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Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2798536
01/04/19 07:33 PM
01/04/19 07:33 PM
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Originally Posted by RosemaryGirl
On my first lesson, he told me what the monthly price would be for weekly lessons. I paid him. I later found out that you don't get lessons on school holidays or public holidays, so that month I had just ONE lesson. When I saw him again and asked him whether that means the monthly fee gets reduced, he answered a little carelessly that no, the price is the price however many lessons are in a month.


Well, that episode would be the end for me.

But now you, at least, have learned to ask questions about fees and be very clear on that before "signing up".

Live and learn.

Good Luck


Don

Kawai MP11SE, Focal CMS 40 Powered Monitors, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq and numerous other VSTs
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Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: dmd] #2798566
01/04/19 09:54 PM
01/04/19 09:54 PM
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
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Originally Posted by dmd
Originally Posted by RosemaryGirl
On my first lesson, he told me what the monthly price would be for weekly lessons. I paid him. I later found out that you don't get lessons on school holidays or public holidays, so that month I had just ONE lesson. When I saw him again and asked him whether that means the monthly fee gets reduced, he answered a little carelessly that no, the price is the price however many lessons are in a month.


Well, that episode would be the end for me.

But now you, at least, have learned to ask questions about fees and be very clear on that before "signing up".

Live and learn.

Good Luck



Me too. I would have attended the "1" lesson and be done with that teacher.


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Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2798584
01/04/19 10:45 PM
01/04/19 10:45 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,112
Midwest USA
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Originally Posted by RosemaryGirl
..............He has a fairly large following on YouTube, but from what I can see his "school" (which I have online access to as his student) consists in just supplying students with music sheets of well-known songs transposed into easier versions, with synthesia-style videos attached — without any actual Skype teaching as such..........
This is a big red flag, in my opinion.

My advice would be to run, Girl, run! shocked


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At first, she only flew when she thought no one was watching.
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: Stubbie] #2798656
01/05/19 08:27 AM
01/05/19 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
The Skype suggestion above might be a good solution for someone who moves around a lot.


I was convinced beyond a doubt that Skype wouldn't work for me until I tried it. I was lucky enough to get an instructor I liked and who was actually capable of imparting information to me. It worked a lot better than I thought it would and it's definitely something I would consider if I knew I would be moving around. It take me a while to break in a new teacher. smile

Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2798667
01/05/19 09:10 AM
01/05/19 09:10 AM
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Liverpool, NY
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So frustrating, RosemaryGirl.

I don't have a lot of different advice to add, but I began playing last year with Piano For All (with no prior training except some music theory in high school that I forgot). I found it to be a lot of fun, and what kept me motivated was the fact that I was playing chords from familiar songs. I went pretty quickly through the books (not all of them) and had a blast with it. It certainly helped with inversions of chords, I think.

I quickly realized that I learn a lot by ear, and was figuring out some songs I enjoy ("Sara" by Fleetwood Mac was an early one I learned, followed by "It's Too Late" from Carole King)--all without taking a face to face lesson or purchasing sheet music. I did purchase the music to a George Winston song I love, and was able to muddle through and at least learn the major chords for that. I decided I should probably get with a teacher since I was clearly enjoying myself and wanted to make sure I was doing it "the right way".

I talked with him before I started lessons, and told him what I had done so far. On the first lesson, I went through a few things I had learned. He basically said that what I was doing was quite advanced, but I would certainly need to scale back--especially to really learn how to read music (which was a goal of mine). He even told me that I might get bored (with the Alfred's All In One book), but that he would try to give me songs that he thought I would enjoy (or songs that I wanted to try).

I have not done scales (except for the ones that appear in the Alfred book). I go through the book lessons, and he does not look for perfection. We work on songs (not in the book), and build on them: perhaps I will do block chords in the left hand first, then maybe try to do open 10th chords instead. For Christmas, we stopped the book entirely to just work on Christmas songs. I had played the first few bars of "Christmas Time Is Here" (that I memorized in the original key), and he gave me an arrangement that was much more appropriate for my level. However, we changed a lot of the chords to 7th chords when appropriate so it sounded so much nicer, and did some different things with the melody (trying octaves, for example).

I guess my point is that the type of teacher you get should jive with what you want to do. No, I don't sit and practice scales and the Junior Hanon exercises. But, I am learning songs and doing things that a year ago I never thought I would be doing. I think as we get into more classical pieces, the more "traditional" teachings will come.

The upshot: Piano For All certainly laid a foundation for me; at the very least it reinforced to me that I really love the piano. I concur with others that you should look for another instructor.

Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2798670
01/05/19 09:22 AM
01/05/19 09:22 AM
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Posts: 382
Sweden
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I would like to add this: If you decide to go for the Piano for All without a teacher, have a look at this video. After one minute of talking and playing, Randall Faber shows how to let the "wrist take a bow" when you play a chord. At least you get an idea about the technique, so you won't just hammer on the keys, like I did when I started without a teacher... wink


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2798694
01/05/19 10:49 AM
01/05/19 10:49 AM
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Thanks a lot again!

To those of you who find it weird that I shouldn't have run away after the first lesson: I think it was partly a psychological thing. I thought it would average out my losses if I stayed, kind of thing! It sounds stupid now, I guess. Also, felt I had to stick it out once committed. Anyway, the more time passes and the more advice I read, the more I think I should call it a day with this guy. At the end of the day, I've spent the last month or two wondering whether I should stop with him, and my husband says that's enough to know you should stop, as questioning it repeatedly shows something's not right.

I will have to do a whole lot of research on how to find a Skype teacher now. Animisha, I looked at the website you kindly provided a link to: am I right in thinking it's a collection of tutorials, and not a site where I would find a Skype teacher?

I really appreciate all your answers, especially all the detailed ones on how you guys learn in your lessons and how your teacher is right for you. I really think I need to find the right person I can stick with for a while and make real progress. Thanks.

Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2798705
01/05/19 11:03 AM
01/05/19 11:03 AM
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Posts: 382
Sweden
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RosemaryGirl, you are right, these are a bunch of tutorials. I thought it would be useful to watch the video if you were going to play a lot of chords. However, finding a skype teacher is a much better idea! (But I cannot help you with how to find a skype teacher...)


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2800810
01/11/19 11:31 AM
01/11/19 11:31 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
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Hello all,

I just thought I'd post an update for those who might be wondering whether I'm still sticking it out with my teacher: the short answer is no, which I think is for the best.

But initially, I felt really down about it, like I was breaking up with someone I should get along with, or something crazy

I started worrying (and even had weird dreams…) about finding a new online teacher and was freaking out that I might make a mistake again or not find anyone, etc. It even put me off the piano for a couple of days! Thankfully, I then decided to just let it be and resume enjoying sitting at the piano and practising my little easy pieces as I'd been doing before. Admittedly, even if I don't find a teacher straight away, that won't be much different to the experience of having a teacher who gives no feedback.

It seems to have chilled me enough so that I was able to send a couple of emails out today. Fingers crossed, I'll find somebody who's a good fit and start learning to lay the foundations right as I so wish to do!

Happy weekend playing to all!

PS: and thanks again for all the links; I've already learnt a lot from those… Yeah, I was totally hammering the chords! And I'm happy to resume more single note work if that's what's best!

Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2800811
01/11/19 11:33 AM
01/11/19 11:33 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 3,131
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RosemaryGirl, I sent you a PM a few days ago. See upper right of the webpage.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2800828
01/11/19 12:04 PM
01/11/19 12:04 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,112
Midwest USA
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Thanks for the update, RosemaryGirl. Getting a follow-up post from the OP adds a certain sense of closure to a topic--but doesn't mean you should be a stranger here! Best of luck in finding a new teacher who will teach.


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At first, she only flew when she thought no one was watching.
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2800853
01/11/19 01:26 PM
01/11/19 01:26 PM
Joined: Nov 2018
Posts: 386
Ireland
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Getting out of a situation that doesn't give you what you're looking for, is always a good thing - especially if it's something you pay good money for! Don't lose heart, there are amazing teachers out there. Fingers crossed you'll find one of those soon smile


Sibylle

My piano background

"Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious." -Brendan Gill
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2800954
01/11/19 05:48 PM
01/11/19 05:48 PM
Joined: Aug 2017
Posts: 103
Cumbria, England
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Good luck, RosemaryGirl! You deserve it.


Q: Am I late beginner, or early intermediate? A: Yes!

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. ~ Henry Van Dyke
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2800996
01/11/19 07:25 PM
01/11/19 07:25 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 323
Quebec city, QC
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I’ve just stumble upon your posts now.
I think you took the best decision, considering all you told us!
I can’t help concerning the online teacher, but that’s the idea I had reading through and, considering your situation, I think it is a wonderful idea.
Since it seems helpful, I might share a bit of my experience too.
I’m a beginner at the piano. I’ve started almost 3 years ago, having prior experience as a clarinet player when I was a teenager.
I loved my first teacher, which taught me for 1,5 year. But I realized, when I switched teacher, that I should have questioned more his approaches, and that I should have been clear on my goals right from the start (which you did, and everyone should do it when starting lessons). Considering my prior experience at music, my teacher was afraid to bore me out if he gave me childish pieces or so. But he went quite the opposite direction, with pieces that were way too challenging for my level. I developed quite a few bad habits. By the end, I was growing more and more dissatisfied because I couldn’t polish my pieces enough to enjoy playing them afterward. A step back was badly needed!
I should have told him that I was taking lessons to avoid getting bad habits. Maybe he would have been less fearful of boring me out.
On some aspects, though, I think that rough start made me discover many classical pieces and maybe that’s why I know want to learn the beautiful challenging pieces one day (I’m in no rush)! So it might not have been such a bad thing. But I wouldn’t advice anyone to go down that same route.
I then changed teacher. We took a small step back (from Rachmaninoff’s prelude in C# minor to Bach’s inventions, Mozart K545 sonata 2nd movement, some easier Chopin’s mazurka, etc.) and I feel like the level of challenge is right for me now (the pace could be a little slower too and that would probably be fine). I told my teacher, at last!, at the beginning of the (school) year what were my objectives at the piano, after a year of lessons, since talking to my former teacher made me realize I should have done that earlier! A bit like you, I want, on the long run, to play some of the well-known classical repertoire (I ambition Chopin’s ballades), but that can happen far in the future and that’s fine. And I feel like he changed his approach a bit, being a bit more punctilious. And I hope it will pay out in the end!
I also had another teacher last summer, to fill out the gap in July/August (and don’t want to stop lessons during the summer! What stopping good things!). And I was disappointed. I felt like he was giving me almost no “juice” to work on. One week, almost his sole advice was to exaggerate the nuances more. Ok, I’ll do that… what else? I was happy that this wasn’t my regular teacher and that I was going back to him in September. It made me appreciate even more my current teacher. I’m sure the other one is a good teacher, but he wasn’t the right one for me. There is a fit to be found with a teacher, and it can be hard to find.
I wish you the best of luck in your searches. And I hope to read you again in here to know how it goes!


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- (Classical piece TBD)
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2801057
01/11/19 10:54 PM
01/11/19 10:54 PM
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Bay Area CA
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I had also PM'ed RosemaryGirl . . . and now thanks to the lieutenant she has discovered where those PM's are to be found!

It's good to get your update, RG - sounds like you're on track!

Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2801072
01/12/19 12:08 AM
01/12/19 12:08 AM
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Virginia
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Rosemary, it is a business relationship. I realize factors come into play and you hope to form a constructive student teacher relationship. You are paying a fee for a service.
However, you are paying for their expertise and guidance and you may not always be in agreement. The teachers goal is to help you advance and you may not know the steps to get where you going. However, bad posture should be corrected in the beginning.

Regarding chords, I had taken theory with piano lessons for two and a half years. My first teacher (master's prepared music) was a classical pianist that is what I learned for the first. He played for a symphony. He left to pursue a career in computer science. I started with jazz chords after that with a jazz and gospel pianist (masters prepared). Took jazz theory for two summers. My point, the basics helped me to understand chords. Without the basics I would not have been prepared. July will be my 5th year of lessons, and we have not worked on inverting the chords while playing from the Fake Book. He said, that I need really internalize in the root position first and change chords easily.

I would expect my instructor to correct mistakes. He told me as you advance I will become more strict with technique and accuracy. He has me reverting to easier music to play through without stopping, better timing, dynamics etc. If you are a beginner, I am sure what you played could have used some sort of correction and not been deemed it was "good."

For me, I do not think online would replace a face-to-face lesson. For academics such as theory, I think online is fine. However, for a skill function it is hard to beat face-to-face with a teacher.

I would not expect the teacher to answer e-mail. In a university setting it is different than private piano lessons. I have 2 lessons a week. You may consider taking another lesson during the week if that is possible.

When I would have reviewed the pay structure I would not have been in agreement, therefore I would not have started. I would not expect to be charged when the instructor was not teaching.

People who play well, (there are exceptions) have been playing for more than a decade or two. To do anything well takes time, effort, dedication, and patience. Playing the piano is a highly complex skill if you learn to do it well. I think of it as a life long journey, enjoy the ride.

Just some thoughts!


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: TheophilusCarter] #2801076
01/12/19 01:01 AM
01/12/19 01:01 AM
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Originally Posted by RosemaryGirl

... My long-term goal is to be able to play well-known classical pieces like "Clair de Lune" or "Moonlight Sonata", and more importantly jazz standards and improvisation, as well as the odd film soundtrack and piano cover of rock/pop songs. I like all genres...


People who can do all these things well and teach them well are not particularly common, but the odd one does exist. Therefore, the first question I would ask a prospective teacher would concern this ability; most will be eliminated and you will save time.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: DFSRN] #2801107
01/12/19 05:32 AM
01/12/19 05:32 AM
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Thank you all again for your thoughtful suggestions.

Originally Posted by Ted
Originally Posted by RosemaryGirl

... My long-term goal is to be able to play well-known classical pieces like "Clair de Lune" or "Moonlight Sonata", and more importantly jazz standards and improvisation, as well as the odd film soundtrack and piano cover of rock/pop songs. I like all genres...


People who can do all these things well and teach them well are not particularly common, but the odd one does exist. Therefore, the first question I would ask a prospective teacher would concern this ability; most will be eliminated and you will save time.


In terms of this long-term goal of mine, I actually have this impression (but do please correct me if I'm wrong), that I would be better off laying all the foundations properly with a classical-minded teacher, and after a few years (5?), look for a jazz specialist to delve into that. Does that make any sense?

Originally Posted by DFSRN
People who play well, (there are exceptions) have been playing for more than a decade or two. To do anything well takes time, effort, dedication, and patience. Playing the piano is a highly complex skill if you learn to do it well. I think of it as a life long journey, enjoy the ride.

Just some thoughts!


For sure, I expect this ride to be a lifelong one. I think I take my piano practice as I do my meditation practice: not expecting anything too lofty as a result, but enjoying the daily practice and trying to do it in as focused a way as possible. Little by little, I'll turn around and realise I've got somewhere. That's partly why I chose to learn to play piano: I love learning new things, and with the piano, I thought I could spend the rest of my life learning around the same skill without ever being short of new challenges within it.

I like the idea of a "summer teacher", to change things up a bit. I might look into that too as the summer is the only time of year I spend in the same part of the world — I could have an in-person, long-term summer teacher as well as the online one.

I've finally confessed to my friendly acquaintance that I had stopped taking lessons from her teacher. I was fearing her reaction… Well, it turns out she's thinking of ditching him too, after years with him! It seems he's behaved rather oddly with her too, so perhaps he has stuff going on and his head is not in the game anymore. Certainly, I think he should have told me about the pay structure before I paid the whole first month during which I saw him once…

And thanks again for alerting me to the existence of PMs…

Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2801122
01/12/19 07:16 AM
01/12/19 07:16 AM
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Cumbria, England
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Originally Posted by RosemaryGirl


For sure, I expect this ride to be a lifelong one. I think I take my piano practice as I do my meditation practice: not expecting anything too lofty as a result, but enjoying the daily practice and trying to do it in as focused a way as possible. Little by little, I'll turn around and realise I've got somewhere. That's partly why I chose to learn to play piano: I love learning new things, and with the piano, I thought I could spend the rest of my life learning around the same skill without ever being short of new challenges within it.



Beautifully put... that is pretty close to the reason why I'm doing it, too.


Q: Am I late beginner, or early intermediate? A: Yes!

Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best. ~ Henry Van Dyke
Re: To quit or not to quit lessons [Re: RosemaryGirl] #2801156
01/12/19 09:21 AM
01/12/19 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by RosemaryGirl
In terms of this long-term goal of mine, I actually have this impression (but do please correct me if I'm wrong), that I would be better off laying all the foundations properly with a classical-minded teacher, and after a few years (5?), look for a jazz specialist to delve into that. Does that make any sense?

I am in the first 12 months of my own journey, and have no interest in jazz myself, but my beginner-level understanding is that if your ultimate goal is to play jazz, you might be better off starting with jazz piano. The more I learn, the more different jazz piano seems than classical piano. Something I had always assumed was that the piano technique (e.g., arms, wrist, fingers) is the same and applicable. But a few months ago, I read that jazz piano even uses a different piano technique!

If you are interested in jazz, there are a few teachers that post in the non-classical pianist forum. You should post and ask there about this. Certainly as an adult, one wouldn't want to take a five-year detour if one's ultimate goals were already clear to oneself.


across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
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