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Deciding Between Teachers
#2791076 12/13/18 11:18 PM
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What are people's thoughts about teachers using method books (e.g. Faber series) versus introducing the student to various composers' music according to the student's interest and readiness? I'm thinking of switching from an expensive music school to a more reasonably priced private studio. Both teachers have doctoral degrees, and the private studio teacher performs regularly . The music school uses the method books and the private teacher prefers to sample from a wide range of actual repertoire and grow/develop that way.

Thanks!


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Learning Mozart's Fantasie K.V. 397


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Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791077 12/13/18 11:23 PM
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I think that only you can answer that question based on your learning preferences.

I self-taught for my first couple of years from a "method book" but since that time I have had some pretty wonderful, talented and dedicated teachers who don't teach from method books. As an adult student, I have always chosen my own repertoire, albeit with occasional guidance from my teachers.

Choose the teacher whose teaching better suits your learning style.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791086 12/14/18 12:15 AM
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I think a method book is a nice way to give a perceived idea of structure, and therefore a sense of improvement/advancement as you progress through the book(s). But, by the end of the course are you further advanced/better off than someone who studied with a teacher selecting what they believe are the best pieces....I certainly don't think so.

So to the OT if you get on well with the new teacher, enjoy the type of pieces you will getting (and save money) then go for it.


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Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791181 12/14/18 09:08 AM
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I may have attended that same expensive music school! With the same teacher, I am now at her home studio but have found that switching to a home studio has some challenges as well. The entire dynamic has shifted. It feels much less like a business relationship and is more personal. This can be a good thing but in my case, it has impacted my experience with her and I'm actually planning to leave at the end of this quarter. As far as using method books vs individual pieces selected by the teacher and student, my same teacher from that music school has done both---"classics to moderns" book and the "celebration series" along with Bach Well Tempered Clavier, French Suites, a book of Handel keyboard works, etc,. So I don't think it's a school policy--you might be able to just ask your current teacher about this. I would not jump into a home studio situation if you're happy with other aspects of the music school and especially if you like your teacher! I have found that switching to my teacher's home brought a whole new list of difficulties and I wish I hadn't done this.


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Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791183 12/14/18 09:17 AM
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DDobs, as a teacher I use both. How are you doing in the Faber book? I just thumbed through it in preparation to reply. If someone came to me towards the end of that book, I would probably take them through the rest of it, and then do John Thompson's Modern Course Book 3 plus some easy [relatively easy, at least] repertoire on the side (Clementi and then Kuhlau sonatinas, more Bach, Burgmuller), and then transition to all repertoire after the Thompson 3. (Yes, I know I'm an anachronism in that I teach Thompson - I don't fix what ain't broken.)

Ultimately it's up to you. What sort of chemistry do you have with your current teacher? What about the prospective new teacher? Have you had a trial lesson with the new teacher? Have you informed your current teacher that you're considering a switch?


Austin Rogers, PhD
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Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791230 12/14/18 11:56 AM
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There are pros and cons of each. I started by self-teaching for about two years from method books (Alfred's AAIO Books 1 and 2) and then switched to a teacher who did not teach from a method book. While I wish (putting my hind-sight glasses on) I'd gotten a teacher from the start, I don't regret starting off with a method book. In those first, early days the simple, one-concept/skill pieces in the method books were just what I needed. At some point, after the first book or two, "real" repertoire becomes much more available and accessible (at least it seems so to me).

You don't say how long you've been taking lessons and how you feel about the Faber books. Do you feel ready to move away from the method books? Does your music school teacher expand your curriculum to include non-method repertoire at some point?

What should you do? You need to have a sample lesson with the private teacher, at the very least. If you did switch to the private teacher (and you would have to stay with that teacher for several months to give it a fair chance), would you be able to return to the music school (and your current teacher) if it didn't work out?


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Re: Deciding Between Teachers
pianosuzemn #2791408 12/14/18 09:42 PM
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Pianosuzemn - thanks. Small world! Interesting experience you have had in a home studio. I actually posted kind of late in my decision-making. I made the final decision this morning to switch to the home studio teacher that I had previously studied with (8 years ago - quit when I went back to school). I will wait and see how it goes in my teacher's home. Most of my music lessons (piano, trumpet) were in someone's home. I hope it works out. He's got a PhD and seems to enjoy teaching. I had a sample lesson with him this week. As for my other teacher, I found him to be good, but given that I am not someone who practices an hour a day, $60 per half hour is too much.

Stubbie: I've been playing on and off (mostly off) for the past 12 years. Once I settled in a new career I got back to it. I have liked the Faber books all right, but as a serious adult music lover, I would prefer to play actual repertoire (if that's a fair statement). However, my main motivation is not whether I use the books but rather the price and fact that I think I can get quality instruction for less than I'm paying. I will see how it goes. I am sure the music school would take me back (even if my current/now former teacher becomes full).


Mason & Hamlin AA
Learning Mozart's Fantasie K.V. 397


Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791528 12/15/18 11:26 AM
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Disclaimer- I have zero credentials, I’m just an opinionated adult learner.

I think method books are great for the basics during the first few years of learning. They help progressively teach timing, articulation etc. But they get boring fast. I think you need a mix of performance type pieces to keep it interesting.

Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791536 12/15/18 12:09 PM
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Sara Elizabeth, thanks for your input. I agree that a mix is good (just keep me away from jazz, we're not made for each other). I'll post as to how it goes.


Mason & Hamlin AA
Learning Mozart's Fantasie K.V. 397


Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791587 12/15/18 02:30 PM
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DDobs, $60 a half hour seems like a lot. I have a master's prepared teacher at $60 an hour. I am in my 5th year of lessons, and this is just a hobby. For $120 an hour it would not be worth for me to have a PhD instructor. I am sure some it would be well worth it depending on their level and career aspirations. I am set in my career and will retire in 10 years, I am in it for the fun and personal development in the arts.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2791636 12/15/18 04:24 PM
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Deb, I agree. My new teacher charges $50 for 45 minutes. So I'll get two of those a month for $100.


Mason & Hamlin AA
Learning Mozart's Fantasie K.V. 397


Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2792314 12/17/18 10:57 AM
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I nearly choked on my coffee when I read $60 for half an hour! And here I thought my rates were fairly high! If a PhD can get $60 for half an hour up there, maybe I should move up to Minneapolis...


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
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Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DFSRN #2792317 12/17/18 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by DFSRN
DDobs, $60 a half hour seems like a lot. I have a master's prepared teacher at $60 an hour. I am in my 5th year of lessons, and this is just a hobby. For $120 an hour it would not be worth for me to have a PhD instructor. I am sure some it would be well worth it depending on their level and career aspirations. I am set in my career and will retire in 10 years, I am in it for the fun and personal development in the arts.


The only credentials I would look for in a teacher would be the ability to teach effectively, the ability to communicate to and with the student, and the ability to understand and meet the student's needs. A PhD can, under certain circumstances, be absolutely meaningless in the context of piano instruction.

Regards,


BruceD
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Re: Deciding Between Teachers
Dr. Rogers #2792441 12/17/18 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
I nearly choked on my coffee when I read $60 for half an hour! And here I thought my rates were fairly high! If a PhD can get $60 for half an hour up there, maybe I should move up to Minneapolis...


WOW. You can get an hour where I live for $48 from a really good teacher with a masters degree and lots of teaching experience. Highest rate I've heard of here is $70 and hour.

With respect to teachers that use method books I'm biased towards them because I like the slow methodical teaching approach of the Faber book. It's not for everyone but method books just appeal to me.My teacher asked if I wanted to go to Faber 3 after New year's or have her pick selections and of course I said BOTH. She laughed and agreed immediately. Faber 1 we did in isolation but we used Faber book 2 and also outside pieces she selected and I like the combination. I like the feeling of progress going through a book but I also like the pieces she has offered to supplement the Faber books. I'd probably finish the books faster if I didn't learn the supplements but it's not a race so I kind of like the combination approach.


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Re: Deciding Between Teachers
Dr. Rogers #2792479 12/17/18 06:53 PM
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I have never seen rates that high. I understand, read a Wall Street Journal article years ago, if a person plays for a high end symphony their teaching rates go up. I would not pay that rate at my level. I agree that a PhD does not make you a good teacher, I know PhDs that do not even like to teach and are focused on research. The person who teaches me know has a MS in Piano performance and a MS in music education. I hope he sticks around for awhile.


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Deciding Between Teachers
DDobs #2792497 12/17/18 07:55 PM
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My former piano teacher charged $60/hr but I have seen rates as high as $95/hr in my area (NYC). Yes, people do pay these rates and region matters.


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