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Advice needed choosing a piano teacher? #2744302
06/14/18 03:42 AM
06/14/18 03:42 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
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saltandpepper Offline OP
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saltandpepper  Offline OP
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Joined: Jun 2018
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Hi!

So first off, sorry for the long post but I really am in a bit of a dilema! I am transferring teachers, after both me and my teacher agreed I’d gone as far I could under their guidance and have recently trialled two very different teachers.

One of them is a wonderful woman with all the enthusiasm in the world. She was very easy to talk to, eager to show me her credentials, meet my parents and reassure me that it was important I make sure she was the right teacher for me before signing up to anymore lessons. The lesson itself was an absolute dream; I’m usually a vert nervous person but I found it very easy to play and sing infront of her. Not only that, we were so busy experimenting with a piece that she happily went 30 minutes over the lesson time to talk and play more.

The next teacher is an older man, who has trained under a world class pianist and was a lot more cynical and critical. For a lot of the lesson I felt like crying, and was very on edge playing. He was not understanding at all when I explained that it was strange playing an unfamiliar piano and instead took it as an insult to his piano. Although the lesson was not particularly enjoyable, I learnt a lot about the piece we focused on and can play it a million times better than before after following his advice. I’m sure that if I can get used to the way he teaches, I will learn how to be a much better player.

My goal is to become the best I can on the piano, and learn as much about music as possible. I do not want my anxious personality to deny me the chance at playing at the level I want to, so am stuck making a decision between the two and would really appreciate opinions and advice!

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Re: Advice needed choosing a piano teacher? [Re: saltandpepper] #2744309
06/14/18 04:34 AM
06/14/18 04:34 AM
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barbaram Offline

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barbaram  Offline

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For me there would be no question. A teacher who leaves me upset and on edge would not work. I would be dreading every lesson. This would suck the joy out of playing and drain away all my motivation. Even if this environment of fear and criticism did lead me to technical brilliance, this for me would not be a price worth paying (but I am a mediocre amateur). My point is though that this kind of teaching would *not* lead me to be the best I could be.

So I could not work with the second teacher.

Your description of the first teacher sounds wonderful, but clearly you feel something is lacking. Can you get more specific about that?

On the other hand, are you sure you are not falling into a trap of thinking that because the first teacher's lesson was enjoyable and made you feel good whereas the second teacher's lesson was nerve-wracking and made you feel bad, that the first teacher = dessert and the second teacher = vegetables, and to be serious you need to eat your vegetables?

Finally, is it really a straight choice between these two? Surely there are more possibilities?

If the first teacher's teaching clearly falls short of the second teacher's in some definable way that is important to you, then now you have a clearer picture of what you actually require, which can help you continue your search for a new teacher.

In any case, best of luck!

Re: Advice needed choosing a piano teacher? [Re: saltandpepper] #2744316
06/14/18 05:50 AM
06/14/18 05:50 AM
Joined: Jun 2017
Posts: 96
England
Lillith Online content
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Lillith  Online Content
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As in all things, go with your first instinct. Which I assume is the first nice teacher.

Some teachers do take it upon themselves to be unpleasant, as though being good at piano, dance or whatever gives them the right.
It doesn't, and as you say lessons with the second one would become a nightmare.

No contest, really.

Re: Advice needed choosing a piano teacher? [Re: saltandpepper] #2744318
06/14/18 06:05 AM
06/14/18 06:05 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,130
Florida
dogperson Offline
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dogperson  Offline
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I do agree you need to think about what might be missing from the first teacher. It seems like you feel you could not learn as well from her even though you like her personality?

You need to ask yourself if you can reduce your anxiety around the second teacher. If not, move on Because it will affect your learning.

I want to offer one word of advice based on my own experience: I don’t believe you can make a decision about a personality fit in one lesson. With my current teacher, I realized she had the training and the skills that I wanted, But if I were to choose a teacher based on personality, I would not had started lessons with her. But I did and I made a commitment to myself that I would continue them for at least three months. It was the best decision I ever made, because as time went on I realized what a wonderful warm person she was and there was a ‘fit’. It just took some time. Initial impressions are not everything, But only you can answer that question for yourself about whether you would Be able to hang in there and give it a trial shot.

Last edited by dogperson; 06/14/18 06:06 AM.

"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: Advice needed choosing a piano teacher? [Re: saltandpepper] #2744325
06/14/18 07:08 AM
06/14/18 07:08 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 469
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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NobleHouse  Offline
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
Go with the 1st teacher. Being on "edge" is not the way to learn.

Re: Advice needed choosing a piano teacher? [Re: barbaram] #2744371
06/14/18 11:19 AM
06/14/18 11:19 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
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saltandpepper Offline OP
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saltandpepper  Offline OP
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Thank you for the reply! It has been very useful, and I definitely agree that if lessons with the second teacher continued to be as tense, it would suck the joy of playing.

On the idea of something lacking, I have no dount in the first teachers ability - she has recently moved to the area, and her old students are travelling across the country once a week to continue her lessons! However, most of her qualifications are in singing, rather than piano, so I’m probably a little concerned that my playing ability won’t be improved as much as it could.

Re: Advice needed choosing a piano teacher? [Re: saltandpepper] #2744386
06/14/18 12:09 PM
06/14/18 12:09 PM
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bennevis Online content
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bennevis  Online Content
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If you tell your teacher that you want to be the best you can be and not let you get away with any sloppiness, your teacher may well be 'stricter' and yet still be approachable, and your lessons will still enjoyable.

Teachers used to teaching adult students often relax their approach (under the impression that an adult student just wants to play stuff he/she enjoys rather than aim very high) and the student may need to be proactive in asking his teacher to be more rigorous in his approach. My retired friend had to do just that with his teacher (who specialized in teaching adults) several years ago, and he's reaping the rewards now thumb.


"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: Advice needed choosing a piano teacher? [Re: bennevis] #2744603
06/15/18 02:18 AM
06/15/18 02:18 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 3
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saltandpepper Offline OP
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saltandpepper  Offline OP
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I’m actually 16, if you count that as an adult, but I suppose I’m not a young child. And thank you, thats a good approach and I will definitely make sure to aks them.


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