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Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: gwing] #2779526
11/09/18 10:52 AM
11/09/18 10:52 AM
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Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Originally Posted by gwing
Why not say ' I find your piano really difficult to play (don't say the piano is junk) could we try a lesson on my piano instead and see how that works?'


It's a tactful suggestions, but if she really is the "fantastic teacher" that the OP claims (which may suggest a large number of students), it is quite possible that she wouldn't have time - nor, perhaps, the inclination - to travel to give a lesson.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779625
11/09/18 06:35 PM
11/09/18 06:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2014
Posts: 207
Bangkok, Thailand
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I had a similar experience, but it may not be extreme like your case.

I found that my teacher's upright I was having lessons on had quite a narrow palette of timbre (Is this the right word?), which kinda threw me off.
When played to forte, it got louder, but it didn't get much more open or brighter. It remained round and mellow.
The teacher might have noticed how I struggled to bring the melody to stand out, so he mentioned that this piano was always warm and a bit dull no matter how it was played. He said it was given to him as a gift. So in a way, he was not completely happy with its performance either.
However, it served the function for beginner lessons well enough. The piano is tuned and played well in other aspects.
The lessons were moved to a grand, when students reached intermediate levels.

My suggestion would be to tell the truth in a polite way. You could tell the teacher that you have a problem adjusting to her piano, since it is very different from your piano at home. Maybe you will get her to talk more about the piano and its shortcoming. And hopefully there is a solution from there.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779633
11/09/18 07:00 PM
11/09/18 07:00 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 138
Alsea Oregon, USA
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My first and only teacher had an awful Winter spinet. I was learning on a cheapo digital but immediately recognized that the Winter was a true piece of junk. I never said anything to her about the horrible piano but decided to be self taught from then on. I now have a nice Yamaha grand but intend to upgrade eventually. I suspect I would be playing much better than I am if my teacher had had a better piano and I had continued with lessons.


John Shelton
Shelton-Farretta Guitars
www.sheltonfarrettaguitars.com
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779648
11/09/18 07:54 PM
11/09/18 07:54 PM
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greetings,
Rather than get bogged down in how other people feel about the piano, consider this. If the piano is a thin, tinny, sounding instrument, the teacher will never be able to teach you anything about controlling your tone. Tone, on any instrument is critical to communicating the emotional impact available. On a piano, tone is controlled by force, with brilliance building with volume. A brassy instrument doesn't allow any work in this area.

There will also be little ability to discuss or improve your playing in the sense of a dynamic range. So, you may need a more discerning teacher.
Regards,

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: jarobi] #2779660
11/09/18 10:09 PM
11/09/18 10:09 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 572
Southwest
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There is a hidden advantage to playing your teacher’s sucky piano. If you can play, test, and succeed playing a piece of crap piano, you can pretty much play recitals and in front of a crowd on anything. Sadly many recital pianos are out of tune, damaged keys, or just sound atrocious. Plus, you’ll really appreciate your practice piano at home. Best of Luck! I guess I’m extremely blessed to be an intermediate piano student and I can enjoy playing my piano and don’t have to “gut it out on a $500 piece of junk”. God in Heaven, how can she stand it? My ear isn’t that sensitive but I wince when I hear or play a badly out of tune piano.


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Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779680
11/10/18 01:01 AM
11/10/18 01:01 AM
Joined: Jun 2016
Posts: 301
Maryland, USA
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Originally Posted by Brian Sweeney
Every week I go there and I have trouble playing it because it barely sounds like a piano. It's bright and tinny and cheap sounding. When I hit a key and the sound hits my ear, I don't associate it with a familiar sound so I make mistakes I don't make at home on my Yamaha U3. I also have a keyboard and I'm wondering if I should be practicing on that. That's how desperate I am. She's a fantastic teacher and a virtuoso so I really don't want to switch teachers. She lives in one of the biggest houses I've ever seen so I kind of assume that she can afford something better. She tells me she only paid $500 for it. Any suggestions? Brian


If I interpreted your post correctly, your teacher's piano is not out of tune, and the touch (or generally speaking, key/action movements) is within normal range. Is that right?

If that is the case, your teacher may be one of those pros who are excellent in adapting to instruments of all kind of conditions, and thus does not care for the finer details of her instrument if it is still in a reasonably playable condition. This is coming from my own personal, absolutely subjective experience: In my household, I, a total amateur, am the one who whined about the piano's conditions. On the other hand, my wife who was professionally trained and always played/sounded much nicer on any instruments we both played, rarely cared for any condition that I reported to our technician during his visit.

Last edited by Davdoc; 11/10/18 01:01 AM.

1969 Hamburg Steinway B, rebuilt by PianoCraft in 2017
2013 New York Steinway A
Kawai MP11

Previously: 2005 Yamaha GB1, 1992 Yamaha C5
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779709
11/10/18 05:39 AM
11/10/18 05:39 AM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 801
Moscow, Russia
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It depends on the cost of your lessons. I agree with @terminaldegree that the price paid for your lessons includes the cost of playing an instrument. So if the lessons are cheap you should not expect playing a good instrument, but if the price is normal or high you should expect playing a decent piano, and it's a teacher's responsibility to make that investment. If she does not want to, it's unfair, and I think you have a full right to mention to her that you are not satisfied with her instrument. Don't say it's a junk, just say politely that after playing a decent instrument at home you can't adapt to playing her piano and this circumstance significantly spoils your lessons experience.

And, to say honest, good teachers don't play on bad pianos. If a teacher really loves music and loves to play it, she buys herself a good piano.

I would be very cautious about her teaching abilities. If you play piano just for 10 months and you have already injured yourself, as we know from your another post, is she really a good teacher?

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: terminaldegree] #2779718
11/10/18 06:43 AM
11/10/18 06:43 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,077
Scotland
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Originally Posted by terminaldegree
If a piano teacher has a phone that costs more than their piano, they’re doing it wrong...


smile

Ian


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2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779721
11/10/18 06:50 AM
11/10/18 06:50 AM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,077
Scotland
Beemer Offline
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Scotland
You could say to her that you would like to record yourself on her piano using your phone so that you can post it on Facebook. She might not be happy with this and you could then ask her why not? In addition I'm sure we would all be interested to hear the piano if you also posted it here smile

Ian


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2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Beemer] #2779792
11/10/18 12:02 PM
11/10/18 12:02 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,966
Williamsburg, VA
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Originally Posted by Beemer
You could say to her that you would like to record yourself on her piano using your phone so that you can post it on Facebook. She might not be happy with this and you could then ask her why not? In addition I'm sure we would all be interested to hear the piano if you also posted it here smile

Ian


You cynical dog, you! I love it.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779795
11/10/18 12:17 PM
11/10/18 12:17 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 21,889
Victoria, BC
BruceD Offline
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Brian:

Depending upon your level of skill and depending upon how seriously the tone of your teacher's piano affects your ability to play at lessons, you have to keep in mind that such impediments can certainly be a hindrance to your progress. How can your teacher teach you about dynamics, voicing, balancing, phrasing if the piano is as bad as it sounds.

If conditions are as they appear in your post, I would simply suggest that you bite the bullet and find another teacher. What do you gain by studying with a "fantastic" teacher who has a piano that is so "...bright and tinny and cheap sounding..." that you can't play on it? Assuming you are not exaggerating the condition of the piano, you could be doing yourself a disservice by continuing on the same path without some change. That could also be a waste of money, time and effort.

Regards,


BruceD
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Estonia 190
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779838
11/10/18 02:28 PM
11/10/18 02:28 PM
Joined: Oct 2012
Posts: 3,764
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A teacher need not have a Baldwin or Bosie for teaching, but whatever it is, it ought to be properly serviced and in good working order, like any professional in any profession would maintain their equipment. Would you want to eat in a restaurant that doesn't properly maintain the kitchen? Or have surgery in an operating room that isn't properly maintained? Piano lessons aren't life and death, but if she's a professional than she ought to take care of her equipment.

OTOH, playing devil's advocate for a moment, is there a chance that this is an elderly lady, hard of hearing, and perhaps she just doesn't perceive the tonal problem?


"If it sounds good, it is good." - Duke Ellington
P E R F O R M A N C E over p r o v e n a n c e

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779900
11/10/18 05:38 PM
11/10/18 05:38 PM
Joined: Apr 2005
Posts: 10,966
Williamsburg, VA
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In which case, it's hard to imagine that she is such an excellent teacher ...

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779917
11/10/18 06:36 PM
11/10/18 06:36 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 38
Sydney, Australia
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Hi Brian,

I would say the answer depends on where you are in your musical journey. If you are at a beginner or intermediate level musically, then it won’t matter too much until you learn to listen to the tone you produce and complete the feedback loop. Only the occasional student will do this naturally, the rest do this through experience. The worst students will never do this at all! If you alre starting to or already do this, let your teacher know your concerns.

If the piano is tuned and regulated, you can still develop your tonal colouring and range by practising on your personal instrument. Think of your piano lesson as guidance on what to practise for the week. The improvement should occur between lessons, not during them!

Edit: I didn’t answer your question. You should ask your teacher if you can have lessons on her other instrument. I am sure she has an impressive beast tucked away in her mansion, else she wouldn’t hide it away would she?

Last edited by parnassus; 11/10/18 06:46 PM. Reason: Waffled on and didn’t answer the question.
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: jshelton] #2779950
11/10/18 09:52 PM
11/10/18 09:52 PM
Joined: Jul 2017
Posts: 388
Virginia
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J Shelton

Quote
I now have a nice Yamaha grand but intend to upgrade eventually.


Probably just my inexperience with pianos, I have been a student for 5 years, but I have to ask what do you upgrade to if you have a Yamaha grand?


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779977
11/11/18 03:00 AM
11/11/18 03:00 AM
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Posts: 651
North Vancouver
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Do we have to make the teacher suffer that much ? Just tell her
you need to develop good tone quality as a pianist !

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780010
11/11/18 07:35 AM
11/11/18 07:35 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 8
Albemarle, NC
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I have to challenge the premise of all of this... Playing on a lousy sounding piano is no excuse for making mistakes during your lessons. That is lame. That is like blaming a baseball bat for striking out. Could it be that you are not perfectly comfortable during your lessons and that your nerves have something to do with you making mistakes and not the tone of the piano?

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Thejumpsuitman] #2780022
11/11/18 08:08 AM
11/11/18 08:08 AM
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Southwestern Ontario
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prout Offline
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Originally Posted by Thejumpsuitman
I have to challenge the premise of all of this... Playing on a lousy sounding piano is no excuse for making mistakes during your lessons. That is lame. That is like blaming a baseball bat for striking out. Could it be that you are not perfectly comfortable during your lessons and that your nerves have something to do with you making mistakes and not the tone of the piano?
I am not sure that the baseball analogy is analogous, and, if so, relevant. The issue here is one of the relationship between proprioception and exteroception.

A pianist with absolute pitch, used to playing at A4=440Hz often makes errors when playing on a keyboard that is tuned (or just out of tune) to a much lower pitch. Their fingers go to the expected places (proprioception) but the results (exterception) are unexpected, and they unconsciously try to adjust and make errors.

Perhap the analogy is here. A pianist used to the control available on a decent piano (a proper wooden bat certified for baseball) finds it difficult to control the dynamics, voicing and tone on a crappy piano (a plastic whiffle ball bat, but used to play baseball). It is not a matter of striking out, it is a matter of the appropriate tool for the job.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780032
11/11/18 09:14 AM
11/11/18 09:14 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 8
Albemarle, NC
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Thejumpsuitman Offline
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Prout, I like the way you think, but pitch and tone are not the same thing. The OP was complaining about tone, not pitch. (At least that is what he was verbally describing)

My point with the baseball analogy is that even if you have a crappy baseball bat, you would still hit the ball. Using a wiffle ball bat in a baseball game would be like using a non-weighted cheap Casio keyboard in a piano recital.

Last edited by Thejumpsuitman; 11/11/18 09:24 AM.
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780036
11/11/18 09:42 AM
11/11/18 09:42 AM
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 8
Albemarle, NC
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I would advise the OP to read about Frederic Chopin’s attitude toward pianos. In this link are quotes from Chopin and his student about the Erard piano vs. the Plyel. Chopin actually considered it to be dangerous to play too much on an instrument with inherent tonal beauty.

http://www.radiochopin.org/episodes...d-piano-concerto-no-1-in-e-minor-op-11-i

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