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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: Candywoman] #2787937
12/05/18 02:58 AM
12/05/18 02:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Music is not a race to learn notes. I'd focus more on breadth of literature (horizontal learning) and less on vertical climbing.

This is a nice way to express it. I think for us students just being made aware that there is a difference - can make a big difference.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: AZNpiano] #2787993
12/05/18 09:27 AM
12/05/18 09:27 AM
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malkin Offline
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by malkin
I'm noticing a lot more students (and parents) with significant levels of anxiety than earlier in my (non-piano teaching) career. A few days ago, several of us old timers were joking about needing new normative data for standardized anxiety measures, because 'everyone' is scoring in the significant range now while formerly it was normally distributed.

Is there a way to measure the lack of focus?


There are assessments for everything, because there is money to be made in to be made in publication and administration.

https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-assessments-and-tests/


Learner
Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2787994
12/05/18 09:29 AM
12/05/18 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by malkin
A few days ago, several of us old timers were joking about needing new normative data for standardized anxiety measures, because 'everyone' is scoring in the significant range now while formerly it was normally distributed.

I started life in the "significant" range (well, almost by definition since I have OCD). They'd need to come up with an entirely different range for me by now!


Nah--once you're out in that skinny little part at either end of the curve you might as well just get comfortable and plan to stay there.


Learner
Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: AZNpiano] #2788263
12/06/18 12:30 AM
12/06/18 12:30 AM
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I agree with pianist lady that a certain fluidity must come. But not having that fluidity doesn't seem to stop many of my students. The biggest push for learning piano has to be between the ages of seven and twelve. In fact, I'd recommend twice weekly lessons to capitalize on those golden years. But the parents wouldn't sacrifice for that.

As for AZN, I don't know the mixed bag of students you've gotten. There are some really slow kids out there though. They lack curiosity and they don't practice, and it's plugging for the teacher. All you can do is love them. Perhaps that's all that counts anyhow. So few of them go on to anything.

Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: Candywoman] #2788272
12/06/18 01:19 AM
12/06/18 01:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Perhaps that's all that counts anyhow.


I hope it does, I think it does.

I would say that I had teaches that kept an ember burning, even if from their standpoint they were just marking time and just being positive.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: Whizbang] #2788326
12/06/18 09:34 AM
12/06/18 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Whizbang
Originally Posted by Candywoman
Perhaps that's all that counts anyhow.


I hope it does, I think it does.


I agree that it is necessary, but in most cases, not sufficient.


Learner
Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: Candywoman] #2788444
12/06/18 04:19 PM
12/06/18 04:19 PM
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Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
As for AZN, I don't know the mixed bag of students you've gotten. There are some really slow kids out there though. They lack curiosity and they don't practice, and it's plugging for the teacher.

Let's see...have you ever taught a student who needs three months to "find" middle C? And then he can't find treble G and bass F if his life depended on it? Things that take normal kids one minute to understand would take this boy about six weeks, with frequent lapses of memory. On top of that, he can't maintain a steady beat of quarter notes. He just likes piano because it makes sounds. Fortunately, his parents are highly educated and they appreciate how I teach their son.

Originally Posted by Candywoman
All you can do is love them. Perhaps that's all that counts anyhow. So few of them go on to anything.

I prefer not to see things this way.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: AZNpiano] #2788596
12/07/18 04:23 AM
12/07/18 04:23 AM
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Perhaps the child has FAS.

As for the end result of all of our efforts: I've taught about twenty-two years. Not one student who has gone on to "make anything of it." Some still play some piano years later. One adult student who began from scratch and played about three years went on to play at her church.


Last edited by Candywoman; 12/07/18 04:23 AM.
Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: Candywoman] #2788685
12/07/18 11:06 AM
12/07/18 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman


As for the end result of all of our efforts: I've taught about twenty-two years. Not one student who has gone on to "make anything of it." Some still play some piano years later. One adult student who began from scratch and played about three years went on to play at her church.



Certainly, many of them have gone on to become decent human beings, and I believe that their music teachers had a part in that.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: AZNpiano] #2788703
12/07/18 11:45 AM
12/07/18 11:45 AM
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AZN, I have several students like that - one took lessons for 6 months before coming to me. He's been with me a year now (with a break all summer) and still cannot understand that Middle C in the bass clef is still Middle C! Cannot read bass C, if there is finger #5 attached to the note. Plays G instead. Even if he just played the "real" G in the short song before that. Where is the memory in these youngsters? I still believe it's lack of practice, rather than lack of intelligence in most cases. As well as the age factor. Most of the kids I've taught who start at age 6, in my experience, are slow learners.

Another youngster can play 8th notes correctly in one measure, yet mess them up in the next. I've written in counting, we've clapped, sang, counted for years. Still doesn't get it. At some point, I feel it's my inability to find the right solution.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: Candywoman] #2788704
12/07/18 11:45 AM
12/07/18 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
: I've taught about twenty-two years. Not one student who has gone on to "make anything of it."


Perhaps look at this from the other end: Ask those who do have careers in music -- for instance, AF of M members -- how they got started.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: JohnSprung] #2788712
12/07/18 11:59 AM
12/07/18 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnSprung
Originally Posted by Candywoman
: I've taught about twenty-two years. Not one student who has gone on to "make anything of it."


Perhaps look at this from the other end: Ask those who do have careers in music -- for instance, AF of M members -- how they got started.

The answer probably depends on country of residence. At least for classical pianists in the US, most probably started with private piano teachers, since I haven't heard of a undergraduate music school/conservatory that doesn't have audition requirements for incoming performance majors, and private piano teachers are how Americans roll. But if you look at other countries, such as Russia, most would probably say they first learned piano in a children's "music school" - with a teacher, to be sure, but one in music school. Private teachers were almost unheard of until more recent times. (Anyone from Eastern Europe want, want to comment on this?)

The teachers on this forum are professional musicians. You could just ask them how they started. Private teacher, music school, self-taught? And if it was a private teacher, what was it that teacher did that made them want to go into the profession of music?


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: JohnSprung] #2788772
12/07/18 02:52 PM
12/07/18 02:52 PM
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I have had a few transfer students this semester. One student, when I asked him what note is this, and he said finger two. He was so locked in to middle C position that he no longer saw anything else.
I tell my students that you can play any note any finger anytime anywhere.

As to the original question, my answer is that it is very difficult to progress when the only time that you touch a keyboard of any sort is at the actual lesson.
I have students say, oh I could not practice because my brother had a soccer game.

note, these students are through a private school where I teach Co curricular lessons after school. My homeschool students or public school students that come to my home studio, do practice, and we'll have an absolutely lovely recital this weekend.


for several of the school students, I am simply a babysitter, a well-paid babysitter, that fits into their schedule of carpool and siblings and other activities.
I have a couple of parents that sit outside in the hallway texting on their phone. I practically beg them to come into the lessons to watch how I have their children clap and count and write and do theory and work on the whiteboard and fill in all the gaps that we're not done the week before at home. And the parent says oh no, they get nervous if I am in there, or, I am just too busy and need to catch up for myself.

The school recital will be a lot of plink plink plink one note at a time. I am filling in some children's pieces with a duet, but not everyone.

Slow progress is better than no progress. It is the no progress that drives me batty. Each week I mark on a progress page and take notes on my students.

This is my simple revelation, the students that practice at home, maybe with or without a parent guidance, will make some progress. The students that never take their books out of a bag, will never progress more than I can get them in a lesson, and it may mean the same lesson over and over and over, presented in different ways. It is not because they do not understand, it is because they are saying they want to learn a language, but only willing to put in barely thirty minutes once a week.

Eventually they will drop, or maybe move on to a new teacher. I saw one of my old students that never practiced, and half the time did not even bring her books to a lesson, has moved on to another teacher at the same school. Based on the piece that she is playing, it is not a Christmas piece, which I take time out to give to my students. It is from the lesson books, and it is only a few pages up from where she left me. so this entire semester, she has progressed about four pages in the level one book. She is 11 years old.

You cannot make them care more than you do.


Learning as I teach.
Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: chasingrainbows] #2788783
12/07/18 03:39 PM
12/07/18 03:39 PM
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Posts: 8,133
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline OP
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Another youngster can play 8th notes correctly in one measure, yet mess them up in the next. I've written in counting, we've clapped, sang, counted for years. Still doesn't get it. At some point, I feel it's my inability to find the right solution.

I'm convinced that some kids just never learn rhythm via notation, but they can imitate it by "feel." Make videos of the piece and make them copy it during practice. Over and over again. If they still don't understand rhythm that way, they are hopeless.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2788785
12/07/18 03:42 PM
12/07/18 03:42 PM
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Posts: 8,133
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
The teachers on this forum are professional musicians. You could just ask them how they started. Private teacher, music school, self-taught? And if it was a private teacher, what was it that teacher did that made them want to go into the profession of music?

To be completely honest, had I started my teaching career with the dull kids I have right now, I would have never picked piano-teaching as a career. It's worse than watching paint dry. I guess I was lucky to have so many talented students during my first five years of teaching, that I thought I was The Most Amazing Teacher.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: AZNpiano] #2788817
12/07/18 04:48 PM
12/07/18 04:48 PM
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oh, I did not mean to say something that might sound disparaging to the other teacher, that did not have this one girl playing Christmas music. Knowing the student, I am pretty sure it is because she could not trust that the student would learn anything Christmas in time for the recital.

I just completed writing Christmas cards for my home studio students that will be playing in recital tomorrow, and I am just so happy to be sharing the little pins and candies that I have for them.

the upcoming School recital, well, hopefully the parents will hear the efforts that their child has put into practicing.

per the original question, do you ever talk to the parents about the child's progress? I did have one parent tell me after finally observing a lesson, that her child has a neurological processing disorder.
she was actually going at a pretty decent pace, and actually practices, so I had not noticed much difference. I am careful now to have her repeat in her own words what she understands. And she is doing fine.

Last edited by missbelle; 12/07/18 04:51 PM.

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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: missbelle] #2788858
12/07/18 06:40 PM
12/07/18 06:40 PM
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Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline OP
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Originally Posted by missbelle
per the original question, do you ever talk to the parents about the child's progress? I did have one parent tell me after finally observing a lesson, that her child has a neurological processing disorder.

I have in the past. There was a boy who MUST have some learning disability. There's NO WAY a kid can be this slow at picking things up. Even his older brother, who isn't exactly brilliant, can understand plain English and follow directions. Mom said the boy gets all A's at school. My friend teaches his classmate who is like 1,000 times better at piano, and apparently they are in the same honors program at school.

There are kids who may excel at other academic subjects. Some just hate piano. But I'm talking about kids who actually like piano and want lessons, but just CAN'T understand or remember anything. It might be time to get some of these kids tested for learning disabilities. I do have some limited experience working with special-ed kids at school, and I applied some common strategies with the kids who had been diagnosed. But at some point I will run out of ideas from my teaching toolbox.


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Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: AZNpiano] #2789013
12/08/18 10:49 AM
12/08/18 10:49 AM
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I thought about this forum a bit last night. With an upcoming recital, I realized that it was about three years ago when parents started complaining about the student having to memorize their music. I decided it was easier to go along and get along, and requested that the music be memorized, but not required. And now I have students that are still almost sight reading their music, because without the pressure of memorization and the internal workings and understanding when you work on memorizing a piece, they are not progressing as well. It has been about 3 years now, that parents are actually asking for less work in a way.


Learning as I teach.
Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: AZNpiano] #2789036
12/08/18 12:35 PM
12/08/18 12:35 PM
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Going back to the original question, which is that in recent years you are finding that as a whole your students are progressing more slowly than the student body used to:

It might be local or national, or within the state. Locally a phenomenon might be going on: a shifting socio-economic or other type of group; some competitor siphoning off better students; something happening in local schools such as too much homework, too many extracurricular activities, or a kind of teaching that makes students fuzzy-brained. I don't know the American school system too well, so I don't know if educational trends would be national, state-wise, or a combination of both.

The problem with forums is that people tend to read subject lines without reading the opening post. You are not really asking about "Slow Progress Among Beginners", but "Slower Progress Among Beginners in Recent Years".

Re: Slow Progress Among Beginners [Re: keystring] #2789252
12/09/18 12:35 AM
12/09/18 12:35 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
It might be local or national, or within the state.

I can observe only from the perspective of a competition judge and exam evaluator.

Overall, participation in local piano competitions is way, way down. The playing level among the highest group remains stellar, but those in the 50th through 95th percentile has seen a precipitous drop in volume. There are no more "good" players. Just the superstars plus the usual bottom feeders. As a result, people stopped participating in real piano competitions, and the pity fests (the ones where 75% of the participants win something) are doing quite well.

It's like losing is a bad thing. Kids are so afraid of losing, they don't participate in anything that poses the slightest challenge.


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