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Gary D, keystring:

I get it, really I do. I know you guys think I'm not listening, but I am, and I really do understand.

The only disagreement that I can see is that some folks want to vilify the teachers and mock the students, and I believe that to be mean-spirited and unnecessary. I believe that most (but probably not all) the teachers that create the unhappy situations you describe are doing what they genuinely believe to be the right thing.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by pianoMom2006
I'm passionate about this issue because at least in my social circle there are many parents are like me- they don't have a clue of how to evaluate a piano teacher- so we have to trust that the teachers are providing good guidance.

You can always request that your son be evaluated independently via some kind of exam or competition. In fact, it's a good thing to get an occasional "second opinion" from other experts. Personally, I don't mind such requests from parents as long as the kids are willing to put in the work and the parents are cooperative.


We do this but I learned about the opportunity through the teacher. I know in my social circle there are a lot parents that don’t know to do it. FWIW- Judges have always told us/written that my son has an amazing teacher smile.

Last edited by pianoMom2006; 01/20/18 11:48 AM.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
In fact, it's a good thing to get an occasional "second opinion" from other experts. Personally, I don't mind such requests from parents as long as the kids are willing to put in the work and the parents are cooperative.


You've just somewhat countered your own arguments. You're saying that some of your students, who may not work enough, despite your (I am sure, excellent) efforts as a teacher, may not altogether represent your teaching very well. They may actually, if shown to another teacher who does not know you, seem to have been taught carelessly, when, in reality, it is just lack of practice and effort on the students' part.

I am sure that you must have carefully shown them how to practice, discussed lots of theory, given them instruction in really good technique etc., but despite all this, with not enough practice/effort they easily loose all the good work and may look, to another teacher, a little like a TW. And you'd most likely get blamed as a teacher, even though you're likely as good as they get.


"Genius is not the sign of demigodliness, but the sign of having a profoundly practical mind" - anonymous

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Originally Posted by pianopi
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
In fact, it's a good thing to get an occasional "second opinion" from other experts. Personally, I don't mind such requests from parents as long as the kids are willing to put in the work and the parents are cooperative.


You've just somewhat countered your own arguments. You're saying that some of your students, who may not work enough, despite your (I am sure, excellent) efforts as a teacher, may not altogether represent your teaching very well. They may actually, if shown to another teacher who does not know you, seem to have been taught carelessly, when, in reality, it is just lack of practice and effort on the students' part.

I am sure that you must have carefully shown them how to practice, discussed lots of theory, given them instruction in really good technique etc., but despite all this, with not enough practice/effort they easily loose all the good work and may look, to another teacher, a little like a TW. And you'd most likely get blamed as a teacher, even though you're likely as good as they get.


I read this as independent evaluations are a good way to get second opinions of teachers for kids that practice/listen. I don't see the inconsistency...

Earlier he did provide his definition of TW's which did include bad students...

Originally Posted by AZNpiano

Allow me to give the official definition of Transfer Wrecks

1. They did not start piano lessons with you. They "transferred" to you.

2. They are horrible students (wrecks) for a number of reasons:

a. bad teaching

b. bad parenting

c. bad learning (bad student)

So, just to be clear, it is not just bad teaching that causes Transfer Wrecks to be horrible students. I don't want to limit the definition to bad teaching.



Last edited by pianoMom2006; 01/20/18 12:08 PM.

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Something has to be made clear:

The term "transfer wreck" was first coined by AZNpiano. His subsequent list, (quoted by pianoMom now) messes up the concept, because it includes all "wrecks" ---- i.e. all students who are difficult to teach, including students who are NOT transfers. What is described are not TRANSFER wrecks.

The complication here is that this is a forum for teachers (plural), and the topic of TRANSFER students who have been harmed by their previous teachers is a reality and topic of concerns. Some students who have gone through this are also weighing in. When we ..... everybody else .... adopt the term "transfer wreck" we are actually talking about TRANSFER students, in this context.

AZNpiano, I would urge you strongly to please correct and clarify your definition. You are talking about a) students who come to you with problems who were transfers b) any student who is a problem because of poor attitude and/or poor parental attitude, who are not necessarily transfer students. Can you please, PLEASE distinguish!!

Gary has written over and over about this, trying to get it sorted out. He has stated, as I have stated, that a "transfer wreck" - i.e. a student who ends up with problems due to previous teaching - is NOT necessarily a student with poor attitude and/or poor parental attitude. I've written the same thing. In fact, a compliant student and compliant parent in the face of wrong teaching are going to have more problems, since they will adopt the wrong teaching, and suffer as a consequence.

In the least, let's distinguish this one definition by one teacher which lumps together students who are not transfers and have a bad attitude and thus do badly, with students who are transfers who do badly who might have a decent attitude .... to know that when everybody else (other teachers / students) use the term, they/we are talking about TRANSFER students only.

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Originally Posted by kevinb
Gary D, keystring:

I get it, really I do. I know you guys think I'm not listening, but I am, and I really do understand.

The only disagreement that I can see is that some folks want to vilify the teachers and mock the students, and I believe that to be mean-spirited and unnecessary. I believe that most (but probably not all) the teachers that create the unhappy situations you describe are doing what they genuinely believe to be the right thing.

Thanks, kevinb. Well, forums tend to be a mess, because you have a million people coming in with all kinds of backgrounds all talking about "the same thing" because they aren't. Logic also mixes with emotion, including logical sounding things actually being emotion-fueled, and so forth. We get tones that we tend to react to: the word "wreck" itself can tend to offend unless one tries to be logical about it.

About teachers genuinely believing they're doing the right thing --- I can't imagine any person who decides to teach saying "I'm going to really mess up these kids this year." The thing is, though, that if you hire somebody to do your taxes, and he doesn't tell you that he's just trying this out to make a few extra dollars and he's not really that good at math and doesn't understand finances --- even if he tries really hard, and spends many hours on it, you won't appreciate all that hard work if your tax papers are done wrong. It's sort of that. wink

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I read his definition as 1 and any of the 2. So a transfer student who is a wreck because of a, b, abd/or c.

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The important point:

A student can:
a) have good student attitude, to what he is told, how he is told, practise daily and consistently according to what he is told

.... and end up with major problems as a "transfer wreck"

because what he was told was wrong. Or because he was not told what he should have been told.

A student can:
b) have parents who is very compliant with the teacher, who pushes their child to be compliant with the teacher, who sets things up as the teacher tells them to (or neglects to)

..... and end up contributing to major problems of the student, due to that compliance.

Ergo: neither "poor attitude", nor "uncompliant / uncooperative parents" may be a factor in the creation of a "transfer wreck".

Further, that very compliance by student and/or parent can make the problem worse. In other words, the good student and the student who is sensitive to what is taught may be at greater risk, when this happens.

We are also way past one teacher's definition, because teachers (plural) are trying to weigh in.
---------------------
Unless this discussion is to be about only one person's view. In that case, perhaps there should be a new thread called "transfer wrecks as in the view of any or all teachers" or something like that. I had always thought this was implied, given that this is a forum for all teachers.

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The case would be then

1 (transfer) and 2a (bad teaching).

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Originally Posted by littlebirdblue
The case would be then

1 (transfer) and 2a (bad teaching).


If one is limiting the discussion to transfer students (which the word "transfer" implies) then in all cases the student is a transfer student.

That student may have started out with the right attitude and the right parental support, but been ruined by the teacher.
The student might have had a poor attitude, supported by wrong teacher attitude (this kid wants to go fast, not learn anything, so I'll give him easy music, let him imitate everything, stick in finger numbers - we'll both be happy and I don't have to teach. Let another teacher in the future try to fix the mess).
The student's parent my have a wrong attitude, supported by wrong teacher attitude (make my child cover 4 grades in a single year so that I can beat my neighbour Betsy's record. Teacher doesn't dare say no because he doesn't want to lose students.)
The student might have a decent teacher, but the student or parent have a bad attitude, and when things don't work, they "teacher hop".

The triangle is: teacher, student, parent (when there are kids), and any one, a pair, or all three, can be amiss. But this also means that there can be good students with decent parents who still end up being transfer wrecks, and this should not be precluded.

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I think this should also include the so-called "self-taught" student, who had themselves and/or a book or the internet as teachers.

They can be very dedicated, but typically have holes in their foundation just like someone from an incompetent teacher may have.


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Originally Posted by kevinb
Gary D, keystring:

I get it, really I do. I know you guys think I'm not listening, but I am, and I really do understand.

The only disagreement that I can see is that some folks want to vilify the teachers and mock the students, and I believe that to be mean-spirited and unnecessary. I believe that most (but probably not all) the teachers that create the unhappy situations you describe are doing what they genuinely believe to be the right thing.

Kevin, the problem is that I did not object to the term "transfer wreck", and I should have. It NOT my term, and never has been.

The only "blame" I'm putting on anyone is on teachers, and only those who I believe are stealing money.

To be clearer: my first teacher was my grandmother, and for sure there were holes in her knowledge. But she could play, and she knew how to teach. And was very good with kids, so I learned a ton from her.

Damage was not done by her but by the expensive "expert" we went to next, and I've told all of you why. She was lazy, and very conceited. She thought she was God's gift to this world, and in retrospect that angers me most, because I was somewhere between intimidated and confused about all of it.

Of course there are teachers out there who don't know don't know things I know, and I don't know everything that every good teacher knows.

The difference is that I KNOW what I don't know, and I always work hard to close those gaps.

I'm still learning.

I never NEVER make fun of people who are not "experts" in music, who come to me with many gaping holes, and I don't blame parents for choosing poor teachers, because how would they know better?

In addition, I don't think that music is the only thing in universe, so when some of my students balk at playing much, I actually understand and just hope that I can make what they are doing "attractive" enough that eventually they want to play more.

To be honest, I don't want to waste another second talking about "transfer wrecks". It's negative, and it does not reflect my teaching or my world.

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Originally Posted by rocket88

I think this should also include the so-called "self-taught" student, who had themselves and/or a book or the internet as teachers.

They can be very dedicated, but typically have holes in their foundation just like someone from an incompetent teacher may have.

BUT: There are many reasons for self-teaching, among others:

1. The local teachers are terrible. A former student of mine, who was with me for more than 2 decades, finally gave up in her new area. The best teacher she found was just awful.

2. You have an instrument, but otherwise you run out of money. You have to choices: continue on your own, or give up entirely.

3. The last teacher or all other teachers were horrible, and you have a special kind of "teach-damage", which tells you that you are better off on your own, period.

4. The last teacher was incredible, you are already on a pretty high level, and no other teacher comes even close to the good teacher. (This is my story.)

Or any of the above.

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Gary, sure there are lots of reasons for self-teaching, as you describe.

No teacher availability, and no money, are two big ones.

However, I am not referring to all self-taught people, just those who have very faulty foundations. Which is why I said:

Quote
I think this should also include the so-called "self-taught" student, who had themselves and/or a book or the internet as teachers.

They can be very dedicated, but typically have holes in their foundation just like someone from an incompetent teacher may have.


Their weak foundations are directly related to their previous teacher, who, in these cases, is themselves.

Your examples #1 and #4 do not fit that. Those examples had excellent teachers in the past, so they should have good foundations to advance. (That is me today...I had several unremarkable teachers, and one who taught me how to really play the piano).

The bottom line is that this thread is about incoming students who previously had bad teaching, have lots of errors to undo, and thus are seriously unprepared to move forward.

I think it is important to recognize that some self-taught people are part of that population.

Which is what I have seen. Transfers from really horrible teachers, and transfers who are self-taught people who never had a teacher, and due to whatever factors have weak foundations, are basically identical in the challenges they present to a teacher...same serious holes in their understanding and ability, all of which a good teacher would address right from the start.

And, in most cases, both need to rebuild from the beginning.


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Originally Posted by rocket88

And, in most cases, both need to rebuild from the beginning.

This actually would be a lot more interesting to discuss. How often this is successful and what it requires from the teacher and the student? AZN was quite pessimistic about it in general. Is it because it's just too much work objectively speaking or is it because most students/parents he meets do not have the right attitude for the task? Also how long it takes on different stages to "catch up" if everyone really tries and how to motivate the student for this?

Surely there are different kinds and severity of holes to patch? Note reading, practice methods, physical tension, sloppy playing in general...do you teachers not see different cases and some have just a few minor issues while others may be off in almost everything? If there are just a few things, would you tackle them all at once practically starting everything from the scratch or have you find it successful to work on correcting things one at the time while still progressing on other areas?

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Originally Posted by keystring
AZNpiano, I would urge you strongly to please correct and clarify your definition. You are talking about a) students who come to you with problems who were transfers b) any student who is a problem because of poor attitude and/or poor parental attitude, who are not necessarily transfer students. Can you please, PLEASE distinguish!!

I really don't see a need to make the distinction. My definitions are perfectly fine and clear for what they set out to define. You are free to use other words if you think there are connotations that you disagree with.

If you read all my posts, you'll see that I'm using the term Transfer Wreck consistently. If people read into the term ideas and experiences other than what I delineated in my extremely clear definitions, I don't see how that's my fault.


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Originally Posted by outo
AZN was quite pessimistic about it in general.

About WHAT in general? I can't find the antecedent of "it" since you used several in a row, and they are not all pointing at the same thing.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
[I really don't see a need to make the distinction. My definitions are perfectly fine and clear for what they set out to define. ..........

If you read all my posts, you'll see that I'm using the term Transfer Wreck consistently. .......

If you read all THE posts in this forum, you should be able to see why there is a problem. Have a look at the struggles by some of your fellow teachers due to this.
We're not just discussing words. There are situations and concepts.
I'll let the teachers involved answer if they wish. I'm tired.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by outo
AZN was quite pessimistic about it in general.

About WHAT in general? I can't find the antecedent of "it" since you used several in a row, and they are not all pointing at the same thing.


Sorry, I meant about getting transfer wrecks to patch whatever holes they have and some day get to the level you expect of an average student well taught from the beginning.

Maybe I took your use of the word impossible (as quoted below) too literally? If you cannot take the student back to the beginning, do you find other ways succesful to patch the wholes?

Originally Posted by AZNpiano
The biggest single problem I get from lousy teaching (due to the previous teacher) is slow reading. Absolutely impossible to correct. This is one problem that, if not corrected at first, it will snowball into a giant disability. Really. I'm not exaggerating.


Originally Posted by AZNpiano
With some Transfer Wrecks who have been destroyed for more than 5 years, it's impossible to take them back to the beginning.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

I really don't see a need to make the distinction. My definitions are perfectly fine and clear for what they set out to define. You are free to use other words if you think there are connotations that you disagree with.

Your definitions repeatedly emphasize:

1. The stupidity on the part of adults who simply will not listen, for the most part parents.
2. The complete unwillingness of students to do work.
3. The absolute bleak picture of those of us - and note that I say "us", because I am part of this - to turn things around.
Quote

If you read all my posts, you'll see that I'm using the term Transfer Wreck consistently. If people read into the term ideas and experiences other than what I delineated in my extremely clear definitions, I don't see how that's my fault.

This is not about "fault": it's about consistently building an atmosphere that is so negative that the rest of us can't have a constructive conversation.

Yes, there are poor teachers. We all know that, or at least the vast majority of us do.

Yes, students are hurt by such poor teaching. Not only do we students know this - and again I include myself, because of incredibly weak teaching in high school - many of us have suffered greatly because of such poor teachers.

I have also explained, from the position of a former student, how I was able to turn this around.

I have outlined how this happened to me, how I almost did not get into a music school as a performance major. For some reason your negative comments are getting all the attention, and my comments are getting none.

If you want to join me and others who are trying to have a constructive conversation about what all of us - as students and teachers - can do to overcome such problems, I'm on board.

But this whole "transfer wreck" idea has become a blame game, which is making me feel horribly uncomfortable and is diametrically opposed to everything I teach, and everything I believe in.

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