP
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Originally Posted by TimR
[quote=Gary D.][quote=ViennaAutumn]No offense to all the professional pianists here, but I really don't think of piano as a very social instrument. When I think of a gifted pianist, I have the image of an introverted, mildly tragic figure who spends hours a day hidden alone in a practice room. I know this is just a stereotype, but my point is that there are surely more social hobbies for a child, perhaps even other instruments, if social adjustment is your goal.
Quote

You are assuming that a "gifted" young player is always going to want to play alone. Why?

Piano is the most flexible of all instruments in terms of playing with other people, and when you play piano well you will always have all the opportunities you want to play in any kind of ensemble you can think of.



I agree. In fact, this is somewhat true even if you play piano quite badly.

However, I'm not sure traditional piano lessons end up encouraging very many people in that direction. It would be the rare private clarinet or trombone student who does not play in an ensemble, but I think the reverse is true of most piano students.

You are right, but the main reason is that traditional teaching does not put an emphasis on reading and playing music of many styles - which is the fault of teachers, not the instrument.

By the time I was at FSU I was accompanying all my friends. I was sort of a bridge between an accompanist and a bit of a coach, because I was also a very good brass player. And I was making money with the accompaniments.

Another topic would be - why is so little emphasis put on preparing young musicians to make money?

The world of "classical piano" is really very limited, depressingly so...


Piano Teacher
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: ViennaAutumn] #2590763
11/28/16 04:01 PM
11/28/16 04:01 PM
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Gary D. Offline OP
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Originally Posted by ViennaAutumn


Back to your original topic, you value parental support at young ages. I was wondering if there an age at which you think parents should stop attending lessons and be less involved? Sorry if this was already discussed above and I missed it.


OK. Two examples:

I have a boy, 13, who comes to lessons with his grandmother. Grandma is a string bass player. The boy needs her support right now for reasons I can't get into on a public forum. But the boy and his grandmother are super.

I have another boy, around 14, who has never had a parent in the room. His parents are clueless, zero help, very ignorant in many areas other than music. This young guy is my best student, but his lessons will probably be cut in less than a year because the parents see no reason for him to be learning piano. In their opinion he is already great and doesn't need lessons.

I taught brass for many years, and I never had a parent in those lessons, but in brass you tend to start around 5th or 6th grade.

I would say somewhere around age 13, at the latest, most kids who do will are going to want parents out of the room, with good reason. For those who do extremely well, earlier.

Occasionally I get an incredibly smart, ambitious kid with pretty clueless parents, and in that case I'm 100% OK with getting the parents out of the room from day one. But I think you can see that it is harder when you have uncooperative parents. They usually find a way to poison things.


Piano Teacher
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: Gary D.] #2590781
11/28/16 05:28 PM
11/28/16 05:28 PM
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TimR Offline
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

Another topic would be - why is so little emphasis put on preparing young musicians to make money?

The world of "classical piano" is really very limited, depressingly so...


One of our past church organists told me he earned money while in school (back when universities had organ programs) by playing accordion. He had to keep it secret from the faculty, who would NOT have approved.

From what I read on forums here, adult piano students are a special breed, most of whom never intend to play in front of an audience. (I didn't even know that was possible until reading many threads, still not sure I understand it.)

Do you ever get one who is goal directed - who wants piano lessons so that he can get a church job, play with a praise band, play keyboards with a rock band and look for groupies, etc.? Or do most just want to "learn piano," whatever that means?

I take brass lessons at my age to improve my performance in ensembles, and to increase the chance to play in better groups.


gotta go practice
Re: Parents in or out of lessons [Re: TimR] #2590794
11/28/16 06:37 PM
11/28/16 06:37 PM
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AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.” -- Oscar Wilde

I think it was Fritz Perls who said nobody gets the quality and quantity of parenting they need, no matter how good their parents; once they become an adult it is their responsibility to seek out whatever they need to complete that growing up process.

And maybe that's why there's so much over-parenting going on. To a degree, I need parental involvement, but above a certain threshold over-parenting becomes a nuisance, and in some cases, a detriment.

For example, I just got an e-mail over Thanksgiving break from a mother who says her kids are not getting enough assignments, and are goofing off doing nothing, so she wants me to give them more assignments. I came this close to launching a vituperation on her lackluster parenting skills.


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