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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725552
03/31/18 07:34 AM
03/31/18 07:34 AM
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Posts: 16,384
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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There have been times when I just have to be frank with a student and tell them how badly it sounded. There are some students - especially boys - that this works with. You have to know your student, but I think since everything else has failed, it's time to just give them the truth about what they're doing. I use sarcasm, joking, encouragement, and bluntness to get it across to them. It's a delicate balance, however.

Try speaking more plainly with this student, especially confronting him about he didn't practice the way you've asked him to for the past whatever weeks or months on this piece.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Morodiene] #2725583
03/31/18 11:04 AM
03/31/18 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
There have been times when I just have to be frank with a student and tell them how badly it sounded. There are some students - especially boys - that this works with.

Why not always be frank?

Just always be honest. Say when it is good and not good. You don't have to hurt feelings. Once you get a rep for being honest, that's what people expect. wink

And you don't have to tell them how bad it sounded. Most kids already have cell phones. Get them to record themselves, short portions, and simply listen to what is actually happening.


Piano Teacher
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Gary D.] #2725624
03/31/18 01:16 PM
03/31/18 01:16 PM
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pianopi Offline

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Originally Posted by Gary D.
You don't want to break their spirits. That spirit is what makes them special ...

And ditto for teachers: a broken-spirited teacher, either from trying students or trying peers, is of little help to anyone.


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

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTc4esj9xQG6NjLIr9an29Q
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Candywoman] #2725702
03/31/18 08:16 PM
03/31/18 08:16 PM
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Posts: 1,804
NJ
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
The part I can relate to is knowing how a student could best proceed, but having to accept a far lower standard. I could have a student learn piano very effectively in ten years if they did what I ask. Instead, the process goes on and on due to their various impediments.

It might be: student can't handle criticism, student wants to put his own spin on everything he does, student doesn't really hear instructions, student doesn't practice effectively despite all the tips in the world. Boys in particular can sometimes have a hard time listening to others. My theory is they feel they have to take an action instead of consider the action I'm suggesting.

If you think about it, students don't want to be automatons so there's always an incentive to not do what the teacher asks. I would love if all my students used my fingerings, but I've given up on many of my fingerings. I suppose they want to make the experience their own.

I suppose the question we can ask ourselves is, how can we step back and allow the student some latitude?


Candywoman, thanks for your insight. I think that when I allow a student who's been with me for 7 years to ignore necessary fingerings, dynamics, articulation and tempo, I've failed. Particularly, after competitions, when these students who think that the ONLY reason they did not perform at their best is when they played a wrong note (no matter how often I stress that wrong notes are at the bottom of my priority list). I look at their playing sometimes through the eyes of another teacher. That teacher may very well consider my student a transfer wreck. I'm pretty sure AZN would. smile


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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Gary D.] #2725703
03/31/18 08:21 PM
03/31/18 08:21 PM
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Posts: 1,804
NJ
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Morodiene
There have been times when I just have to be frank with a student and tell them how badly it sounded. There are some students - especially boys - that this works with.

Why not always be frank?

Just always be honest. Say when it is good and not good. You don't have to hurt feelings. Once you get a rep for being honest, that's what people expect. wink

And you don't have to tell them how bad it sounded. Most kids already have cell phones. Get them to record themselves, short portions, and simply listen to what is actually happening.


Gary D, thank you for demonstrating just what bullying is, I will be sure not to do the same with my students. If being encouraging, kind, gentle and easygoing, hasn't worked after 7 years, I was honest and critical, and have been accused of "bullying." Yet you say I should be frank. It was the first time in 7 years with this boy that I said that the piece was a mess. I've had teachers tell me that after lesson #2. Giving too much leeway to students in general makes for lack of self-discipline later in life and does not prepare them for this highly competitive and mostly uncaring world they'll be entering in a few short years.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725726
03/31/18 09:52 PM
03/31/18 09:52 PM
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Posts: 293
pianopi Offline

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Originally Posted by Candywoman

It might be: student can't handle criticism, student wants to put his own spin on everything he does, student doesn't really hear instructions, student doesn't practice effectively despite all the tips in the world. Boys in particular can sometimes have a hard time listening to others. My theory is they feel they have to take an action instead of consider the action I'm suggesting.

Well, one can't give into every whim and sensitivity of every teenage student otherwise when they come of age and realize the world is not full of kind, forgiving piano teachers, they'll be in for a bit of an awakening. A person can't always pander to his/her ego just because it's less uncomfortable than not doing so, because they may find the competition has moved way ahead of them; and then they'll have to do all the avoided work and listening to teachers anyway.


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

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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Gary D.] #2725728
03/31/18 09:58 PM
03/31/18 09:58 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,384
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Morodiene
There have been times when I just have to be frank with a student and tell them how badly it sounded. There are some students - especially boys - that this works with.

Why not always be frank?

Just always be honest. Say when it is good and not good. You don't have to hurt feelings. Once you get a rep for being honest, that's what people expect. wink

And you don't have to tell them how bad it sounded. Most kids already have cell phones. Get them to record themselves, short portions, and simply listen to what is actually happening.

I always am, but I was relating to where the OP is. smile


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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725901
04/01/18 07:15 PM
04/01/18 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Morodiene
There have been times when I just have to be frank with a student and tell them how badly it sounded. There are some students - especially boys - that this works with.

Why not always be frank?

Just always be honest. Say when it is good and not good. You don't have to hurt feelings. Once you get a rep for being honest, that's what people expect. wink

And you don't have to tell them how bad it sounded. Most kids already have cell phones. Get them to record themselves, short portions, and simply listen to what is actually happening.


Gary D, thank you for demonstrating just what bullying is, I will be sure not to do the same with my students...


I'm confused. Granted, everyone knows how stupid I am, but are you saying that Gary D. is bullying his students?

Is it not possible for students to have the strength to know that their worth as a human being is not commensurate with their competence at playing piano?

So if the Dalai Lama or the Pope or Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King Jr. were unable to play the piano beautifully, their worth as humans would be diminished?

Or if Charles Manson or Adolf Hitler or (insert name of horrible person here) were able to play beautifully then they would be people to be admired and emulated?

Is it not important for students to separate their worth as humans from their ability to play piano?


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Morodiene] #2725904
04/01/18 07:25 PM
04/01/18 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Morodiene
There have been times when I just have to be frank with a student and tell them how badly it sounded. There are some students - especially boys - that this works with.

Why not always be frank?

Just always be honest. Say when it is good and not good. You don't have to hurt feelings. Once you get a rep for being honest, that's what people expect. wink

And you don't have to tell them how bad it sounded. Most kids already have cell phones. Get them to record themselves, short portions, and simply listen to what is actually happening.

I always am, but I was relating to where the OP is. smile

Got it. smile


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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725905
04/01/18 07:31 PM
04/01/18 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows

Gary D, thank you for demonstrating just what bullying is

I have no idea where this is coming from. I really don't.


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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: malkin] #2725906
04/01/18 07:39 PM
04/01/18 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin


I'm confused. Granted, everyone knows how stupid I am, but are you saying that Gary D. is bullying his students?

Is it not possible for students to have the strength to know that their worth as a human being is not commensurate with their competence at playing piano?

I honestly don't understand what's going on.

If my students are not playing well, and for some reason they think they are, doesn't it make sense that I want them to know what the reality is, when they are just with me, before they try the same thing out in public?

If I tell people to record themselves and listen, to find out what is actually happening, how is that bullying? I've done the same thing myself, for myself, since I was young. I already had a tape recorder when I was a pre-teen. I bought it with lawn money.

The fact is that we often have around a six month to a year honeymoon period with new students, including transfers, and if by the time a year is up people are not playing well and do not feel good about that good playing, they are very likely to quit.

I think being tougher in the first year or two leads to more relaxed and more success later on, because the most critical things happen in the first year.

By the way, I assume most people remember that I ask a parent to be present at all times for at least the first year, and often more. So nothing I do is covert, and sometimes, when parents are being too hard, I intervene on the side of the kids.


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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Gary D.] #2725910
04/01/18 08:08 PM
04/01/18 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by malkin


I'm confused. Granted, everyone knows how stupid I am, but are you saying that Gary D. is bullying his students?

Is it not possible for students to have the strength to know that their worth as a human being is not commensurate with their competence at playing piano?


I honestly don't understand what's going on.

If my students are not playing well, and for some reason they think they are, doesn't it make sense that I want them to know what the reality is, when they are just with me, before they try the same thing out in public?



You're a bully and I'm a sarcastic pedant. Welcome to the internet.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725915
04/01/18 08:59 PM
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Bullies and pedants? wink

My first teacher - a teenage girl less than twice my age - didn't lay down the law on me. She just made sure that I got my notes and rhythm right, using the correct fingering, from the first lesson, counting the beats (singing them in pitch) aloud with me, playing along with me an octave lower initially. Next lesson, she'd play the teacher's accompaniment along with me, improvising it herself if there wasn't any printed in the book. I had no choice but to keep time because she kept strict time always, and never used a metronome. I couldn't speed up even if I wanted to.

And she played me a nice, short classical piece at the end of every lesson to show me what good playing of good music is all about. I couldn't help but absorb everything by osmosis......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725923
04/01/18 10:14 PM
04/01/18 10:14 PM
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I don't understand what's going on in the thread either.

I do want to say that I'm very grateful to my teacher for telling me right out when something is not good. There is never blame or sarcasm--just very clear feedback about what doesn't work and needs to change.

Early on I happened to be doing really well for a while, and I started to think he was so nice that he would always say something positive. Then I messed up and learned that I could trust him completely to give me the straight information I need in order to improve.

I'm not such a big fan of asking students to record and listen to hear what's wrong, unless the problems are really so obvious that they can't miss them. I depend on my teacher's expertise to hear things that I wouldn't. If he notices a problem, I'm glad he will just tell me.


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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725937
04/01/18 11:31 PM
04/01/18 11:31 PM
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Hi JDW
I do agree that my teacher hears things that I would not hear, but on the other hand, the more I listen to myself and attempt to spot areas that need improvement, the better I get at critical listening and working out the solution. Just a thought.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725939
04/01/18 11:37 PM
04/01/18 11:37 PM
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Maybe this seven year tenure has reached its natural conclusion. It's time he hears all the things you said from another teacher. Either that or you need a very slow thorough approach playing every phrase three times or more in the lesson. On each pass, focus on one thing, only timing, or only dynamics/ shaping. Or explain you are only going to fix system one and two with him. If he tries to play system three, stop him and say that's not the target area. If he wants to keep just running things through, explain that that's done more when all the problem areas have been addressed.

But essentially, I'd let this student go. I say,"I'm not interested in typing. A computer could be programmed to play the way you're playing and I'm not interested in mechanical piano playing." If you want this point to sink in, surprise him with the end of his lessons. Thank him for all his efforts but explain that you can no longer listen to typing. It's not bullying to state where things are at after seven years. I did once surprise a student who complained he didn't want piano lessons. I gave him exactly his wish. You don't want piano lessons? You don't get piano lessons then.

Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Gary D.] #2725941
04/01/18 11:45 PM
04/01/18 11:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
I have no idea where this is coming from. I really don't.


I think perhaps chasingrainbows thought you were being unfair when you accused her of bullying the student. I think she was might have been making the point that your comment was, itself, a bit like bullying towards her.


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

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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: pianopi] #2725944
04/01/18 11:54 PM
04/01/18 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by pianopi
Originally Posted by Gary D.
I have no idea where this is coming from. I really don't.


I think perhaps chasingrainbows thought you were being unfair when you accused her of bullying the student. I think she was might have been making the point that your comment was, itself, a bit like bullying towards her.

My comment was to AZN, not to her:
Originally Posted by Gary

If this "tough love" is not tempered by some amount of support and praise, it's bullying.

I don't believe you are a bully. I believe at times you PRESENT yourself as one, which gives people here a very wrong impression. wink

This was in response to something AZN wrote. It had nothing to do with ChaisingRainbows.

Before reposting what he said, I need to make clear that this was in reply to what he was writing. I've been talking to AZN a few years. He's actually a kind person. But this is what he wrote:
Originally Posted by AZN

Patience is overrated.

Earlier today I taught two of my late transfers (both came to me after level 8). I now can get both of them to produce what I want them to produce, because I am not patient with them, and I don't hesitate to point out what lousy teachers they've had until they found me. I use a combination of intimidation, mockery, and sarcasm. Mixed in there somewhere is an occasional joke that makes them roll on the floor laughing.

You might want to give intimidation, mockery, and sarcasm a try. I'm not being sarcastic here.

I was making the point that "intimidation, mockery, and sarcasm" can very easily turn into bullying.

The comment had NOTHING to do with ChasingRainbows. I assume she misread.

Last edited by Gary D.; 04/01/18 11:57 PM.

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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725950
04/02/18 12:45 AM
04/02/18 12:45 AM
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Orange County, CA
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I don't understand what's going on here, either. Weird turn of events.

However, I will say that when I use sarcasm with my students, most of them understand it's a joke.


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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: AZNpiano] #2725952
04/02/18 01:28 AM
04/02/18 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I don't understand what's going on here, either. Weird turn of events.

However, I will say that when I use sarcasm with my students, most of them understand it's a joke.

We've talked for years.

You've done many kind things for your students, things you never talk about in public.

That's was my point. You've almost created a legend here of a guy who heaps abuse on students, but that's about 99% humor. wink

My whole point was about setting up things right, from the start. Being tougher - not mean, just tougher - on students in the first year or so sets up a standard. I'm not talking about ridicule, sarcasm or intimidation, because those things mean (for me) instilling fear. That's the last thing I want.

Even my youngest students tell me immediately when I make a mistake. I might correct a note, and I'm in the wrong place, or I correct a finger number, forgetting that I changed it, or a thousand other things like that. Every time a young student catches me in a mistake I say:

"That's great. It's more fun when I'm wrong and you are right."

I'm only talking about setting up consistent standards. People like to know what is expected of them. They want to know what the rules are.

What does it mean to play well? What are the basics that all good musicians, even young developing musicians, have to follow to be successful?

I think the right notes, with a reasonable fingering, in tempo, without breaking down, is a reasonable goal. There are many other things that have to be added lately, but surely that is a reasonable start, right?

I also know, by the way, that correct technique is terribly important to you, as it is to me, so I am extremely careful of accepting playing, even when it sounds pretty good, that I know is going to physical walls and even to eventual injury.

If a young student is playing too fast, out of control, I know a whole bunch of ways of stopping that. One of those ways is an absolute insistence on counting, because I know of no student who does not slow down when made to count.

That counting, by the way, can be one and two and three and four and, but it can also be any set of sounds, scat.

None of what I do in lessons even remotely approaches bullying.

And one other thing: If I say something, even if it might be construed as sarcasm, and gets a laugh, I think it is in no way a negative thing. But then I'd be more apt to call it my "dry sense of humor". laugh

Last edited by Gary D.; 04/02/18 01:29 AM.

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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: jdw] #2725954
04/02/18 01:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jdw

I'm not such a big fan of asking students to record and listen to hear what's wrong, unless the problems are really so obvious that they can't miss them. I depend on my teacher's expertise to hear things that I wouldn't. If he notices a problem, I'm glad he will just tell me.

You are an adult. I never ask adults to do things they are not comfortable with.

Recordings can also be very positive. An example:

I have an adult who gets very nervous in lessons. Adults tend to say: "I could just play it perfectly right before the lesson. I don't know what happens."

So I said, "John (that's not his real name), you have an I phone, and you show me things all the time. Why don't you take one piece, divide it into four places, or spots, just as we work on here, and record those at home? See how it goes?"

That was a breakthrough, because he brought in really solid recordings. I then said, "I already know you can play these spots, so let's try them now that YOU know that *I* know that you KNOW them."

Turns out that at that point he started to get more relaxed. But he also shared with me that it was a lot harder to get them right with the record button on, which has always been my experience as a player and still is. I would often use recordings of rehearsals to judge what I could expect live.

When would I record a student in a lesson, a bit unexpectedly? Only if I continuously ran into arrogance combined with a continued insistence that what I am saying is happening is NOT happening. At that point as a teacher I have to do something to break through, because there is no acknowledgement of reality.


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Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2725967
04/02/18 04:10 AM
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Finland
I cannot see how honest (but not unfriendly) criticism could ever go wrong if introduced from the start. Fortunately I come from a culture where people do not expect things to be sugar-coated and straightforward speech is more a rule than exception...

As an adult student I encountered two piano teachers who were very different in their initial approach to me: The first one said positive things and seemed to have little expectations but I felt something wasn't quite right and quit as soon as I found another teacher. The second one said immediately that there's a lot wrong in how I approach the keyboard, and asked me if I want to change it and then continued to point out things that needed to be fixed for as long as those existed...no matter how long it took. She would never just let something pass that she thought was not ok no matter how much I tried to convince her otherwise, which I certainly did every now and then.

When I started lessons I honestly did not think my playing was good, that is why I started lessons. But I did not have any idea what was wrong. So I would expect the teacher to tell me about it right away. The worst thing I could think of would be letting the problems be while the student is allowed to advance and then suddenly make it into a big deal later. But I do not believe in continuous nagging either. My teacher did not do that, she just told me bluntly that if I keep on doing something a certain way, the result will keep on being poor and it's my choice. And then reminded me if I forgot. And if I still couldn't/wouldn't change anything, she made it clear that there's no sense in her continuing to teach me that piece/technique. I found that approach working for me even if it did not include much of what I would call positive re-enforcement. My former teacher probably would be ok for someone who is less ambitious of the quality of playing and is content with impressing just those who know little...but had I been with him for a few years without other objective assessment and then meet my second teacher? I probably would have given up the whole thing if I felt I wasted so many years just to start all over...

Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: dogperson] #2725989
04/02/18 08:58 AM
04/02/18 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Hi JDW
I do agree that my teacher hears things that I would not hear, but on the other hand, the more I listen to myself and attempt to spot areas that need improvement, the better I get at critical listening and working out the solution. Just a thought.




When I was in high school, I had a speech impediment, a bad lisp that made words with an "s" in them come out wrong, like "th". As James Whitcomb Riley said in the poem The Lisper,
Quote
"Elsie lisps so, she can't say
Her own name ist anyway! —
She says "Elthy" —like they wuz
Feathers on her words, an' they
Ist stick on her tongue like fuzz."


It sounded like an "s" to me, but the tape recorder (an old Wollensak reel-to-reel) did not lie. Feathers on her words, what an apt description!

The school speech therapist taught me to make a sound that sounded nothing like an "s" to my ears, but he assured me it really was. Then we worked on substituting that sound everywhere there needed to be an s. This was not quick or comfortable but I eventually succeeded. Somewhere along the line it began to sound like an S to my ears, which had become calibrated.

The same thing happens slowly when I record my practice sessions. My ear gets better at hearing what the microphone does. But this only works with going back and forth with short phrases. Listening to a half hour session may have benefits but it doesn't apply to ear calibration.


gotta go practice
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Gary D.] #2726017
04/02/18 10:59 AM
04/02/18 10:59 AM
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
pianist lady and AZN, I am giving him one more opportunity to heed my suggestions and critiques over the last 7 years.

Patience is overrated.

Earlier today I taught two of my late transfers (both came to me after level 8). I now can get both of them to produce what I want them to produce, because I am not patient with them, and I don't hesitate to point out what lousy teachers they've had until they found me. I use a combination of intimidation, mockery, and sarcasm. Mixed in there somewhere is an occasional joke that makes them roll on the floor laughing.

You might want to give intimidation, mockery, and sarcasm a try. I'm not being sarcastic here.

If this "tough love" is not tempered by some amount of support and praise, it's bullying.

I don't believe you are a bully. I believe at times you PRESENT yourself as one, which gives people here a very wrong impression. wink

But I do agree with you about being tough when tough is needed.

Most of my students are people I genuinely like. I want them to like music, even eventually love it. I don't want my students, especially the young ones, to fear me, or come to lessons dreading the time I am going to spend with them.

However, I do tell them that it is "Groundhog Day" when they come in utterly unprepared, unless it is a very rare thing and for a very good reason.

I also regularly talk about "Let's pretend," and what it means. That is my phrase for when anyone, including one of us, is imagining being on stage or in front of people and getting a generous amount of applause when what is really happening is just awful. And, by the way, I think it happens to the greatest players on the planet, but the great ones catch themselves after around 10 seconds, while students can go on this way for a very long time, lost in a fantasy.

Then there is "Go magic fingers," which is about trusting the fingers, reflexes and muscle memory to get the job done. Again, the best players in the world will do that, but the moment things go wrong, they immediately go into hyper-attentive mode and fix the problems. Most students will practice that way, over and over, day after day, until something happens that brings in reality. The most common thing is a horrible performance, a complete train wreck, but if it gets to that point, the more sensitive will be so embarrassed that they will quit.



Gary D., this thread has morphed in the wrong direction entirely. I apologize if I misread your comments about bullying, but if you look at your post, you did include my quote about putting my foot down. I didn't know you were responding to AZN. Again, I obviously misinterpreted, and apologize. I was shocked,and offended, since the last word anyone would describe me as would be a bully. More like, a pushover, however, when pushed to my limits, I can resort to tough love tactics.

Last edited by chasingrainbows; 04/02/18 11:02 AM.

Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2726043
04/02/18 12:50 PM
04/02/18 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows

Gary D., this thread has morphed in the wrong direction entirely. I apologize if I misread your comments about bullying, but if you look at your post, you did include my quote about putting my foot down. I didn't know you were responding to AZN. Again, I obviously misinterpreted, and apologize. I was shocked,and offended, since the last word anyone would describe me as would be a bully. More like, a pushover, however, when pushed to my limits, I can resort to tough love tactics.

I have looked at my post, and here is what was said:
You wrote:

Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
pianist lady and AZN, I am giving him one more opportunity to heed my suggestions and critiques over the last 7 years.

AZN wrote:
Originally Posted by ASN

Patience is overrated.

Earlier today I taught two of my late transfers (both came to me after level 8). I now can get both of them to produce what I want them to produce, because I am not patient with them, and I don't hesitate to point out what lousy teachers they've had until they found me. I use a combination of intimidation, mockery, and sarcasm. Mixed in there somewhere is an occasional joke that makes them roll on the floor laughing.

You might want to give intimidation, mockery, and sarcasm a try. I'm not being sarcastic here.

I wrote, to AZN:
Originally Posted by Gary

If this "tough love" is not tempered by some amount of support and praise, it's bullying.

I don't believe you are a bully. I believe at times you PRESENT yourself as one, which gives people here a very wrong impression. wink

But I do agree with you about being tough when tough is needed.

Please check the post.

At no time did I address you personally. I never called you a bully, never in any way asserted that you are a bully.

In addition, I said very clearly that I know, from talking to you personally, that AZN is NOT a bully. I said his words, in that particular post, made him SOUND as if he were.


Last edited by Gary D.; 04/02/18 12:58 PM.

Piano Teacher
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Gary D.] #2726080
04/02/18 02:19 PM
04/02/18 02:19 PM
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Gary, I understand now that you weren't calling chasingrainbows a bully, and that your post on 03/31/18 at 02:02 AM was addressed to AZN. I think what made things unclear was this statement of yours at the beginning of your post:

If this "tough love" is not tempered by some amount of support and praise, it's bullying.

The problem (for me, anyway, and I suspect for chasingrainbows, too, and perhaps other readers) was the quotation marks you put around the words "tough love." Chasingrainbows used those exact words in her post on 03-30-18 at 04:47 PM. Quotation marks give the impression of a direct quote, and at no time did AZN use the exact words "tough love." Chasingrainbows, however, did, so that made it appear as if you were speaking to her in your first sentence.

An honest mistake on your part, but one that contributed to the misunderstanding, IMO.

Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Gary D.] #2726100
04/02/18 03:15 PM
04/02/18 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by jdw

I'm not such a big fan of asking students to record and listen to hear what's wrong, unless the problems are really so obvious that they can't miss them. I depend on my teacher's expertise to hear things that I wouldn't. If he notices a problem, I'm glad he will just tell me.

You are an adult. I never ask adults to do things they are not comfortable with.

Recordings can also be very positive. An example:

I have an adult who gets very nervous in lessons. Adults tend to say: "I could just play it perfectly right before the lesson. I don't know what happens."

So I said, "John (that's not his real name), you have an I phone, and you show me things all the time. Why don't you take one piece, divide it into four places, or spots, just as we work on here, and record those at home? See how it goes?"

That was a breakthrough, because he brought in really solid recordings. I then said, "I already know you can play these spots, so let's try them now that YOU know that *I* know that you KNOW them."

Turns out that at that point he started to get more relaxed. But he also shared with me that it was a lot harder to get them right with the record button on, which has always been my experience as a player and still is. I would often use recordings of rehearsals to judge what I could expect live.

When would I record a student in a lesson, a bit unexpectedly? Only if I continuously ran into arrogance combined with a continued insistence that what I am saying is happening is NOT happening. At that point as a teacher I have to do something to break through, because there is no acknowledgement of reality.


Just to clarify, I wasn't meaning to imply that it's not useful to record and listen to one's own playing (I do it myself)--just that it doesn't substitute for the teacher's insight. An earlier post--can't recall from whom--seemed to imply that it was a substitute for telling students that their playing doesn't sound good.


1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Chopin, Waltz in E minor (op. posth.)
Schubert, Op. 90 no. 2
Mendelssohn, Op. 19 no. 2
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Andamento] #2726101
04/02/18 03:15 PM
04/02/18 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Andamento
Gary, I understand now that you weren't calling chasingrainbows a bully, and that your post on 03/31/18 at 02:02 AM was addressed to AZN. I think what made things unclear was this statement of yours at the beginning of your post:

If this "tough love" is not tempered by some amount of support and praise, it's bullying.

The problem (for me, anyway, and I suspect for chasingrainbows, too, and perhaps other readers) was the quotation marks you put around the words "tough love." Chasingrainbows used those exact words in her post on 03-30-18 at 04:47 PM. Quotation marks give the impression of a direct quote, and at no time did AZN use the exact words "tough love." Chasingrainbows, however, did, so that made it appear as if you were speaking to her in your first sentence.

An honest mistake on your part, but one that contributed to the misunderstanding, IMO.

My remark was in response to AZN's comment.

I'm totally in favor of "tough love", when it is necessary, and I think that if ChaisingRainbows is doing that, it's 100% appropriate. I can't imagine her being unpleasant. That does not seem to be her style.

I'll leave it at that.

Last edited by Gary D.; 04/02/18 03:16 PM.

Piano Teacher
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: Andamento] #2726162
04/02/18 08:31 PM
04/02/18 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Andamento
Gary, I understand now that you weren't calling chasingrainbows a bully, and that your post on 03/31/18 at 02:02 AM was addressed to AZN. I think what made things unclear was this statement of yours at the beginning of your post:

If this "tough love" is not tempered by some amount of support and praise, it's bullying.

The problem (for me, anyway, and I suspect for chasingrainbows, too, and perhaps other readers) was the quotation marks you put around the words "tough love." Chasingrainbows used those exact words in her post on 03-30-18 at 04:47 PM. Quotation marks give the impression of a direct quote, and at no time did AZN use the exact words "tough love." Chasingrainbows, however, did, so that made it appear as if you were speaking to her in your first sentence.

An honest mistake on your part, but one that contributed to the misunderstanding, IMO.


Yes, that explains much better how I misread it (than I explained),, Andamento. Thanks.

Last edited by chasingrainbows; 04/02/18 08:32 PM.

Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: Students that exhaust my energy [Re: chasingrainbows] #2726227
04/03/18 09:02 AM
04/03/18 09:02 AM
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I am a piano teacher to students aged 7-89. A few years ago I decided to take some voice lessons. I’ve also tried lots of different fitness classes and sports. What I have learned is that I’m not a perfect student either. My voice teacher often has to remind me of the same things week after week. Sometimes I don’t practice enough. Of course, it is a little easier to “fake it” since I can read music well.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that you can gain empathy and understanding by being a student yourself. Many of us learned how to play the piano so long ago that we don’t remember what it’s like to be a student and learn something new. It is refreshing, interesting, and reminds you of the steps involved in learning something and that progress doesn’t happen in a straight line.

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