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Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2800787
01/11/19 09:15 AM
01/11/19 09:15 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,937
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows

I've given learning issues and home issues a lot of thought. The parent is almost impossible to communicate with.


It sounds like this little apple didn't fall far from the tree.


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

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Re: AT a loss with student [Re: malkin] #2800862
01/11/19 12:40 PM
01/11/19 12:40 PM
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows

I've given learning issues and home issues a lot of thought. The parent is almost impossible to communicate with.


It sounds like this little apple didn't fall far from the tree.


The mom finally replied to a 2d email from me. She wonders why the child is "playing the same pieces" for weeks and is still in the same book. She didn't reply to my questions regarding possible school, home or vision concerns. SHe said they are not using YouTube anymore since our last conversation, which could very well explain the setback in her ability to come to lessons so well prepared.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2800988
01/11/19 06:09 PM
01/11/19 06:09 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 682
Vancouver BC
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Obviously, something is wrong that girl cannot read basic notes and is still in book 1 after 3 years of lessons and that problem needs to be fixed. It is also clear that we are not talking about a child prodigy with a bright future in piano performance here.

I think the focus here should be how to make the lessons and the journey pleasant and hope the child will get something out of it and will get somewhere.
Different people have different styles of learning, some learn quicker by learning instruction, some learn better by following examples. If the girl is capable and enjoys learning the next level music by listening and watching how people play but has great difficulties reading notes. Is it really sensible to hold her back in level 1 music for the next 2 years until she quits, rather than letting her go forward with the way she can learn and enjoy the fun for as long as it lasts?

Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2801016
01/11/19 07:11 PM
01/11/19 07:11 PM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,897
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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The Monkeys, I've had transfer students who were spoon fed their pieces at each lesson. I started lessons with a 6 year old boy years ago and another teacher taught his sister. Shortly, his sister was playing more advanced music, while my little guy moved rather slowly through his assignments. Eventually, I learned he really didn't want to take piano lessons. At one point, I asked if the siblings could do a very simple duet. The "advanced" sister had to be shown where to put her hands, and was fed note by note. i was shocked. This was a Primer level duet, My little guy played his part well, she was lost. Yet this teacher has good retention and parents who love her, because their kids sound, in their minds, like "professional" pianists. That kind of teaching should be illegal.

I recently received a transfer teen who played a Clementi Sonatina (1st movement) I was impressed. I've had him for a year now and he struggles through Level 5 Faber pieces. I since learned his teacher went through measure by measure with him until "he got it." These students obviously were playing pieces far above their level because they merely copied or imitated.

I will never teach a student that way. Nor will I continue to advance a student who is learning through YouTube. If she doesn't want to learn how to read music, there are plenty of other teachers that will take a student like that, but I am not one of them. It's a disservice to everyone involved.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: AT a loss with student [Re: The Monkeys] #2801104
01/12/19 03:59 AM
01/12/19 03:59 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,830
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by The Monkeys
I think the focus here should be how to make the lessons and the journey pleasant and hope the child will get something out of it and will get somewhere. Different people have different styles of learning, some learn quicker by learning instruction, some learn better by following examples. If the girl is capable and enjoys learning the next level music by listening and watching how people play but has great difficulties reading notes. Is it really sensible to hold her back in level 1 music for the next 2 years until she quits, rather than letting her go forward with the way she can learn and enjoy the fun for as long as it lasts?

It's not "holding back" as you call it. It's being realistic.

I have dealt with students who will never learn anything beyond level 2A music. Fortunately, there is enough level 2A music to keep them playing piano for 20 years. As long as the student can come to terms with reality, is there really a problem?

Everyone eventually will hit a plateau in their piano journey. Some plateaus are in the realm of Rachmaninoff Preludes and Beethoven Sonatas. Some plateaus are much, much lower.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2801478
01/13/19 07:24 AM
01/13/19 07:24 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,524
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
The Monkeys, I've had transfer students who were spoon fed their pieces at each lesson. I started lessons with a 6 year old boy years ago and another teacher taught his sister. Shortly, his sister was playing more advanced music, while my little guy moved rather slowly through his assignments. Eventually, I learned he really didn't want to take piano lessons. At one point, I asked if the siblings could do a very simple duet. The "advanced" sister had to be shown where to put her hands, and was fed note by note. i was shocked. This was a Primer level duet, My little guy played his part well, she was lost. Yet this teacher has good retention and parents who love her, because their kids sound, in their minds, like "professional" pianists. That kind of teaching should be illegal.

I recently received a transfer teen who played a Clementi Sonatina (1st movement) I was impressed. I've had him for a year now and he struggles through Level 5 Faber pieces. I since learned his teacher went through measure by measure with him until "he got it." These students obviously were playing pieces far above their level because they merely copied or imitated.

I will never teach a student that way. Nor will I continue to advance a student who is learning through YouTube. If she doesn't want to learn how to read music, there are plenty of other teachers that will take a student like that, but I am not one of them. It's a disservice to everyone involved.


This kind of teaching drives me nuts. It ruins students. They get accustomed to playing much harder pieces that they have no business playing because they have not been taught how to be musicians, but parrots. And you try to do the right thing, explain to them what is wrong with how they were taught...most of them give up.


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Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2801530
01/13/19 11:30 AM
01/13/19 11:30 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,897
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Uggh, I just had meet and greets with more "parrots" as Morodiene so aptly described these play by ear students. And of course, the prior teacher is blamed for their failure to not be "tougher." If we could perform miracles, we would certainly not be piano teachers. smile


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2801745
01/14/19 12:40 AM
01/14/19 12:40 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 215
Canada
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LXXXVIIIdentes Offline
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Canada
I agree totally with Bennevis on the approach to teaching, except that I would add that the student should be able to give the letter name for any note that the teacher asks about. How else can the teacher and student communicate readily? While experienced players can eventually make the jump of seeing a note on a page to playing it on an instrument, they still use the note names when speaking with another musician about parts of a work, where to start, fingering, etc.
If the student can already recognize single notes on flash cards, it is time to move on and have the student name the notes in a piece to be learned, and find them on the piano, one by one if need be at first.

Re: AT a loss with student [Re: LXXXVIIIdentes] #2801878
01/14/19 11:12 AM
01/14/19 11:12 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,897
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Originally Posted by LXXXVIIIdentes
I agree totally with Bennevis on the approach to teaching, except that I would add that the student should be able to give the letter name for any note that the teacher asks about. How else can the teacher and student communicate readily? While experienced players can eventually make the jump of seeing a note on a page to playing it on an instrument, they still use the note names when speaking with another musician about parts of a work, where to start, fingering, etc.
If the student can already recognize single notes on flash cards, it is time to move on and have the student name the notes in a piece to be learned, and find them on the piano, one by one if need be at first.


Not sure if your reply is directed to my situation, but as I indicate to bennevis, this student, who has been with me for 3 years, came to each lesson fully mastering each assignment, which assignment was gone over in full (through level 1, I always make sure the student sight reads their upcoming assignments at the lesson first) with no issue.

There is no reason to insist on a student saying note names out loud if there is no obvious need, b/c they are playing correctly. As she reached the end of her Level 1, the mistakes in notes began to surface, worsening each week, and of course, I would have her identify the notes, circle skips, steps, identify direction of the notes.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2801880
01/14/19 11:14 AM
01/14/19 11:14 AM
Joined: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,897
USA
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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USA
I finally was able to meet with the parent, and she purchased staff paper, sight reading and Level l composition books for the student. We are going back to the start and working on matching notes to keys on the piano, reading notes, intervals, direction. The only explanation mom can offer other than YouTube reliance, is the summer break the student took. Ah, it's now January?


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2801907
01/14/19 12:24 PM
01/14/19 12:24 PM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 215
Canada
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LXXXVIIIdentes Offline
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Canada
I just wanted to know that she can readily rattle off the names of notes. There is no need to do it if she can. If she can't, or has to stop and think carefully to identify each note on a staff, then she needs to acquire that skill. It is normal knowledge among classical musicians from an early age, even when they don't yet "read music" fluently.
In teaching the reading of words, we talk about the first three years being about "learning to read," and then the skill transforms into "reading to learn." Some students achieve the transformation well before the three year mark, some later, but that is about the norm. And remember, the text keeps increasing in level and demand, the same as in music. I believe most music teachers consider it takes about 8-10 years to play normal adult level difficulty music notes at sight, which matches the usual twelve years of schooling assumed to be the standard adult text reading level.
I suspect that a "good ear" or the mother's coaching has allowed your student to advance without adequate reading skills. Experienced teachers I know complain that some of the transfer Suzuki students they receive have never learned to read music properly because they always picked up pieces nicely by ear, sometimes at a quite advanced level, so never bothered to read notes. It is difficult for them to back up and work at the drilling required ,and many never do, but quit. Well taught Suzuki teaching does include reading music, and should not result in this inadequacy.

Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2801940
01/14/19 01:43 PM
01/14/19 01:43 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 79
Canada
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Originally Posted by LXXXVIIIdentes
I just wanted to know that she can readily rattle off the names of notes. There is no need to do it if she can. If she can't, or has to stop and think carefully to identify each note on a staff, then she needs to acquire that skill. It is normal knowledge among classical musicians from an early age, even when they don't yet "read music" fluently. .


If you haven't taught a new beginners, I think it's hard to picture exactly what goes into reading music and how the student needs to be supported through the learning process. Naming notes does not equal reading music.Teachers on this forum have gone into great detail about their approaches and I've picked up many helpful strategies from reading various threads. It's so easy for the student to develop reading crutches, and the teacher has to be constantly vigilant to make sure that a solid foundation is being built. For parents or other non-teachers I think this is hard to understand.

Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
I finally was able to meet with the parent, and she purchased staff paper, sight reading and Level l composition books for the student. We are going back to the start and working on matching notes to keys on the piano, reading notes, intervals, direction. The only explanation mom can offer other than YouTube reliance, is the summer break the student took. Ah, it's now January?


chasingrainbows, good to hear that you have been able to communicate with the parent. It sounds like you have a clear plan for helping this student progress, and hopefully you will share an update in the future.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2802047
01/14/19 05:19 PM
01/14/19 05:19 PM
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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pianistlady, thanks. I did also give the parent the opportunity to find another teacher that works with students who learn to play by ear. I know how destructive that can be for beginners, however. Teachers can not predict which students, if any, end up music majors and like me, had to start all over again, learning the "right" way to play an instrument.


Piano teacher, BA Music, MTNA member
Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2802116
01/14/19 08:16 PM
01/14/19 08:16 PM
Joined: Jan 2012
Posts: 682
Vancouver BC
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The Monkeys Online content
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chasingrainbows, please update us in a few months. I am curious how thing will turn out.

Re: AT a loss with student [Re: chasingrainbows] #2802379
01/15/19 05:44 PM
01/15/19 05:44 PM
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chasingrainbows Offline OP
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Will do!


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