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Necessity of being a good piano teacher #2746450
06/23/18 01:02 AM
06/23/18 01:02 AM
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Candywoman Offline OP
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For years, I've tried to be the best piano teacher I can be. But since very few students actually play very well, or study very well, or continue playing much of anything beyond high school, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm putting far too much effort into my teaching.

I try like crazy to help students with their timing in pop songs. It's exhausting.

This week, I asked a girl for about the sixth time to cut her nails. This is disrespectful to me.

Students consistently forget their piano books.

They have only one possible time they can even attend piano every week with their insane number of dance classes (six weekly classes for one of my students) and soccer classes.

I used to love my piano teachers and do what I could to please them. Should I just play it more cool? How can this be done?

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Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746452
06/23/18 01:19 AM
06/23/18 01:19 AM
Joined: Apr 2013
Posts: 323
Not behind my piano
JazzyMac Offline
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Not behind my piano
Stop complaining for one. Just my opinion.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746454
06/23/18 01:45 AM
06/23/18 01:45 AM
Joined: May 2009
Posts: 635
Manila
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Speaking as an adult student here--the young ones don't tend to appreciate a good teacher. After all, that's all they know as they have no other point of reference. It's when they're older (and hopefully wiser) that the realization hits them how lucky they were and only then do they become thankful. Just speaking from personal experience blush We had a music teacher at school I was deathly afraid of when I was younger but it was only after I started learning piano as an adult that I learned to appreciate all the theory she made us learn. It significantly reduced the mental load in learning how to play (I already understood 90% of the musical symbols and could read notes despite never having played a musical instrument) and actually made me seem more capable than I really was!

As for piano, after a string of bad teachers, there's no way I'm letting go of my amazing teacher now grin Like you, he goes through great pains to make sure I get my timing right. An amazing feat since I had a certifiably wonky sense of rhythm when I came to him and he "fixed" me within half a year.


Working on: Schumann Album for the Young, Clementi Op 36 No. 1 (all movements), Various Bach, Czerny 599
+ CASIO PX-720 and PX-730 +
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746455
06/23/18 02:04 AM
06/23/18 02:04 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 412
LA CA
Rob Mullins Offline
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
For years, I've tried to be the best piano teacher I can be. But since very few students actually play very well, or study very well, or continue playing much of anything beyond high school, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm putting far too much effort into my teaching.

I try like crazy to help students with their timing in pop songs. It's exhausting.

This week, I asked a girl for about the sixth time to cut her nails. This is disrespectful to me.

Students consistently forget their piano books.

They have only one possible time they can even attend piano every week with their insane number of dance classes (six weekly classes for one of my students) and soccer classes.

I used to love my piano teachers and do what I could to please them. Should I just play it more cool? How can this be done?




Hey there, and greetings from Los Angeles.
Current climate for most teachers here in this city
is dismal.
Young people consider Youtube GOD.
Culturally, here in America, youth are in a lot of
trouble if you ask me.

Sadly, the modern world is about self centered
narcissism which is promoted heavily by computer
and phone companies, as well as Google.

When I was young, I revered my teachers and did everything
they asked, tried to do more.
In today's climate, if a student asks me about a furry hat
worn by a millennial who can't sing or play and does
one chord for 30 thirty minutes, the student instantly
rushes to the judgement that my whole teaching career
amounts to nothing because I haven't seen the video
of the furry hat people.
No one knows who the Beatles are, rarely anyone
exists before the student's personal birthday in their mind.

It's just insane, and getting worse.

If you can afford to take a break from teaching, I
suggest you do that. It can be maddening for sure.

My two cents.


Rob Mullins
www.planetmullins.com
Recording Artist and Jazz Piano Instructor
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746506
06/23/18 09:21 AM
06/23/18 09:21 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,156
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Candywoman Offline OP
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Thanks for those comments. I've tried not complaining, but it doesn't fix anything. The students have very little time to practice and it's really like pulling teeth to get results.

Even ten years ago, things were better.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746507
06/23/18 09:35 AM
06/23/18 09:35 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,753
Florida
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Hi Candywoman
I am not a piano teacher, but rest assured that no matter the profession we often feel the same way as you do. I think only you can answer the question about how good you need to be. I have a few suggestions for how to lessen your frustrations that may or may not be helpful

Your student that will not cut her fingernails: if you consider this to be disrespectful, which I do not quite understand, you certainly have the option of telling her that if she will not cut her fingernails you will not teach her. You Need to decide how frustrating this is to you: let it go or let her go.

I’m sure you do have some students who practice and do advance. Have you considered asking the student or their parents if they know other like-minded potential students? I do not believe that all younger students act the same way

Consider adding adults to your studio: we pay for our own lessons, so when we say we cannot practice it is really because we cannot practice not because we are not motivated. Are we for frustration free? Of course not.

Can you cut down your studio workload by substituting other forms of playing where you will get payment such as performances and accompaniment?

I have offered before my teacher’s philosophy, which I am not sure that I would be able to personally do: she states she teaches to the best of her ability and then takes no Responsibility for her students’ successes or failures. She has been teaching for over 50 years, so she has found a mindset to avoid her own frustration.


"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: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746523
06/23/18 11:03 AM
06/23/18 11:03 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 248
Chicago
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John305 Online content
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I agree wholeheartedly with Rob Mullins’ assessment of this generation. It’s very hard reaching people who have such a different sense of what’s important.


It’s never too late to be what you might have been. -George Eliot
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: John305] #2746526
06/23/18 11:18 AM
06/23/18 11:18 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 743
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Just going to comment on a tiny part of this discussion:

Originally Posted by Rob Mullins
... Culturally, here in America, youth are in a lot of trouble if you ask me....


Originally Posted by John305
... I agree wholeheartedly with Rob Mullins’ assessment of this generation. ...


Personally, I like to think of it not as "better" or "worse" but just different. Each generation is different than the one before, principally because the world is changing, science and technology have led the way, and these changes are accelerating. Gen X is different than the Baby Boomers, Millennials are different than Gen X, and Gen Z are different from the Millennials. Your generation was no exception when compared with the one of your parents. And some day, Gen Z will be grown up and will think how awful their succeeding generation is compared to them. The world goes on even though we are different people today than our forefathers.

Last edited by Tyrone Slothrop; 06/23/18 11:19 AM.

across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746528
06/23/18 11:28 AM
06/23/18 11:28 AM
Joined: Sep 2014
Posts: 166
FLORIDA
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FLORIDA
Hi Candywoman,

Sounds like you are suffering from some burnout and overwork. The key to having great students is educating families about the process of piano learning.

Also, what are your goals? What are your student's goals?

It is true that fewer young people are choosing music as a full-time profession, can you blame them? Considering the cost of college and the pay we face (which isn't bad but is not always stable either). Most who can become proficient at the piano can certainly train for more lucrative careers.

You can't blame the generation because things have changed. Things are always changing, as teachers, we must adjust. That is not to say we put up with disrespectful behavior or long nails but we must find new ways to reach our students and encourage ourselves.

Maybe you could take a workshop, or try a new method or style of teaching? Perhaps group classes would motivate your students.

Here is a post about teaching students to fall in love with the piano.

https://www.palomapiano.com/love-will-keep-us-together-helping-students-fall-in-love-with-the-piano/

Best Wishes,


Doreen Hall
www.palomapiano.com
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746533
06/23/18 11:58 AM
06/23/18 11:58 AM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,156
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Candywoman Offline OP
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I will think about all these suggestions. The one with the nails, her mother has decided to leave my studio because I want to be paid in the first week of each month. She asked to pay on the 20th. I'm not comfortable with that. Those kind of people take off in June without paying. So I said to pay for the first three lessons already take in June (two girls) and then buy six lessons in the summer when you have more money, always paying in advance, to ensure your spot in September. She called me rigid and said they will not be starting in the fall. It's a shame, because I really was making progress with them.

Yes, I'm burnt out. I will take off July. But I really have to think about whether I will be raising my rates. I really want clients who can afford more. I want clients who will work hard. But the reality is that is a small percentage of the available students.

I'm going to think about group classes, and getting more adult students.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746597
06/23/18 05:48 PM
06/23/18 05:48 PM
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Good for you on holding your ground on payment terms. You're not like a utility company billing for the previous months' usage who will chase after deadbeats and ding their credit for delinquency.

Require repeat offenders of fingernails to trim them during their lesson! (keep alcohol on hand for sanitizing and keep the parents around if they are too young to do it themselves) Too-long nails are bad for posture and if it's not done correctly at the lesson, you can't expect it to be done correctly at home.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746632
06/23/18 11:26 PM
06/23/18 11:26 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,762
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Online happy
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Back in grad school, we learned this "differentiated instruction" strategy. It was aimed at teaching the same standards to students who are obviously not on equal ground, but got stuck in the same class.

Taking a page out of that strategy, I've learned to differentiate my instruction to fit the student's level of dedication. If they are more dedicated, they deserve more expert instruction. If they are not dedicated, they deserve expensive babysitting.

I have students who never cut their nails, too. And there's black stuff underneath the nails. If I feel like wasting their lesson time, I tell them to go cut the nails during the lesson. If I think that will dirty up my piano keys, I go straight into ear training. But since two of my best students fall into the long nails category, I've become more creative in dealing with the problem. A little humor goes a long way.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746634
06/23/18 11:38 PM
06/23/18 11:38 PM
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Candywoman Offline OP
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I suggested to the student that I could get the nail clippers, but to be honest, I think it's overstepping etiquette to make the student do that sort of thing in the studio. It would be a bit like having my nieces over to babysit and returning them to their mother with shorter hair. It just feels wrong. But I think I will buy some extra nailclippers and offer them to students as a gift if they cut their nails on the spot.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746650
06/24/18 01:53 AM
06/24/18 01:53 AM
Joined: Mar 2010
Posts: 7,016
Italy
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Italy
I know the nail clipping is just a small part of what you’re looking at, but I would suggest that it’s not disrespect for you that’s keeping her from cutting her nails. It’s that she values the look more than her piano work at this point.

I had very long nails for decades before starting piano- I started in my 50s.
When my teacher told me I would have to cut my nails , I was incredulous. When she said I would get to a point where long nails would irritate me, I really didn’t believe her. And I held off for ages.
It was really a very big deal for me to give up my long nails.

It wasn’t til the noise of my nails clicking on the keys started to bug me that I started cutting them back- and it took months to finally have them really short.
Yes, my teacher was right - but only my love for piano won me over.
In many ways I still miss the look of my longer nails.

I don’t mean to go on about me- but as teachers we have to realize our limits on how much influence we have over students and that what we take as disrespectful behaviour... sometimes isn’t.


[Linked Image]
EPP 2018 Sank Goar, Germany

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746664
06/24/18 06:19 AM
06/24/18 06:19 AM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 68
Canada
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Originally Posted by pavane1
Hi Candywoman,

Sounds like you are suffering from some burnout and overwork. The key to having great students is educating families about the process of piano learning.

Also, what are your goals? What are your student's goals?

Whenever I start to feel frustrated or burned out I ask myself those questions. Sometimes it means changing my goals, or maybe redirecting the student towards new goals. If I think "what is the purpose of piano lessons?", it seems to clarify things.
I've also found it helpful to choose my battles wisely. I too had a student who refused to trim her nails, even after several discussions and being shamed by an adjudicator at a festival. She was my student for several years, and was lovely to teach. Her technique was far from perfect, but she had no desire to play challenging repertoire anyway.

Originally Posted by Candywoman

Yes, I'm burnt out. I will take off July. But I really have to think about whether I will be raising my rates. I really want clients who can afford more. I want clients who will work hard. But the reality is that is a small percentage of the available students.
I'm going to think about group classes, and getting more adult students.


Raising my rates and switching to a yearly tuition (rather than paying by month) really helped my studio. There are always kids who don't practice as much as they should, but I generally have a more committed bunch than I did 5 years ago.

Another comment suggested performing/accompanying as an alternate source of income-- I agree! I play for a community choir, and enjoy getting to work with adults for a change (including a little shop talk with the director). It's less than my hourly rate for teaching, but the those benefits make it worthwhile.

Stay positive, Candywoman! I hope you can make some changes and renew your teaching.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746678
06/24/18 08:24 AM
06/24/18 08:24 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,753
Florida
dogperson Offline
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
I suggested to the student that I could get the nail clippers, but to be honest, I think it's overstepping etiquette to make the student do that sort of thing in the studio. It would be a bit like having my nieces over to babysit and returning them to their mother with shorter hair. It just feels wrong. But I think I will buy some extra nailclippers and offer them to students as a gift if they cut their nails on the spot.


Extra nail clippers as a gift? I can’t imagine that a young student would be impressed. Add to this that everyone has a personal preference of whether to use clippers or scissors. Someone mentioned that you should pick your battles; I totally agree and I would avoid making this a battle as the lack of clanking on the keys needs to become important TO THE STUDENT before you will get compliance.


"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: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746680
06/24/18 08:25 AM
06/24/18 08:25 AM
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bennevis Offline
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People have their priorities and make life choices all the time. Including choices that impact on their health and life expectancy.....but that's another story (my story).

A large part of my job is trying to convince people to make changes to their diet & lifestyle. For me, it stops there: if they don't want to, they have to live with the consequences (and I make sure they know the consequences, and keep reminding them). I don't lose any sleep over it. You can take a horse to water, etc. (But if they want to change, I do my best to help them change.)

I'm sure we all know lots of people like that - possibly including ourselves......

I too have made choices when it comes to music, when I was a student. I was trying to learn classical guitar, for which you need long nails. But I was also learning the piano, which needs short nails. The piano won, by a country mile, because it has by far a much bigger classical repertoire.

For a teenage girl, the choice between 'looking good' with long nails v the ability to play the piano properly with short nails may be obvious to her, just as it's obvious to her piano teacher. Why lose sleep over it? The same for kids who turn up with dirty fingernails - give them a brush and make them scrub their nails with soapy water (like a surgeon before an operation) before touching your piano, but don't make them cut them.

Incidentally, my youngest sister is far more musically gifted than me (she got to Grade 5 ABRSM in less than half the time it took me - OK, I was totally untalented...) but she gave up piano in her early teens. She had different priorities - friends, clothes, fashion, shopping etc - though she still loved classical music, and loved to hear me play for her. But she didn't want to make the time to practice any more. And she also wanted long nails. She never returned to the piano, but her musical knowledge wasn't wasted: she got a good job at a well-known music publishing company (where she still works now) largely on her ability to read music fluently. I suspect that if I put a score of a Mozart piano sonata in front of her, she could still sight-read it easily now, though she hasn't touched a piano for decades.......

In recent years, I've met many lapsed pianists who come to chat to me after my informal recitals, and it's obvious to me that for the vast majority of them, their piano lessons hadn't been wasted. Even if they only had two or three years of them before giving up. Some speak fondly of their teachers, and some regret not continuing lessons. Some still continue to play occasionally. But many didn't regret giving up, but still felt that their lessons had enriched their lives in many ways - when listening to music (of all genres), in social occasions etc. Some made use of their musical skills late in life by singing in a choir, or even conducting choirs. Quite a number admitted that they never took their piano lessons seriously, and only practiced because their parents made them.

These days, parents also seem to have different priorities - but then, decades ago, so did mine, who couldn't care less whether or not I continued lessons. (In fact, they would have preferred if I gave up, so that I didn't disturb their TV watching with my practicing). Whereas my cousins' parents were completely different - every one of the five children started piano at eight, and all attained Grade 8 ABRSM in their teens: their parents saw to that. None of them play regularly now, but all their children have piano lessons, so it's obvious they appreciated what they had as kids.

So, whether you call it expensive baby-sitting, expensive life-skills teaching, whatever, the vast majority of your students will appreciate the lessons in years to come, whether or not they appreciate them now.......


"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: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746770
06/24/18 04:37 PM
06/24/18 04:37 PM
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Posts: 106
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My college teacher had a unique way of dealing with the nail issue. He never pushed cutting nails but he did push correct finger posture. Most would cut the nails on their own because of the clicking. One didn't and the correct playing posture made the nails curl backward! They looked horrible and she eventually took care of them. Someone else got their nail stuck briefly between the keys. It was something he wanted to be done but redirected the "battle" so it was the student's decision and he didn't look like the bad guy.


Private Piano Instructor M.M.
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2746840
06/24/18 11:56 PM
06/24/18 11:56 PM
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Our society is now very politically correct, so sometimes the elephant in the room stays quiet:

Caucasian American students suck. Almost all of them. And about 80% are not worth even teaching. Seriously. And most of us know it, too. There is no discipline, no commitment, and virtually no cultural understanding of the process it takes to learn an instrument. They're a bit better at the "cool" instruments - things like voice and guitar, but not piano. There is no concept of work ethic in the culture, and many things requiring any form of discipline or discomfort is avoided. I have taught thousands of students, and I can count on one hand the number of Caucasian Americans not even who ever got "good" at piano - but at least got something out of the lessons. (I suspect Western Europe is following suit in this way as well).


Virtually every student I have ever enjoyed teaching has been an immigrant, or the child of immigrants - usually from Asia, India, or the Middle East. If I was in a situation where I could only ever work with Caucasian Americans, I'd quit music in a quarter of a second.

This is not a criticism of their culture (I am fully the race of the accused!). There are many areas in which they accel. And I know that America at the turn of the century was a very different place, culturally, than it is today - which may explain why there have been some decent memories/associations with America and piano lessons. But it's a (pretty undeniable) observation that traditional piano lessons and contemporary American culture do not bode well.

I don't know what the demographics are in your studio. But if they make up the majority of your students, little wonder why you must be feeling so burned out and under-appreciated; your life's work (and presumably passion) is everyone else's afterthought, or annoying little chore/hobby/extracurricular thing that sits wilting like a miserable little potted plant neglected in the corner. This is enough to make even the chearest of spirits bitter. In any case, try teaching some foreigners, or children of foreigners. I think you'll feel more respected, and be happier smile

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Opus_Maximus] #2746856
06/25/18 01:25 AM
06/25/18 01:25 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,762
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Online happy
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AZNpiano  Online Happy
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Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
Virtually every student I have ever enjoyed teaching has been an immigrant, or the child of immigrants - usually from Asia, India, or the Middle East.

That describes the demographics of my studio, and I can assure you that VERY disturbing patterns are emerging in the past 10 years. This is not just in piano, but in academics as well. It's not about hard work. It's about getting that A with the LEAST amount of work, finding shortcuts, and procrastinating for as long as possible. In other words, it's really about finding loopholes and beating the system. I have one incoming high school senior who is as bright as kids get (and he is REALLY smart) but since he is doing so many things, he's devoting very little time to each item, and getting things done in the most cursory manner possible. To me, that is not learning.

I'm not that much older than you, and I can attest that some of these symptoms were already emerging while I was in high school, and crystallized during college.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2747063
06/25/18 07:38 PM
06/25/18 07:38 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 220
USA
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
For years, I've tried to be the best piano teacher I can be. But since very few students actually play very well, or study very well, or continue playing much of anything beyond high school, I'm beginning to wonder if I'm putting far too much effort into my teaching.

I try like crazy to help students with their timing in pop songs. It's exhausting.

This week, I asked a girl for about the sixth time to cut her nails. This is disrespectful to me.

Students consistently forget their piano books.

They have only one possible time they can even attend piano every week with their insane number of dance classes (six weekly classes for one of my students) and soccer classes.

I used to love my piano teachers and do what I could to please them. Should I just play it more cool? How can this be done?




I think of Adam and Eve. Even the Perfect Parent couldn't constrain those first children to do His will.

Impart no more than what you feel you can give without exhaustion, and let the rest go. The students' responses will be their responses, and it's no reflection on your good teaching if they don't grab the baton and run with it.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2747081
06/25/18 09:05 PM
06/25/18 09:05 PM
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Candywoman, I totally understand. I am an educator myself, although I am not a piano teacher. You are passionate about your work, it is your life. At the cost of lessons, I would think if you informed the parents, long nails will impact your child's piano progress the parent would intervene. I took lessons as a child both piano and violin and then started again 4 years ago (I am now 58). I recall teaching clinicals in nursing school, I told a student to cut her nails for patient safety, she told me no. I said then you cannot go to the floor and take care of patients. She said I won't pass school, I informed her that was a personal choice.

Invest in the students who really want to be there that is where you focus your energy. I am fortunate to have a teacher who invests in me. I am getting a wonderful education, but I put in a lot of effort. He plays once a month for a nursing home and invites me to play a duet with him. I am working on 3 pieces and when I get those down, he will accompany me by playing the drums.

If a child forgets their books, work on theory, scales, and chords for the entire lesson and site read.

Sometimes you have to think this is a job. I also find it disheartening when I used to teach diabetic patients, and the person did not care enough to take care of their health. You only can do so much, then you have to let go. If the child does not make an effort and the parent does not care, your are fighting a losing battle. Focus on those that appreciate what you have to offer.

As a child I did not want to take lessons, but I am glad my parents made me and they made me practice so I was prepared for my lessons. Today, I wish I had never quit, because I would have been playing for 50 years. Taking those lessons as a child cultivated an interest in music as an adult.

I would like to share an article with you I published a few years ago Prescription for Music Lessons.

https://www.mdedge.com/fedprac/article/106295/mental-health/prescription-music-lessons


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2747163
06/26/18 09:10 AM
06/26/18 09:10 AM
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England
Lillith Offline
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Does this summarise what you think?

"The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for
authority, they show disrespect to their elders.... They no longer
rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents,
chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their
legs, and are tyrants over their teachers."

That was Socrates/Plato long long ago in olden days smile

Or as Ecclesiastes said: There is no new thing under the sun.


White Roland FP30
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2747216
06/26/18 03:21 PM
06/26/18 03:21 PM
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Candywoman Offline OP
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Cute litte comparison that is. I enjoyed it, Lillith. Thanks for all the posts.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: AZNpiano] #2747897
06/28/18 05:54 PM
06/28/18 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Opus_Maximus
Virtually every student I have ever enjoyed teaching has been an immigrant, or the child of immigrants - usually from Asia, India, or the Middle East.

That describes the demographics of my studio, and I can assure you that VERY disturbing patterns are emerging in the past 10 years. This is not just in piano, but in academics as well. It's not about hard work. It's about getting that A with the LEAST amount of work, finding shortcuts, and procrastinating for as long as possible. In other words, it's really about finding loopholes and beating the system. I have one incoming high school senior who is as bright as kids get (and he is REALLY smart) but since he is doing so many things, he's devoting very little time to each item, and getting things done in the most cursory manner possible. To me, that is not learning.

I'm not that much older than you, and I can attest that some of these symptoms were already emerging while I was in high school, and crystallized during college.



Yes, I have noticed these things as well. But I think what you describe (even though it is an issue) is a slighlty different problem; at least there was ONE point in their lives when there were able to put in the 10-15 minutes per day to practice.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2747910
06/28/18 07:03 PM
06/28/18 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Personally, I like to think of it not as "better" or "worse" but just different. Each generation is different than the one before...


It may not be "better" or "worse" but if they don't practice, they won't learn to play piano.


I've been trying to change my signature quote for weeks.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: malkin] #2747912
06/28/18 07:19 PM
06/28/18 07:19 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Personally, I like to think of it not as "better" or "worse" but just different. Each generation is different than the one before...


It may not be "better" or "worse" but if they don't practice, they won't learn to play piano.

Perhaps the problem is that we as adults and parents think that they should be learning the piano when they have different ideas, and so their attitude towards practice is consistent with their personal goals... or lack of them.


across the stone, deathless piano performances
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: malkin] #2747922
06/28/18 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Personally, I like to think of it not as "better" or "worse" but just different. Each generation is different than the one before...


It may not be "better" or "worse" but if they don't practice, they won't learn to play piano.


And they can play video games a lot better than me.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: The Monkeys] #2747965
06/29/18 01:11 AM
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Originally Posted by The Monkeys
And they can play video games a lot better than me.

Have you tried to turn video game time into an incentive for practicing? e.g., practice piano for 3 hours this week and you get 30 minutes of game on Sunday.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: AZNpiano] #2747973
06/29/18 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by The Monkeys
And they can play video games a lot better than me.

Have you tried to turn video game time into an incentive for practicing? e.g., practice piano for 3 hours this week and you get 30 minutes of game on Sunday.


That ration might happen in a parallel universe. In the best week, it could be a 1:1 ration.

The modern video games demand (and could help to develop) incredible dexterity and hand-eye coordination, and they call it eSport now. Many learn to type 60+ wpm from playing the games. The top video game players make as much as the top concert pianists, if not more, and gets as much respect (from the teens), if not more.

And piano and games don't have to exclude each other. Just last week, after played a video game, my son went to the internet, search up the sheet music of the game, and he learned it himself.

It's a new generation, a different generation, they don't like the music we like, they don't value the things we value, but as a whole, the generation will do fine, if not better.

Re: Necessity of being a good piano teacher [Re: Candywoman] #2747991
06/29/18 05:39 AM
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I agree that new generation is different, they have shortcomings and they have strengths.

But considering the music they listen to, I notice that it becomes more and more shallow, and it troubles me deeply. In the music of past decade there largely is no more place for deep feelings and reflections. Moreover it seems now that in the majority of songs there is no more place for the melody. The melody vanishes from the music. The majority of songs seem to be the product of lining up notes and chords without any idea behind it. It is very worrying.

I think this negative process had begun in 90's and now it has reached its high point when it's difficult to find even one really musical composition in the billboards, populated mostly by very dull and unnaturally sounding ... pseudomusic. I tend to think that in the long run it may corrupt the very musical abilities of the new generation. The melodic music in general may become less comprehensible for them.

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