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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: AZNpiano] #2730485
04/21/18 02:45 AM
04/21/18 02:45 AM
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A possible idea, related to the above post: Don't fire them, but get them to quit themselves. If they don't progress, or are deadbeats, say that you've been thinking about how much time you have left on this earth, and you want all of your teaching to have value, and you want to make THEM get their money's worth for lessons, so as a result of this new epiphany, you standards will rise astronomically. Make sure they know it's about YOU, not THEM. Tell them that you understand if they can't rise to these new standards of teaching, and then mention that you have some "Easier" teachers on hand. I'm assuming the reason you want to fire them is because lack of practice/motivation.

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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: Opus_Maximus] #2730493
04/21/18 04:14 AM
04/21/18 04:14 AM
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Orange County, CA
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
I'm assuming the reason you want to fire them is because lack of practice/motivation.

That is probably the biggest reason.


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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: Opus_Maximus] #2730524
04/21/18 08:28 AM
04/21/18 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
A possible idea, related to the above post: Don't fire them, but get them to quit themselves. If they don't progress, or are deadbeats, say that you've been thinking about how much time you have left on this earth, and you want all of your teaching to have value, and you want to make THEM get their money's worth for lessons, so as a result of this new epiphany, you standards will rise astronomically. Make sure they know it's about YOU, not THEM. Tell them that you understand if they can't rise to these new standards of teaching, and then mention that you have some "Easier" teachers on hand. I'm assuming the reason you want to fire them is because lack of practice/motivation.
.

Are you talking about adults or children? With adults, this might work. With children, not so much because with a child it doesn’t matter whether a child is motivated or not, if the parent wants him to take piano lessons. Wouldn’t most parents argue that their child would meet these new standards?

My sister hated lessons and would only practice under threat of extinction . My parents would not have accepted this explanation and would have insisted that she stay. Sometimes brutal honesty is what it takes......

Disclaimer: I am not a piano teacher, so I’m only viewing this approach from a personal perspective


Last edited by dogperson; 04/21/18 08:56 AM.
Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: AZNpiano] #2730543
04/21/18 10:08 AM
04/21/18 10:08 AM
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A couple of times there have been suggestions that seem to be in the direction of lying to students or manipulating them. That feels wrong on a lot of levels.

Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: AZNpiano] #2730571
04/21/18 11:51 AM
04/21/18 11:51 AM
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A reason, perhaps, for teachers to go the other route, grit their teeth and work even harder to accommodate the unmotivated student:



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

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTc4esj9xQG6NjLIr9an29Q
Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: AZNpiano] #2730593
04/21/18 12:15 PM
04/21/18 12:15 PM
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Pianopi
In my opinion, that video is missing the point. Yes every child can learn to be musical with good instruction. What is omitted is that the child must want to become musical..... good teaching is just one element, But if the interest is missing, if the child would rather be playing field hockey and has no interest at all in learning to play................

Thank about some activity or training that was available but in which you had no interest: What if you were forced to take lessons from one of the best instructors in the world, would that have made a difference? I contend ‘no’ . My interest was in music, and nothing that anyone could’ve done would’ve made me a good hockey player or given my enjoyment in playing.

Drop a student that has no interest in learning music? I think we would be doing the student a favor


"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

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: AZNpiano] #2730601
04/21/18 12:33 PM
04/21/18 12:33 PM
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pianopi Offline
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dogperson, yes, I agree. But seeing it from the other side:

-interest in things is kindled sometimes by a teacher or mentor explaining/showing passionately what is interesting about a subject. (It may take some years of passionate explaining for the penny to drop, of course ..)
-students are sometimes (very) slow to develop and interest and with a little push, and a bit more time, students who seemed potential no-hopers become excited and masterful at their subject.
-adults who regret not being able to play an instrument properly regret not being pushed more as a child to work harder at their music lessons.


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

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTc4esj9xQG6NjLIr9an29Q
Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: pianopi] #2730620
04/21/18 01:27 PM
04/21/18 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by pianopi
-adults who regret not being able to play an instrument properly regret not being pushed more as a child to work harder at their music lessons.

Adults who got mistaught, maybe mistreated, who can't stand the sight of the instrument.

Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: keystring] #2730625
04/21/18 01:38 PM
04/21/18 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by pianopi
-adults who regret not being able to play an instrument properly regret not being pushed more as a child to work harder at their music lessons.

Adults who got mistaught, maybe mistreated, who can't stand the sight of the instrument.



Or adults who were not mistaught .... but have no regrets about discontinuing playing


"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

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: pianopi] #2730627
04/21/18 01:46 PM
04/21/18 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by pianopi
-interest in things is kindled sometimes by a teacher or mentor explaining/showing passionately what is interesting about a subject. (It may take some years of passionate explaining for the penny to drop, of course.

Forget about passion and kindlings. Give me competent instruction so I can get the skills. In fact, the worst torture is to take a student who may have some interest in music, expose him to lovely playing, and then don't give him the tools to do so. Or let him rush ahead through tricks like finger numbers, choreography, and music that lends itself to that, so he has the illusion of learning, and then suddenly he runs his head smack into a ceiling that should not be there.

Reference was made in this thread to transfer wrecks. How do you think maybe they got "wrecked"? Should other teachers be stuck with forever trying to fix what went wrong?

@Dogperson - yes, that too.

Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: keystring] #2730661
04/21/18 05:09 PM
04/21/18 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring

Forget about passion and kindlings. Give me competent instruction so I can get the skills.


So a completely bored teacher would be better then..?


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

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTc4esj9xQG6NjLIr9an29Q
Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: pianopi] #2730679
04/21/18 06:07 PM
04/21/18 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by pianopi
Originally Posted by keystring

Forget about passion and kindlings. Give me competent instruction so I can get the skills.


So a completely bored teacher would be better then..?

Better than what? Can you respond to the whole of it, because that is important. I can't answer this way and I also don't know if you understood the point I was making which to me makes a fair bit of difference.

Last edited by keystring; 04/21/18 06:11 PM.
Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: AZNpiano] #2730701
04/21/18 08:49 PM
04/21/18 08:49 PM
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Orange County, CA
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I've had boring teachers in my life, and I've managed to learn from them.

From what I can observe (through competitions, festivals, and other adjudicated events), there is a lot of bad teaching going on around my town. I don't care how inspirational these teachers are--if their students play with bad technique, or WRONG technique, you end up with a lot of damage that can't be undone.

I'm sure those students I fire will complain to their next piano teacher that I'm not very inspirational.


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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: AZNpiano] #2730716
04/21/18 10:03 PM
04/21/18 10:03 PM
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Boynton Beach, FL
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At the end of the day, the student has to want to learn. If they don't it doesn't matter how you try to inspire, cajole, bribe...learning will not happen unless/until the student wants to learn. And there are students who don't want to learn, unfortunately.

FWIW, I don't know of any "bored" teacher who would even bother to come on a forum like this to seek advice on any aspect of teaching or running their business. so not sure where the bored comment comes from.


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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: Morodiene] #2730777
04/22/18 03:33 AM
04/22/18 03:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
At the end of the day, the student has to want to learn. If they don't it doesn't matter how you try to inspire, cajole, bribe...learning will not happen unless/until the student wants to learn. And there are students who don't want to learn, unfortunately.

FWIW, I don't know of any "bored" teacher who would even bother to come on a forum like this to seek advice on any aspect of teaching or running their business. so not sure where the bored comment comes from.

The idea is that a teacher who is covering all basic skills and setting a firm foundation is boring.

That makes me a very boring teacher. wink


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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: pianopi] #2730778
04/22/18 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by pianopi

-adults who regret not being able to play an instrument properly regret not being pushed more as a child to work harder at their music lessons.

Who should these adults blame for not being pushed more?


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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: Gary D.] #2730782
04/22/18 04:00 AM
04/22/18 04:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by pianopi

-adults who regret not being able to play an instrument properly regret not being pushed more as a child to work harder at their music lessons.

Who should these adults blame for not being pushed more?


This concept of adults who look back and ‘wish’ IMHO, Is just a wish for fairy dust. Until recently I lived in an adult only community. When my neighbors Heard Me playing the piano, they would make similar comments of childhood regrets. When I told them I was taking lessons again as an adult (after a many decade gap), and they could as well, they were just too busy sunning by the pool. Dreams of fairy dust rather than dreams of diligence to learn.

If you would’ve put them backwards in a time capsule, I am not a believer that anyone could’ve motivated them to have worked harder, I have nightmares of the family tearful
fights to get my sister to practice. No one could’ve motivated her regarding the piano; she wanted a tennis racket in her hand


"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

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: dogperson] #2730810
04/22/18 08:14 AM
04/22/18 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Pianopi
In my opinion, that video is missing the point. Yes every child can learn to be musical with good instruction. What is omitted is that the child must want to become musical..... good teaching is just one element, But if the interest is missing, if the child would rather be playing field hockey and has no interest at all in learning to play................

Thank about some activity or training that was available but in which you had no interest: What if you were forced to take lessons from one of the best instructors in the world, would that have made a difference? I contend ‘no’ . My interest was in music, and nothing that anyone could’ve done would’ve made me a good hockey player or given my enjoyment in playing.

Drop a student that has no interest in learning music? I think we would be doing the student a favor

Some push back:

How many of our children never learn to read? How many never learn the basic skills that are expected of them in school?

Yes, there are certainly children in school who fail at English, or math, or in other subjects. But the majority succeed reasonably. I have two step-children, and they both read fluently. My grand-kids all read. Everyone in my family read except for one cousin who was severely dyslexic, and he probably could have been taught to read. They knowledge of how to teach dyslexics way back in the 50s was horrendous.

Everyone else read books. No one else grew up illiterate.

But none of the children or adults who come to me can read a line or a space. NONE of them. They all come to me utterly musically illiterate. This is their reality, and if they want to learn they are entirely dependent upon me. If they have any problems, and I can't fix them, they get no help elsewhere, because no one else they know knows anything about music.

This is true if they come to me at age four, or fourteen.

Because they come to me without any knowledge at all of how to read music, that means in most cases they can't play anything.

I have to teach them.

EVERYTHING.

This is equally true of adults, but now we are looking at much more time gone by of not knowing anything and most likely assuming that there is no ability, no possibility of playing.

There is NOTHING in our school system that states that learning to play a musical instrument is a necessary skill, and so the burden is on teachers to try to overcome this incredible lack in our society, at least in the society of the US - in which reading music is practically looked upon as a Dark Art.

None of all this has to do with a lack of innate ability, and it's not about lack of interest.

It is a gigantic cultural abyss.

So the man talking in this video is mostly right, and part or most of the resistance to learning to play, meaning getting involved in the study of an instrument, is set up by society itself.

Last edited by Gary D.; 04/22/18 08:21 AM.

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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: Morodiene] #2730813
04/22/18 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
At the end of the day, the student has to want to learn. If they don't it doesn't matter how you try to inspire, cajole, bribe...learning will not happen unless/until the student wants to learn. And there are students who don't want to learn, unfortunately.

FWIW, I don't know of any "bored" teacher who would even bother to come on a forum like this to seek advice on any aspect of teaching or running their business. so not sure where the bored comment comes from.

I agree with you 100%.

But I think we are all talking about two different things.

1. Can we teach people who do not want to learn? No. We can't. We are not wizards or magicians.

Right now I have one pre-teen girl who absolutely does not want to play the piano. She does not like the piano. She certainly does not want to "practice", and it's clear she associates "playing the piano" with a combination of failure and boredom. And the mother is one of these "permissive adults" who allows her to come to lessons week after week and expects nothing. I have told the mother she might as well be flushing cash down her toilet. But she is one of the thick-headed morons who just "does not get it". I have not fired this girl because I have not had the energy to pick a battle, and I'm waiting for the inevitable to happen - the daughter rebelling and stopping the pain for both of us.

BUT:

2. There is also reasons why so many people are not interested in "what we are selling".

A. There is no support for the skills we are teaching. No one needs a good grade in music to get into college. No one needs some kind of credit claiming musical competence to get a job. There is no cultural support for music, at least in the US.

B. Because there are no standards, anyone can teach music. I can charge as much or more than what I charge without having any knowledge at all. I simply have to state that I'm a teacher, then start taking people's money.

It's 100% legal, which is obvious to me every week as I deal with the wreckage of completely incompetent adults who claim to be music teachers.

C. Even teachers who do know something about playing do not have to know anything about pedagogy, so all of us - as teachers - are free to continue using methods and strategies that have been 100% wrong for centuries.

D. Many people rightfully rebel at having to learn to do something for which there is zero payoff. If you or I can't show a young student why music is fun, why it's it's own reward, why should such a young student want to do the work?

With all that we are working against it's amazing that any of us, who do care, have any kind of success. This is equally true of students and teachers. We are basically all in a hopeless situation as we, like Sisyphus, try to push the same rock up the same hill in Hades each day.


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Re: How to "Fire" Students Nicely [Re: dogperson] #2730817
04/22/18 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by pianopi

-adults who regret not being able to play an instrument properly regret not being pushed more as a child to work harder at their music lessons.

Who should these adults blame for not being pushed more?


This concept of adults who look back and ‘wish’ IMHO, Is just a wish for fairy dust. Until recently I lived in an adult only community. When my neighbors Heard Me playing the piano, they would make similar comments of childhood regrets. When I told them I was taking lessons again as an adult (after a many decade gap), and they could as well, they were just too busy sunning by the pool. Dreams of fairy dust rather than dreams of diligence to learn.

If you would’ve put them backwards in a time capsule, I am not a believer that anyone could’ve motivated them to have worked harder, I have nightmares of the family tearful
fights to get my sister to practice. No one could’ve motivated her regarding the piano; she wanted a tennis racket in her hand

I get some students like your sister, and if they have parents who insist they have to take lessons, I help them quit.

There is no reason why everyone should learn an instrument, at least in the US where this is absolutely no practical reason for doing so.

But there are also kids who would rather work in a salt mine than be forced to run back and forth on a tennis court, hitting a round fuzzy ball with a racket. (I loved tennis AND music, hated chemistry, biology and a few other school subjects, which I failed in miserably.)

However, I would estimate that more than 50% of the students are start with are, as they start, are undecided about whether or not they like playing. I then have a "honeymoon period" of perhaps three months to convince them that what I teach is enjoyable. At the end of those three months, if they can do nothing, they will quit. It's just a matter of time.

This one fact is usually not talked about.

There are very few people who hate what they are really good it, with some very famous exceptions. Andre Agassi grew up hating tennis, and he was bullied into playing the sport.

Did Beethoven really love music when he was a child?

We will never know, since he was an abused child, forced to practice the piano endlessly by his father, who was a monster.

There are two ways to get students to succeed.

1. Make them do what we want, and with enough power and enough consequences we can make people do what they hate, and do it well. This will likely destroy them as human beings, ultimately, but they will do what we demand if we can beat them and humiliate them if they do not do as we demand.

2. Help them develop a love for what they are learning.

Number two is harder, way harder, but when it succeeds it will work for a lifetime, and they young children we help will ultimately respect us, at the least, and they may become future friends.

Number one is all about power, and fear, and any kind of success accomplished with such tactics results in incalculable damage, which in my view is never worth the results in being able to do something.


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