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The benefits of having a teacher. #2809096
01/31/19 05:30 PM
01/31/19 05:30 PM
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Serge88 Offline OP

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I had a teacher many years ago and after that I just learned by myself. After 20 years I been in and out of piano playing but this summer, I got a teacher and after 6 months of lessons here's the main benefit of having a teacher.

- She push me beyond my limits
- She can see errors that I didn't notice.
- She can show me a few tricks to learn difficult passage.
- She's a guide, she's been there and knows the path to achieve my goal.

And the most important thing, with a lesson every week, I have to practice everyday.

S



"The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.”
– Maria Cristina

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Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Serge88] #2809104
01/31/19 05:52 PM
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How very true; especially the part of having to practice very day!

I like that my teacher has also given me opportunities to play music that I would otherwise pass up, to perform in public and how to accompany a vocalist.


Dona Nobis Pacem
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Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Serge88] #2809107
01/31/19 06:02 PM
01/31/19 06:02 PM
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How often should a beginner have lessons with a teacher? Is it a once a week thing?

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: AnthonyPaulO] #2809110
01/31/19 06:06 PM
01/31/19 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyPaulO
How often should a beginner have lessons with a teacher? Is it a once a week thing?


I've been taking lessons now for 3 years with phases where I've had weekly lessons (30 minutes each lesson) and also every other week (one hour per lesson). My progress has been much better under the weekly approach.


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Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: AnthonyPaulO] #2809114
01/31/19 06:31 PM
01/31/19 06:31 PM
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Canada
Serge88 Offline OP

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Originally Posted by AnthonyPaulO
How often should a beginner have lessons with a teacher? Is it a once a week thing?


The best is once a week but when I started 20 years ago, it was twice a month because I was so busy with job, family and friends. Progress was slow and I quit after a few years.



"The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colors in your mind.”
– Maria Cristina

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Serge88] #2809154
01/31/19 07:54 PM
01/31/19 07:54 PM
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Hi,
Having a teacher is invaluable for me.
He keeps me on the right track and motivated.
My first year or so I was taking 30 minutes once per week.
About half way through the second year I was taking 45 minutes per week.
So far, this is the sweet spot for me.
Joe


Proud owner of a Kawai KU-5D 52 inch professional upright.
Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: AnthonyPaulO] #2809191
01/31/19 09:58 PM
01/31/19 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyPaulO
How often should a beginner have lessons with a teacher? Is it a once a week thing?

I think the weekly approach is the best, but depending of your situation, you might consider once every other week, once a month... depending on your schedule and such.

As for practice, I think it is better to have a 30-minute lesson every week than an hour every two weeks.


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- Mozart, K545, 1st mov
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Serge88] #2809204
01/31/19 10:54 PM
01/31/19 10:54 PM
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Most people would agree that having a teacher is invaluable. And recently someone posted a discussion topic about group lessons. I have taken several of them and find them helpful and engaging over private one-on-one lessons. Whether you go for private or group lessons, the bottom-line is to practice everyday for at least half an hour. You may not get the individual attention of a private teacher, but if you are learning to play for personal interest and not planning on taking any conservatory exams in the foreseeable future.

Typically, music lessons can be once a week for the whole year unless somebody wants to take a summer break. Each lesson you would go home and practice what was taught and if you have any questions, you can ask your instructor at the next lesson or send the person an Email.

Once I met a man who started learning piano on his own. At first he had no piano and would go to a friend's place regularly for his weekly practices. A few months later, a friend was moving and gave him a piano that had been with the family for many years for free. Within a year, he learned to play 5 pieces of Classical music by watching video demos on YouTube by imitating hand patterns. The pieces are in the upper intermediate level (from 5-7 min.) so definitely not for beginners. He can play them reasonably well at a slower tempo and convinced a few people he played for at least 10 years. Once I told the man that he had the potential to go much further with a teacher. He agreed but...
He has financial issues which makes it difficult for him to pay for his lessons. Even after his money issues get resolved, he has a fear (almost a paranoia) of reading music as if he is asked to learn a foreign language. Maybe he had a bad experience in his childhood years learning to sight-read with a piano teacher that he would never learn to read again. He is quite happy just practicing the same 5 piece week after week without learning new pieces by even the same composers. No teacher who is into Classical music would accept a student who would only learn by imitating hand patterns. The man has more personal issues than I imagined so we went our separately ways. I would continue my weekly lessons and let him do his own thing.

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2809211
01/31/19 11:40 PM
01/31/19 11:40 PM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Even after his money issues get resolved, he has a fear (almost a paranoia) of reading music as if he is asked to learn a foreign language. Maybe he had a bad experience in his childhood years learning to sight-read with a piano teacher that he would never learn to read again.

I just feel astounded by such stories. I can maybe understand if these were people who were illiterate altogether. Or maybe with a learning disability such as dyslexia. But most such people do read and write their native language, and don't appear to have learning disabilities. I just don't get it. It took me all of 2 days back in February with an iPhone app. It was so painless I even have trouble remembering the exact process of learning to read. Now, learning to play what you can read on the page - that's an entirely different matter wink

P.S. In case it's not clear, I am not using playing what is read, as part of learning to "read" itself - what I am referring to is the decoding of the music from the score into what should happen on the piano to make the music wink


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
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2809246
02/01/19 02:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Even after his money issues get resolved, he has a fear (almost a paranoia) of reading music as if he is asked to learn a foreign language. Maybe he had a bad experience in his childhood years learning to sight-read with a piano teacher that he would never learn to read again.

I just feel astounded by such stories. I can maybe understand if these were people who were illiterate altogether. Or maybe with a learning disability such as dyslexia. But most such people do read and write their native language, and don't appear to have learning disabilities. I just don't get it. It took me all of 2 days back in February with an iPhone app. It was so painless I even have trouble remembering the exact process of learning to read. Now, learning to play what you can read on the page - that's an entirely different matter wink

P.S. In case it's not clear, I am not using playing what is read, as part of learning to "read" itself - what I am referring to is the decoding of the music from the score into what should happen on the piano to make the music wink


Learning disabilities are quite common. I have seem estimates as high of 10% of people having some kind of learning challenge. Many people do not even know that their difficulties are a result of some cognitive defeciency. Dyslexia is just one form. A person can read and write perfectly while having problems with reading visual symbols such as musical notes. When a normal person learns to read text or notation, the decoding becomes automatic with enough right kind of practice. For someone with a learning disability this may never happen, no matter how much practice. It is extremely stressful for the brain and can explain why they quit trying. Some will figure out adaptive strategies that help to some extend.

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: outo] #2809254
02/01/19 02:50 AM
02/01/19 02:50 AM
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Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by outo
]Learning disabilities are quite common. I have seem estimates as high of 10% of people having some kind of learning challenge. Many people do not even know that their difficulties are a result of some cognitive defeciency. Dyslexia is just one form. A person can read and write perfectly while having problems with reading visual symbols such as musical notes. When a normal person learns to read text or notation, the decoding becomes automatic with enough right kind of practice. For someone with a learning disability this may never happen, no matter how much practice. It is extremely stressful for the brain and can explain why they quit trying. Some will figure out adaptive strategies that help to some extend.

Thanks for that explanation outo. But then my question is, of those who play or play with pianos is it only 10% or less that have never learned to read music? Because my sense is it is a lot more. Maybe I am just biased from being on Reddit where huge numbers of "piano/keyboard users" don't learn to read music.


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
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2809259
02/01/19 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by outo
]Learning disabilities are quite common. I have seem estimates as high of 10% of people having some kind of learning challenge. Many people do not even know that their difficulties are a result of some cognitive defeciency. Dyslexia is just one form. A person can read and write perfectly while having problems with reading visual symbols such as musical notes. When a normal person learns to read text or notation, the decoding becomes automatic with enough right kind of practice. For someone with a learning disability this may never happen, no matter how much practice. It is extremely stressful for the brain and can explain why they quit trying. Some will figure out adaptive strategies that help to some extend.

Thanks for that explanation outo. But then my question is, of those who play or play with pianos is it only 10% or less that have never learned to read music? Because my sense is it is a lot more. Maybe I am just biased from being on Reddit where huge numbers of "piano/keyboard users" don't learn to read music.


There are many reasons why people do not learn to read music. My response was to explain how someone could be terrified to read music. I have a learning disability myself, which you probably could not tell from my writing.

I am now talking about classical music, not pop/rock music:
These days it is possible (maybe even fashionable) to learn to play pieces without learning to read because it is possible with the options available online. When I was a child it was not so. You simply had to learn to read unless you were gifted enough to learn purely by ear from recordings. And recordings were not available for everything and certainly not online whenever you wanted. The other option would have been to find a teacher who would show how to play everything to you, but I doubt many would. So one just had to learn to read or quit. Whatever learning disability one had was one's personal problem. It did take away lots of the enjoyment from playing and probably was the biggest reason why I finally quit. As an adult I still never question the need to read when learning pieces, but would never perform with a score because of the high stress levels and low playing quality associated with reading notes.

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2809270
02/01/19 04:53 AM
02/01/19 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
But then my question is, of those who play or play with pianos is it only 10% or less that have never learned to read music? Because my sense is it is a lot more. Maybe I am just biased from being on Reddit where huge numbers of "piano/keyboard users" don't learn to read music.

I think that it is way more than 10%, and I think most of them don't have reading disabilities. They just don't take playing with their piano as seriously as we all do. It's a hobby, a pleasant pastime, they want to play popular tunes or even some classical pieces, and the easiest way to learn it is the best way. And there is nothing wrong with that. smile


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2809278
02/01/19 05:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I just feel astounded by such stories. I can maybe understand if these were people who were illiterate altogether. Or maybe with a learning disability such as dyslexia. But most such people do read and write their native language, and don't appear to have learning disabilities. I just don't get it. It took me all of 2 days back in February with an iPhone app. It was so painless I even have trouble remembering the exact process of learning to read. Now, learning to play what you can read on the page - that's an entirely different matter wink

P.S. In case it's not clear, I am not using playing what is read, as part of learning to "read" itself - what I am referring to is the decoding of the music from the score into what should happen on the piano to make the music wink


I see that a number of people are jumping into conclusions about the man in question and whether or not he has a learning disability. I first met him through another friend at a party. He once worked as a financial adviser and is retired in his 70s. According to his friends he worked well with numbers and took early retirement due to stress.

For a few years we became close friends with a common interest in piano playing. After hearing somebody learn to play pieces of Classical music at an advanced level by ear and watching finger patterns, I wouldn't come to the conclusion the man has learning disabilities. While many of us would think reading music is a faster approach to learning, he prefers to use the more painstaking approach of slowing down and stopping a video performance of a Chopin Nocturne many times just to see which keys were being pressed. The number of months it would take to perfect 1 piece, most people including myself would think he would have taken the effort to learn how to read the notes. A while ago, I started a conversation on music history & the biography of various composers. Knowing the time period a piece is written affects the way it is performed. The man showed no interest in music history. All he wanted was to perfect the pieces he started by following hand gestures & finger sequences off videos. As an monolingual English-speaker all his life, he said that music notation is a foreign language which is difficult to master and refused to discuss the subject again. He may have lived in other countries but didn't pick up a foreign word or phrase.

The last thing I found out about the mystery man was that he has an addiction problem to prescription medications. All the people I met at the party who knew him assumed he needed the medications to relieve stress from the work he was doing. About 2 years ago I observed that half the time the man got so sick he would be in bed most of the day. As far as I am concerned, the man may have been taken medications much longer and his addiction was the reason for his early retirement. I don't want to get into details about a man's private life and jump into conclusions based on speculation. As much as musicians take for granted that reading music and playing Classical music goes together, here is a man who is playing a few pieces some of us are struggling to learn with video demos as his only resource. As odd as his life story may be, we just have to accept his approach to learning piano.

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Serge88] #2809280
02/01/19 05:29 AM
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The benefits of having my teacher, during my teenage years and early twenties were not measurable in terms of skills such as reading and writing music, physical technique or knowledge of chords and keyboard formations; I had taught myself these things before I met him and was expected to maintain and develop them more or less independently. Lessons would usually comprise my improvising for him and then he improvising for me. He did assign a lot of difficult pieces, which I usually managed to play, but in retrospect nothing had much to do with reading music or finger dexterity. It was his underlying musical ideas which fired me up with enthusiasm to get home and try them out, that made my years with him an indispensable part of my musical mind into the future. He operated on the assumption that I had music in me already and he was there to help me get it out, perhaps that is the most succinct way of putting it.

Last edited by Ted; 02/01/19 05:30 AM.

"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: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2809285
02/01/19 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416

I see that a number of people are jumping into conclusions about the man in question and whether or not he has a learning disability. I first met him through another friend at a party. He once worked as a financial adviser and is retired in his 70s. According to his friends he worked well with numbers and took early retirement due to stress.


I don't think anyone here jumped to any conclusions about your man, the discussion was on a more general level about possible reasons that make people avoid reading music.

Learning disabilities and the consequences differ greatly from person to person and despite them one can success in many areas in life, even school. You cannot tell looking only at the end result.


Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416

After hearing somebody learn to play pieces of Classical music at an advanced level by ear and watching finger patterns, I wouldn't come to the conclusion the man has learning disabilities.


Well, it is certainly not impossible to play (or even read) advanced music with a learning disability. It's just often way harder and one may need to use unconventional methods. But one needs to be able to handle the anxiety caused by the problem itself added with the ignorant attitude from others (even teachers) towards your problems.

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: outo] #2809290
02/01/19 05:58 AM
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Originally Posted by outo
[

Learning disabilities are quite common. I have seem estimates as high of 10% of people having some kind of learning challenge. Many people do not even know that their difficulties are a result of some cognitive defeciency. Dyslexia is just one form.
There may also be problems of sight, problems of the width of visual field, problems of simultaneous perception of several voices , sight stability problems (f.e. shaky apples of eyes) . I don’t know if statistics take this into account.

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Nahum] #2809294
02/01/19 06:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by outo
[

Learning disabilities are quite common. I have seem estimates as high of 10% of people having some kind of learning challenge. Many people do not even know that their difficulties are a result of some cognitive defeciency. Dyslexia is just one form.
There may also be problems of sight, problems of the width of visual field, problems of simultaneous perception of several voices , sight stability problems (f.e. shaky apples of eyes) . I don’t know if statistics take this into account.


The 10% is just a rough estimate anyway and the line between "normal" and "challenged" cannot be clearly drawn out. But very true, sight issues certainly don't make it any easier.

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2809298
02/01/19 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by thepianoplayer416
Even after his money issues get resolved, he has a fear (almost a paranoia) of reading music as if he is asked to learn a foreign language. Maybe he had a bad experience in his childhood years learning to sight-read with a piano teacher that he would never learn to read again.

I just feel astounded by such stories. I can maybe understand if these were people who were illiterate altogether. Or maybe with a learning disability such as dyslexia. But most such people do read and write their native language, and don't appear to have learning disabilities. I just don't get it. It took me all of 2 days back in February with an iPhone app. It was so painless I even have trouble remembering the exact process of learning to read. Now, learning to play what you can read on the page - that's an entirely different matter wink

P.S. In case it's not clear, I am not using playing what is read, as part of learning to "read" itself - what I am referring to is the decoding of the music from the score into what should happen on the piano to make the music wink


Some people just have fears of the unknown and what they perceive to be extremely difficult. Instead of facing it they just avoid it altogether. It becomes a mental block. I'm the same in terms of sight reading. I avoid it. Now I can read music, I understand it's language perfectly well but actual real sight reading I avoid. Instead I take things one bar at a time and purposefully memorise each bar. It's a form of sight reading (otherwise I wouldn't understand it at all) but it's not done in the conventional manner of what most musicians call sight reading.

Re: The benefits of having a teacher. [Re: Serge88] #2809299
02/01/19 06:44 AM
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I always feel a bit melancholic when I read all this wise advice on "you must practice at least one hour a day" and so on. Once upon a time it was a motivation issue for me too. Nowadays I want so badly to practice but I CANNOT because my life does not allow it. I practice whenever I have the time but so very often I just don't have the possibilities. Don't talk about "priorities" here because noone would disagree about my priorities if they had known the full story ... well, those who don't like piano playing would of course say that I should drop piano practice completely but I refuse to do that.

But it is right now an utopia to have a regular practice schedule. And the nearest teacher lives so far away that I must reserve at least half a day to get there, have my lesson and go back home, so this "30 minutes a week" is also out of the question. The most intense schedule I have had as an adult, was one hour every fortnight but it often had to be adjusted to suit my job schedule. I run my own freelance business and I need to adapt to very short lead times and deadlines all the time, I can seldom plan for the next week.

On the other hand, I had 20 minutes every week when I was a school kid and it was a worthless schedule if you ask me. To little time to work in-depth with anything, and too little time inbetween for practice - after all, I had school too. And I lost my motivation that way, so I did not practice as much as I could have, so I had to show up, week after week and make apologies to my teacher ... You know, in this way your original goal (to learn to play the piano because you love it) somehow gets replaced with "please your teacher" and that takes the fun out of it. And I was too young to be able to analyze the situation. Today, the problem is the opposite, now I struggle to find practice time, not to get out of it ...

I believe it is good to have lessons often when you are a beginner, need a lot of guidance and have short assignments. Or when you are advanced and have hours to practice every day. But I am advanced in the aspect that I work with long and difficult works, full sonatas and so on. With my irregular practice possibilities they take many months, sometimes years, to learn. There is absolutely no point for me in having short lessons where we can work only with snippets of a piece.

Having said that, my conclusion is that lesson time and frequency is a highly individual matter, it is no solution that is ideal for everyone. I have reached the stage, though, when I do not pity those who cannot motivate themselve to practice even though they have the possibilities - either you love to play the piano, and then you play the piano as much as you can (and that varies according to your circumstances), or you are perfectly happy with the situation just as it is and that is ok too. The choice is yours. But the drive to practice (or not to) should not come from your teacher.

Otherwise, it is good to have a teacher. Playing the piano can be quite lonely and you need feedback and input from someone who both is paid to give you honest feedback and input and also is skilled enough to do it properly. The lessons are good for structuring. You can, if you are lucky, get help to participate in group gathering and recitals and that is incredibly fun. My own piano teacher is also a very sweet and nice person who I look forward to meet ... unfortunately she is on sick leave, long-term, so at the moment I don't have a teacher to see. frown I have an offer to get lessons online from the other side of the planet but this requires arrangements that are not feasible at the moment.

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