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For those of you who have switched teachers... #2610756 02/02/17 12:04 AM
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Arghhh Offline OP
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I think there are a fair number of you who have switched teachers. If you switched to someone you feel is a better teacher for you, what is the difference?

I'm asking as a teacher looking to improve on my lessons with my adult students.


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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610773 02/02/17 02:12 AM
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I've had four piano teachers in my life, though only one as an adult, and I took lessons as a child for less than two years total. So I don't know whether this is really what you're looking for, but let me try anyway.

My first piano teacher (when I was six) was of the 'little old lady with a piano, so she must be good' variety. She was a nun to boot, and my mother was still naive enough back then to consider that an additional qualifying factor. This lady attempted to teach me from a Suzuki book, and made no attempt to get me to read what I was playing. But I do not think that what we were doing truly qualifies as a valid implementation of the Suzuki method. If it did, then I would strongly discourage anyone from taking this route, since I believe those early lessons contributed to my inability to sight-read piano music even today. My first teacher turned deaf and retired within four months of my first lesson with her. Looking back, I'm not even sure she actually heard most of what I played for her in those four months. So, first attribute of a good teacher: know your stuff! (And make sure you can hear well enough to be an effective listener, but that one strikes me as pretty self-evident.)

My second teacher, two years later, was a bad match for me because he didn't believe that he could teach me. To him, I was a 'hopeless case', and he stopped teaching me, telling my parents I had no potential, within two months. So that's requirement number two for a good teacher: no matter where your student is when (s)he comes to you, and no matter how much the person in front of you differs from the hypothetical perfect student, believe that you have something of value to offer them, and that they are worth being taught. If you don't, then send them to someone who might.

Despite these less-than-successful early experiences, I somehow managed to stay in love with the piano. When I was fifteen, I tried lessons again. That time, I hit the jackpot. My third piano teacher was everything I could have hoped for, and more: eminently competent, confident in my abilities as a piano student, preternaturally patient (and forgiving of mistakes during the learning process), and a good listener in all senses of the word. She took me through 'The Joy of First-Year Piano', then Mikrokosmos 1 and 2, then my first Kleine Praelude from Bach, and little pretty Minuets from the likes of Haydn and Mozart. All the while, she provided me a safe haven, where I could be myself, make mistakes, stumble, fall and get back up, and leave the room an hour later with my self-esteem intact and sometimes boosted. There weren't many places in my life where I could do that, at the time. So qualification number three: be a decent and compassionate human being, above all else. My lessons with this teacher ended in May, after nine months, because she was ill and had to retire early. She told me that she thought of me as musically talented, and that I should not give up. I would definitely have continued lessons then if I could have, but loads of crap happened, and I was homeless within a year of my last lesson with her.

Fast-forward twelve years. When I finally had some firm ground under my feet again, I began piano lessons anew with my current teacher. I was far from the most promising student she could have wished for: I could barely read (an unfortunate reality that still holds largely true today), I shook like a reed in every lesson because I was terrified of making a mistake in front of her, and yet, I had an opinion on everything. She asked whether I wanted to start from scratch. I said I wasn't sure, and played two pieces for her (Bach, Haydn). She gave me Burgmüller opus 100 and a compilation of pieces 'for the intermediate pianist', edited by Paul Sheftel. The first two pieces we tackled were Impertinence, by Handel, and one more Mozart Minuet (written by the father, not the son, if I remember correctly). We worked our way through all 25 Burgmüller opus 100 studies in the first two years, while I also worked on ''repertoire at my level" (a few Lyric Pieces from Grieg, a couple from Tchaikovsky's Album for the Young, and the obligatory Bach), and "dream pieces" (initially the first and second movements of Beethoven's fourteenth piano sonata, which I still play today, and in the second year Chopin's Nocturne number 19, which my teacher said I played beautifully, but for two measures I never managed). I think she hoped that among other things, doing Burgmüller would improve my reading skills. It didn't; not really. Here are some of the many reasons I consider her a good teacher anyway, though:

1) She meets every student (adult or otherwise) where they are, and believes that they can all improve. There is one adult student who has been in a level one method book for going on three years. She greets that person with the same genuine smile as the one who has been with her for fifteen years from the age of five, and can now sight-read through entire piano concertos.

2) She values input and opinions from the people she teaches. For instance: as soon as they start developing their own clear preferences in music, she will let her students explore the repertoire on their own, and choose the pieces they want to work on in lessons (which is not to say that she will never nudge anyone in a certain direction, or require them to work on a study or piece of her choice). I have studied music with her that she didn't know before I brought it to my lesson.

3) She has high expectations, which is important, but she can also go with the flow when life happens and people don't meet them. There have been times when all I could bring her were eight measures of badly butchered Bach. She made it into a useful and pleasant lesson anyway.

4) She cares deeply. She believes that anyone is worth being taught, and will fight for their right to have lessons, if need be. For a few years, she had an elderly adult student with a chronic illness, who eventually could no longer manage the drive to the lesson every week. She went to her home instead. When the principal of my music school was inclined to keep me out because of epilepsy, she talked him into letting me stay.

5) She listens, in every sense of the word. Perhaps most importantly, she listens to her students' music in a way that makes it impossible to slip anything past her. I believe she hears everything that goes wrong (but chooses her priorities wisely in addressing those things), and she can always explain why it sounds wrong, which is the first step towards fixing it.


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: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610776 02/02/17 02:21 AM
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I have changed teachers twice in four years, now on teacher No 3.

My first teacher allowed me to do just about anything I wanted, and there was not much teaching going on. My second teacher still allowed me to do whatever I wanted but was more specific about pointing out mistakes and giving suggestions to improve. Both teachers I categorise as being "passive", more like observers of my very slow moving improvement. To some extent though I wonder what else a teacher can do while the student takes such a long time to get to a more thoughtful stage of their learning.

Teacher No 3 is the more experienced of the three. At our first lesson a year ago, she listened to me play pointing out a number of issues saying that correcting these would form the basis of a plan to get me back on track. It was the first time I heard the naked truth and got an overall picture of where I was at. Anyway the resulting repair plan ended up being the structure I needed and I think I am doing quite well as a result. Although a really nice human being when it comes to teaching she is demanding and challenging. This will often end up catching me off guard, and although uncomfortable it makes me focus and prevents me from coasting through a lesson as I once was able to do. I guess her teaching style is a constant reminder she is really committed to my development, and because of her high standards it pushes me to try even harder to address problems that come up.

I mentioned "doing whatever I wanted" and "passive" earlier. To my mind, with my earlier teachers I felt I was controlling the lesson as well as the overall direction of development; perhaps that is a sign of my personality. But what I was really looking for in a teacher was an authoritative figure and I believe I have found that in my current teacher.


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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610779 02/02/17 02:32 AM
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Hi
I have had two adult teachers. The current, successful one:
- Does not accept 'ok' as 'good enough' but expects 'well done'. Part of this is certainly not just her, because I have let her know that I personally do not want to accept 'ok'.
- She is able to explain and demonstrate. If there is a problem section, she can offer multiple solutions to the problem.
- She comments on every aspect of technique and interpretation. She is able to hear so much more than I can-- which my first adult teacher did not seem as able to do.
-She values questions and dialogue. I never have any concern that any question would not be thoughtfully heard and thoughtfully responded to. Based on what I have seen in the teachers' forum about teachers who don't want questions, I consider this to be a very important attribute. Please note that my questions are never 'why are you making me do this?' but questions about how I could apply the principle to other repertoire.
-She allows me to choose repertoire with her guidance. Sometimes this will be a negotiation, sometimes 'wait' and sometimes 'ok'..... but I do have input into the decision.
- Patience!

I do take other lessons from two other adult teachers: one for Dalcroze, and one for very occasional lessons; I have also attended adult summer piano camps. These are common characteristics of all of the good instructors. Openness, skill and strong communication/problem solving skills.


"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
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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610784 02/02/17 03:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Arghhh
I think there are a fair number of you who have switched teachers. If you switched to someone you feel is a better teacher for you, what is the difference?

I'm asking as a teacher looking to improve on my lessons with my adult students.

Why do I suspect something went wrong? frown


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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610788 02/02/17 04:07 AM
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Hello Arghhh (that's an unusual name!)
I have switched teachers since I returned to lessons about 18 months ago: not really through choice but because my first teacher (who was also my teacher when I was 15 and she was 35: I'm now 55 and she's 75) felt she'd taken me as far as she could and referred me to someone who she felt was a better teacher. She also had a rule of never teaching a piece that she herself didn't know, and she didn't know the pieces that I wanted to to learn, and didn't want to spend the time learning them.

I love my new teacher: he's wonderful, generous, kind, and an amazing pianist verging on genius. But I don't think he's as good a teacher as my old teacher.

She: made me count out loud, sing the melody, clap the rhythm, left hand, right hand.
He: tells me when I'm slowing down or speeding up, says "keep practicing with the metronome"

She: spent equal portions of every lesson on finessing a current piece, learning a new piece, and technical work, every single time
He: has no structure, we might spend the entire lesson on one piece. He also shys away from technical work unless there's an exam involved, and basically left it up to me to work it out and to get them up to speed

She: records what I'm working on and my progress and difficulties in her own diary, so she has a record of what we've done and where we're at, and additionally writes a bit of a plan for me for this weeks practice
He: writes no notes whatsoever, not for him, and not for me, so half of what he teaches me I forget as soon as I walk out the door

There are other things but they are the mains ones. Don't get me wrong, current teach is awesome, but for me the elements that make a good adult teacher include what I've written under what "she" does.

Hope that helps, feel free to ask specific questions if you have them.

cheers
Cathryn




Last edited by cathryn999; 02/02/17 04:10 AM.

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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610790 02/02/17 04:19 AM
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I didn't exactly switch teachers since the first time I had lesson it was on a different instrument. But that experience did tell me what I did and a didn't want. Aiming for developing the skills needed is important to me; advancing fast grade-wise is not. However what I want may not be what another adult student wants, so communicating is important. When I took lessons first time round, I assumed a lot and we didn't communicate about goals until several years in. Keep the lines of communication open. When it stays at the level of giving instruction, and the student following those instructions, that may not be enough if the goals are off. That was my big lesson first time round.

Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610814 02/02/17 07:52 AM
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I've had 3 piano teachers (plus one standalone lesson with a 4th).

My first teacher was when I was a teenager and a lot of the details are lost in the haze, but what I'd say is:
She was amazingly supportive. I would not have been able to learn without her. She taught in my school. I took lessons with her for 4 years and I didn't have a piano at home for the first two. She let me practice in her music room before/after class time or during her lunch break.
As I've explained elsewhere, I needed (or rather, I made a choice that necessitated) to reach a particular grade level within a particular timeframe, and she was incredibly supportive in getting me there. But she was also clear that I needed to have a back up plan in place because there was no guarantee I would get to the required level (so she was supportive, but not overindulgent or unrealistic).

Her approach was structured, a bit old school I'd say. Plenty of HS work before putting the hands together in sections. Careful attention to fingering. I don't remember the details now though.

Once I left school, I had to stop taking lessons with her.

My next teacher was nearly 25 years later.
She was a lovely young woman who taught piano to children on the side as a student, and was recommended to me by another parent when I was looking for a teacher for my kids. I decided on a bit of a whim to take lessons myself too.
It was logistically a brilliant arrangement, as she came to our house, and she had a great way with the children. We all enjoyed the lessons and it was a positive experience for everyone.
That said, she wasn't the perfect teacher for me. She didn't have any experience teaching adults, or teaching anyone with more than a year or two of experience. She did have helpful practice tips from her own experience, but she didn't have the range of ideas and teaching knowledge of my current teacher.
Lessons for the children were well structured, but for me were a bit "play through the pieces and see where the issues are".
Also, probably because of the age gap and also that she was teaching my children, the dynamic between us wasn't ideal - she was too lovely and polite :-)

She moved abroad after a year of lessons, so that was the end of that.

The next year, I didn't take lessons except for one standalone lesson I arranged in a music school to help me with my pieces for the Schumann recital. That was an eye opener. Way more talk about voicing and phrasing and what to do beyond playing the notes than I had previously had.

A few months after that, when I decided to go back properly for lessons, I went back to that same music school. I'd hoped to be able to get the same teacher but he had moved on, and because my schedule is quite restricted I had to take pretty much whoever was available. That was a bit of a risk but overall it's worked out really well.

Way more focus on how to sound rather than just playing the notes. Lots of discussion on how to practice, different approaches to specific issues, etc. Picking up of issues about tension, hand position, collapsing joints, that sort of thing, that had never been mentioned before.
With both my teachers as a returning adult, repertoire selection has been collaborative. Sometimes I have pieces I want to play, and especially when starting with them I have work in progress anyway. But I really welcome recommendations of pieces that would be good for me to learn.

My current teacher has a more breadth in his teaching toolkit than my previous one I would say. If life has got in the way and I show up for a lesson without much progress to show over the week before, he can still find lots of ways to ensure a useful, productive lesson.




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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610818 02/02/17 08:13 AM
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I just want to say: lots of lovely stories about some lovely teachers, here. I do hope the OP can get something of use from them.


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: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: keystring] #2610822 02/02/17 08:36 AM
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I have had four teachers since I returned as an adult. I am at the early advanced level, and I want a teacher that will help me improve. Some of the changes of teachers were because I relocated to another country, and not a reflection on the relationship with the teacher. The other changes were because I did not feel that the teacher was invested in giving me a sound foundation and helping me improve.

Some of the reasons for the teacher/student relationship not working in the past were:

-My first teacher back in the US, assumed that adults do not want to do the foundational work, and simply taught upper intermediate level pieces (Chopin Nocturnes, Liszt Consolations, etc) that adults like to play. He gave plenty of positive feedback, but never any critique. We moved quickly from piece to piece, with no attention to technique. Lessons were more like a social hour. He did however, keep me interested in learning piano.

-Another teacher was quite the contrast. She was totally opposed to technical exercises such as scales and arpeggios, and wanted all pieces learned hands separate in total before putting hands together. She was never satisfied with what I did. There was no structured program, she simply taught me whatever piece I brought in. She taught through pieces, and I did not have the technique to play the pieces that I chose. I practiced on average three hours a day, but I left every lesson feeling like a failure. More than once I left in tears.

Two of the teachers that I have had, including my current one, are excellent.

-They approach their students with a professional, positive attitude, and do not intimidate their students. They work to problem solve when a student is "stuck".

-They have a structured approach individualized to the needs of the student. They help build a strong foundation and correct deficiencies.

-They give positive feedback every lesson, but also point out what needs to be worked on. Even when I feel like I have performed poorly in the lesson, they approach things positively: "Let's keep working at it", "well let's try it this way". If they felt that I have not followed their instructions in practice, they tell me so.

The teacher that I have now is the best I have ever had. We cover a lot of material in each lesson, and she takes notes as we work. She then sends me her notes to remind me of what I need to work on. That might sound like something that a teacher would only do for a child, and that an adult should be able to remember what to do. Not so. When we cover three to four pieces in a lesson as well as theory, scales & arpeggios, my brain is exhausted at the end of a lesson. Those notes have improved my practice tremendously. It has really helped me to focus my efforts.

In the end, an adult student's goals determine what kind of teacher is best for them. My first teacher had many adult students, and for most of them it was just about having fun. His "social hour" approach worked well for them. His encouraging attitude kept students engaged. End the end, I think that is the most important thing with adult students. We have fragile egos, and encouragement, and the feeling that the teacher believes in the student, goes a long way.

Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: cathryn999] #2610824 02/02/17 08:41 AM
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Hi Cathryn,
I love my current teacher--- but she also does not write notes for herself or for me. So what I do during lessons is a 'practice journal'... NOT what I practice during the week, but a summary of the lessons tips on how to practice, or the particular technique for playing/interpreting a passage. Really a summary of 'brain picking'

I try to group it in categories so that the journal will be useful tips for future repertoire. It helps me remember the content of the lesson, and it will be a good future resource.

Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610859 02/02/17 10:44 AM
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Dear Arghhh,

I'm writing fast because I've got to be out the door soon...

There is no one type of adult piano student because adults have lots of different goals and expectations and will respond differently to diverse teaching approaches. To complicate matters, adults may not be sure of their expectations or have unrealistic expectations.

One thing you can count on with adults, as opposed to children who often don't have the choice, is that if they are frustrated or dissatisfied in some way, they will leave, probably sooner than later. In teaching adults, communication is important as well as an intuition about frustration or dissatisfaction and an ability to shift the approach or material as needed.

Some teachers may only teach students who accept instruction in the teacher’s preferred approach. A relatively new teacher, however, trying to build a studio, might want to become familiar with different teaching approaches and whenever possible watch how experienced teachers apply those approaches.

I’ve learned something valuable from each teacher I’ve had and there’s also been some big negatives. One prestigious music school teacher exposed me to lots and lots of repertoire, but I never played anything well and finally left, feeling like a failure. Another teacher was strong on fixing my technique (good!), but scared me away with plans to play Clementi for an entire year (in retrospect I wish I had stayed with her and maybe I would have learned to like Clementi and had better technique decades earlier). Another teacher was much as SwissMS described. Our lessons were “social hours” but I did learn the importance of rhythm and steady tempo to overall musicality. From another I finally understood that a problem-solving approach to errors was possible—-such as choosing fingering based on my hand shape and size-- but that teacher never matched pieces to my level of ability. What I like about my present teacher is that the pieces are right for my level and I’m learning not to make mistakes to begin with. She teaches me specific movements and makes sure I can do them before I leave the lesson. Being a bit uncoordinated I need that type of intense instruction. I’m also finally learning how to practice in small sections and feeling that I’m finally playing some pieces well. (Yay!!!)

To make lessons with adults (or anyone) more successful, make sure the student does something right (feels some success or improvement ) at every lesson. No one want to feel like a failure. Adults can be particularly thin-skinned. Also adults are aware of "getting their money's worth." If there wasn’t much practice outside the lesson, practice during the lesson: a new skill, sight-reading, a lesson in lead sheet reading, etc. Make sure the student gets something from each lesson and leaves feeling it was productive.

You can tweak the details with individual students depending on their goals, their strengths and weaknesses. Some students are more perfectionist and don't mind playing fewer pieces if they know they play them well. Others prefer fluency with an extensive repertoire. Some want to know more about piano and music theory or history. Some want to play by ear or compose. We probably could come up with a list of 10 or so general types of typical piano students goals, taking into consideration that
the adult students who post in the forums are probably a different category from the typical adult piano student.

Good luck! It's hard, if not impossible, to be a good teacher for every student.


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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610864 02/02/17 10:52 AM
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I am usually the teacher that people end up with, after working with other teachers before finding me, especially when it comes to adults and preteen/teen boys for some reason.

The thing I find most from these students is that the other teachers simply aren't qualified to teach, period. The other teachers love to play piano, and someone at some time told them that they should teach! They understand nothing about pedagogy or how playing actually works. These other teaches also can't do anything supplemental to whatever the method books are saying. They offer no musicology, misunderstand theory, and definitely don't understand injury-preventative stuff.


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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610868 02/02/17 11:03 AM
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My journey has evolved into the jazz solo piano / cocktail piano journey. I am focusing on jazz cocktail piano standards and specifically ballads (Misty, All the things you are, Tenderly, etc ...)

My teachers need to be helping me with what I perceive is needed as the next step in my journey instead of telling me what to do next.

I need someone who listens and comes up with ideas or methods for dealing with the various rhythms and arrangement possibilities for enhancing a jazz standard ballad.

They need to strike a balance between what is needed and what I am capable of being successful at with my current skill set.

If they can do that (not always easy), I am happy and all goes smoothly. If not, I begin to look elsewhere.

Currently, I take 1 lesson per month just to keep me moving in the right direction and things seem to be going "smoothly".



Don

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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: dmd] #2610878 02/02/17 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by dmd
My teachers need to be helping me with what I perceive is needed as the next step in my journey instead of telling me what to do next.


I imagine this is indeed a tall order for some. Although, I would guess that as long as you're OK with being told "wait" or "do this first" once in a while, then being this proactive as a student might actually make the teacher's job somewhat easier. In any case, it does away with the possibility of a severe mismatch in goals, which can be a huge problem in some teacher-adult relationships, because of silent assumptions on both ends that don't necessarily mesh well with each other.


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: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Saranoya] #2610885 02/02/17 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Saranoya
Originally Posted by dmd
My teachers need to be helping me with what I perceive is needed as the next step in my journey instead of telling me what to do next.


I imagine this is indeed a tall order for some. Although, I would guess that as long as you're OK with being told "wait" or "do this first" once in a while, then being this proactive as a student might actually make the teacher's job somewhat easier. In any case, it does away with the possibility of a severe mismatch in goals, which can be a huge problem in some teacher-adult relationships, because of silent assumptions on both ends that don't necessarily mesh well with each other.


And I am ok with "do this next" suggestions. I frequently indicate that I am open to any thoughts he (my teacher) has about my direction. For example, he has me going through a jazz Real book playing the melody line and various chord inversions OUT OF TIME in order to become more familiar with inversions, etc .... That is not particularly enjoyable but I see merit in doing it. So I do it.

With lessons a month apart I have room to do my own thing and still make progress on the main point of the last lesson.

I have absolutely no time-table for accomplishing anything. I just do it because I enjoy it. I will get as far as father time allows.


Quote
To make lessons with adults (or anyone) more successful, make sure the student does something right (feels some success or improvement ) at every lesson. No one want to feel like a failure. Adults can be particularly thin-skinned. Also adults are aware of "getting their money's worth." If there wasn’t much practice outside the lesson, practice during the lesson: a new skill, sight-reading, a lesson in lead sheet reading, etc. Make sure the student gets something from each lesson and leaves feeling it was productive.


This is particularly important to me. I mention that periodically. I want to come to a lesson feeling successful. That means I do not want things to be so difficult that I will not be able to be successful and then have the teacher say ... "That is ok, we will just keep going and you keep working on it for next lesson." No Good. I want success and then on to the next. No ALWAYS, of course, but for the most part. So, keep it simple or at least manageable.





Last edited by dmd; 02/02/17 11:58 AM.

Don

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Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610889 02/02/17 12:17 PM
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I have not actually switched teachers but I have had two different teachers. I started with my first teacher when I was 39. I was new to piano. She was good for a beginner. I wanted to learn classical back then and when I brought the topic up she talked me out of it. She said I would have to practice scales and exercises every day and it would take me years at least 10 to learn the very basic pieces in classical music instead she suggested alfred. Later on when I asked about alfred classical repertoire series she said it was too hard I could not start it until I finished alfred adult book 3. She thought theory and hanon was a waste of time. When asked about trouble reading bass clef she told me not to worry it will come. We actually did lesson book and something from alfred other books like greatest hits. She was a big fan of alfred. I took lessons with her for 3 years. I moved out of state and just ended up not playing for a few years. Then tried to teach myself

I started with my current teacher 3 1/2 years ago.When I was 52 years old. we did alfred book 2 because I already had it but switched to faber piano adventures. He teaches fake book and classical. If I want to try something different he's fine with it. He is really into theory. I learned to look at music through chords instead of each note. He is a very good teacher and a much better fit for me.

Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610893 02/02/17 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Arghhh
I think there are a fair number of you who have switched teachers. If you switched to someone you feel is a better teacher for you, what is the difference?


My first teacher:
- Lots of chatting about general matters
- Had only one piano so I always had to move when he demonstrated something
- The piano was a horrible upright
- Wasn't as much into teaching classical music as I was into learning. Gave me pieces I was not interested at all.
- Did not really teach technique. Just told me my fingers work fine and let me do whatever I wanted. Was more "fun" oriented.
I didn't take that many lessons before switching so don't know how it would have evolved.

My present teacher (for over 5 years now)
- The lessons are very focused on playing and work only.
- Has two pianos, so can demonstrate easily
- The pianos are nice (grands)
- Is a classical pianist so knows a lot about the music I want to play. Lets me choose my own pieces.
- Is very technique oriented (in how the pieces must be played, does not force exercises on me) and very firm in the quality of the playing. Forced me to learn more efficient technique from the start. Always finds something to correct. Takes teaching me quite seriously it seems.

Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2610990 02/02/17 06:28 PM
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My first adult teacher was focused solely on conformance - anything not written down in the music was wrong. One of the last pieces I played with her was Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg, and because accelerando wasn't written in the music, and since she didn't interpret the stretto marking as to go faster, then there was no speeding up. It was boring to listen to, boring to play, meant nothing as music, and I hated it for all that it should have been but wasn't.


With my current teacher, one of my favorite lessons last year was when I was working on the Chopin Raindrop Prelude, into the 3rd week, and we listened to Horowitz's playing of it, and then Ashkenazy's. Same score, completely different interpretations.

The lessons are about the music.

I come home from each week's lesson, not just with things to work on, but with my concept changed for how something could be played, little switches in my head flipped for what something should sound like. I suppose if that ever stops, I'll look for a different teacher, but I don't believe it will stop.


Last edited by carlos88; 02/03/17 02:02 AM.

I'd rather play badly than not at all...
Re: For those of you who have switched teachers... [Re: Arghhh] #2611083 02/03/17 12:25 AM
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Such an insightful topic for us teachers. Hope all is well Arghhhhh, but I'm also glad you asked.



~piano teacher in training~
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