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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812115 02/07/19 09:19 PM
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Beowulf - I have been with my 1st ever piano teacher for 8 months. Focus on technical stuff with your teacher - tell her the measure you have difficulties with or the kind of mistakes you make often and see what see says. Ask her about practice technique. She should know lots to tips, tricks, thoughts that make things easier. She should have a nice piano, be professional, and totally upbeat for your lesson. You may not always have a good feeling when you leave the lesson.....but that's because you did not perform to your own expectations. She's seen it a million times and it doesn't phase her in the least.

I agree with many others, unless there is something ridiculous going on, give it a few months. You will know in your gut if it is great or not. Kudos to you for making the leap!


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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Tyrone Slothrop #2812125 02/07/19 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I think all of this assumes the teacher is a good teacher. But we know that isn't true. We also need to take responsibility for our own education since we aren't children any more. That doesn't me we tell the teacher how to teach us. Because of course, they likely know a lot more about what we need then we do. But as adults, we shouldn't be shutting off our critical facilities, and if we feel like we are missing something, then we should raise it. I'm seeing posts for example on Reddit from students who have teachers who do not teach them any technique or comment on their technique unless directly asked. If I had one like that, I would see it as a problem.

All that begs the question of what we mean by a 'good teacher'.

I suspect - in fact, I know - that my idea of a good teacher is nothing like what almost everyone else's idea is here, in ABF.

If I was a complete beginner, I'd want my teacher to use a children's beginner primer that aims to teach everything from the basics up, in very simple steps so that everything gets ingrained and learnt properly before new concepts are introduced. I don't care if I don't play any recognizable 'adult songs' for several weeks, or even months - I want to learn everything properly, and I don't want to rush. I don't care to play 'songs' with nice tunes in RH and chords in LH before I have developed the finger control to play single notes properly in both hands. I want to develop both hands equally. I never want to play simplified piano/keyboard music - only originals. (OK, simple arrangements of classical tunes are acceptable in the first few weeks, as long as they aren't of keyboard music). I want my teacher to choose all the pieces for me to learn, that he feels would best help me advance.

But that's not what people here want - just look at the most popular (adult) beginner books in ABF: over 8,000 posts.

Incidentally, I do know someone who has the same mentality as me, and who was an adult beginner at the age of sixty, some years ago. He's now reaping the rewards of his patience, but he did have to convince his teacher (who was initially dubious) that he really did want to learn everything from the basics up. His teacher told him he was unique among adult beginners, but respected him for it - in fact, he's his favorite student, and they're now good friends. (BTW, I've told his story many times here before).

In reality, the most common threads started by newcomers in ABF are along the lines of: "I want to play this song I saw on YT. Tell me the best way to learn it."


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Tyrone Slothrop #2812130 02/07/19 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[...]I think all of this assumes the teacher is a good teacher. But we know that isn't true. We also need to take responsibility for our own education since we aren't children any more. That doesn't me we tell the teacher how to teach us. Because of course, they likely know a lot more about what we need then we do. But as adults, we shouldn't be shutting off our critical facilities, and if we feel like we are missing something, then we should raise it.[...]

I'm assuming you meant:
Quote
I think all of this assumes the teacher is a good teacher. But we know that isn't true in all cases.
We don't know anything about the OP's teacher at this point, just to be fair to the OP and the teacher.


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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Stubbie #2812136 02/07/19 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[...]I think all of this assumes the teacher is a good teacher. But we know that isn't true. We also need to take responsibility for our own education since we aren't children any more. That doesn't me we tell the teacher how to teach us. Because of course, they likely know a lot more about what we need then we do. But as adults, we shouldn't be shutting off our critical facilities, and if we feel like we are missing something, then we should raise it.[...]

I'm assuming you meant:
Quote
I think all of this assumes the teacher is a good teacher. But we know that isn't true in all cases.
We don't know anything about the OP's teacher at this point, just to be fair to the OP and the teacher.

Oops! Yes, exactly. Thanks for the correction. I meant "in all cases." I'd even say the vast majority of teachers are good, and some are great. But not every teacher. There are even teachers on the teachers forum that complain about other teachers. That's why, as adults, we have to have our critical facilities and be able to be in ultimate charge of our education.


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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Tyrone Slothrop #2812141 02/07/19 10:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[...] I'd even say the vast majority of teachers are good, and some are great. But not every teacher. There are even teachers on the teachers forum that complain about other teachers. That's why, as adults, we have to have our critical facilities and be able to be in ultimate charge of our education.


The problem for many adult beginners - those who never have had lessons - is that they may not know whether or not the teacher they have is good or not good. Alert critical faculties notwithstanding, some may experience mediocre teaching, thinking that such may be the way it is done. This can lead to discouraging results and even to the student's withdrawing from lessons.

It might help, when possible to do so, to find out about a teacher's reputation and about the successes of her students (retention or drop-out rate, general satisfaction from the more successful students) from outside sources. It can be a bit of a conundrum when you don't know what you don't know about good or bad teaching.

Many of us are lucky to have found good teachers, and we appreciate how lucky we are. As mentioned above, assessing the value of a teacher in one's own experience can - and perhaps should - take some time as the student and teacher adjust to each other.

Regards,


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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
BruceD #2812156 02/08/19 12:10 AM
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Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[...] I'd even say the vast majority of teachers are good, and some are great. But not every teacher. There are even teachers on the teachers forum that complain about other teachers. That's why, as adults, we have to have our critical facilities and be able to be in ultimate charge of our education.


The problem for many adult beginners - those who never have had lessons - is that they may not know whether or not the teacher they have is good or not good. Alert critical faculties notwithstanding, some may experience mediocre teaching, thinking that such may be the way it is done. This can lead to discouraging results.


This is exactly what happened with my first teacher. I don't want to say bad things about him, because he is really nice. And I know he meant well. He was inexperienced, so it had some consequences.

I've probably talked about that over here, but to sum up, my teacher knew I had previous experience in music and was afraid to bore me with easy pieces and went to the exact opposite. Chopin's prelude no 4 as my second piece, Debussy's Le petit nègre as the third... Mozart K545 at 6 months and Rachmaninoff prelude in C# minor at 9 months. That was crazy. That was counterproductive (ok, I admit, it was fun though, but I'm glad I took a step back). And I didn't know it was that wrong until I changed teacher. It is hard to know what is right and what is not when you start off taking lessons. Heck, I'm not sure how much I could say that my current teacher is good, but I feel like he is wonderful.

First lesson with my current teacher was rough. My universe was shattering (ok, I exagerate). I had a big reality check and it was hard on the ego. But I value the piano to much to let that deter me, so I went back and told myself it was best to get aware of this with 1,5 year of piano experience and not 10, that it would be easier to fix my bad habits now. That it was a blessing in a way!

-

I disagree with some advice in here, but I like the fact that so many points of view have been shared. The OP will be able to make up his mind through this. There is no one right answer. It depends on your personality too.

For me, it is fine to have some input about what you learn, but be open to what your teacher will say about it, what he will want to bring you, etc.
I came to my teacher a few time saying "I'd like to play this. Do you think it is realistic?" On the other hand, I don't think I'll have a problem telling him I don't like a piece he brings me it that happens. There is more than one piece that can teach a particular concept and there is certainly a way to find one I like (but I'm really not picky, so it never happened yet).

Also, at the first lesson, I think it is perfectly fine to state what is your experience and what you'd like to achieve, but I would say that you are open to a different route if needed (well, if you are). I think it is important to say it so the teacher doesn't feel like you'll quit if it doesn't follow what you expected initially.

The day I'll change teacher, I'd like to tell him a bit about my piano journey. Not every details, but the fact that I've started on the wrong foot, I've probably developed some bad habits, that I've done some exams for fun and that it is motivating to me, that the weaknesses I'm aware of are X... that pursuing the exam road is not mandatory in my mind and that I ambition playing big repertoire one day, on the very long run (Chopin's ballades! Omg!), so I'd like him / her to tell me what I have to work on to be able to achieve that at some point. I think I can sum that up in 5 minutes and give a small portrait of who I am! Then, may the lessons go on!

But I understand the idea of not saying much and letting the teacher see. He will notice what is wrong anyway. But that won't give him a clue about your motivation and your goals, and this part is very important, imo.


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Pieces I'm working on :
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- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
CadenzaVvi #2812157 02/08/19 12:13 AM
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Originally Posted by CadenzaVvi
Chopin's ballades! Omg!

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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812170 02/08/19 01:10 AM
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Alright, so I just had my first lesson. On first impression, he seems like a good teacher. Clear and concise explanation as well as being very patient with me. Apparently, I do not have much issues regarding postures, positioning, finger curves and wrist techniques. His feedback was he could tell I am relatively seasoned on the piano although I could still do with more strengthening of my fingers 4 and 5. Due to my prior experience of self teaching, he said I could move faster with lessons compared to total beginners.

I sincerely thank everyone for your kind advice and I look forward to carry on my endless learning of the piano! smile

Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812186 02/08/19 03:05 AM
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Great Beowulf! Enjoy the endless learning. smile


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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812230 02/08/19 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Beowulf
Alright, so I just had my first lesson. On first impression, he seems like a good teacher. Clear and concise explanation as well as being very patient with me. Apparently, I do not have much issues regarding postures, positioning, finger curves and wrist techniques. His feedback was he could tell I am relatively seasoned on the piano although I could still do with more strengthening of my fingers 4 and 5. Due to my prior experience of self teaching, he said I could move faster with lessons compared to total beginners.

I sincerely thank everyone for your kind advice and I look forward to carry on my endless learning of the piano! smile

Sounds like a good start!



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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812262 02/08/19 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Beowulf
His feedback was he could tell I am relatively seasoned on the piano although I could still do with more strengthening of my fingers 4 and 5. Due to my prior experience of self teaching, he said I could move faster with lessons compared to total beginners.

If I may, without putting a damper on your enthusiasm, I'd just say - your technique might be relatively OK in the sense you haven't developed any nasty habits that require going back to basics, but you've already said you can't read music, as you've been learning pieces by copying people on YT..

The danger here is that your teacher, in trying not to bore you, will keep pushing you on and you may never acquire the ability to read music properly (assuming you want to be able to read music). Take a look at the music score of something you've learnt recently by rote, and see how complicated it is. If you took two years to get to the stage of being able to play it, you might actually take two years to get to the stage of being able to read it.

In other words, you have a lot of reading skills to catch up on, and you might want to consider going back to playing much easier stuff that you can learn to read properly first. Otherwise, you'll end up continuing to learn by rote - maybe copying your teacher instead of someone on YT - and never learn to read music.

So, make sure you tell your teacher that you do really want to learn to read music, and let him take charge.

I know a few teachers, of whom only two have adult students. They tell me the same thing - the biggest problem with adults who have self-taught by learning pieces by rote from YT videos (usually for more than a year before they realize they aren't making the progress they expected, and turn to teachers for help) and never learnt to read music is that they......still never learn to read music even with a teacher, because they won't go back to learning to play much easier pieces that they can learn to read from, until their reading skills catch up. In other words, they were mostly just wasting their money, switching from learning by rote from YT to learning by rote from a live teacher.

But if that's the way their students want to keep going, the teachers will keep teaching them by rote. After all, they are adults, and know what they want.......


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
bennevis #2812289 02/08/19 11:18 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

If I may, without putting a damper on your enthusiasm, I'd just say - your technique might be relatively OK in the sense you haven't developed any nasty habits that require going back to basics, but you've already said you can't read music, as you've been learning pieces by copying people on YT..

The danger here is that your teacher, in trying not to bore you, will keep pushing you on and you may never acquire the ability to read music properly (assuming you want to be able to read music). Take a look at the music score of something you've learnt recently by rote, and see how complicated it is. If you took two years to get to the stage of being able to play it, you might actually take two years to get to the stage of being able to read it.

In other words, you have a lot of reading skills to catch up on, and you might want to consider going back to playing much easier stuff that you can learn to read properly first. Otherwise, you'll end up continuing to learn by rote - maybe copying your teacher instead of someone on YT - and never learn to read music.

So, make sure you tell your teacher that you do really want to learn to read music, and let him take charge.

I know a few teachers, of whom only two have adult students. They tell me the same thing - the biggest problem with adults who have self-taught by learning pieces by rote from YT videos (usually for more than a year before they realize they aren't making the progress they expected, and turn to teachers for help) and never learnt to read music is that they......still never learn to read music even with a teacher, because they won't go back to learning to play much easier pieces that they can learn to read from, until their reading skills catch up. In other words, they were mostly just wasting their money, switching from learning by rote from YT to learning by rote from a live teacher.

But if that's the way their students want to keep going, the teachers will keep teaching them by rote. After all, they are adults, and know what they want.......

The reason I may not have developed any bad habits is probably due to how critical with myself when self teaching. I was constantly taking videos of myself to make sure I wasn't looking too awkward.

I get where you're coming from. However, rest assure I still treat myself as a complete beginner, even if it means starting from playing Mary Had A Little Lamb again. I have made it known to the teacher that my goal is to pursue graded exams, and he's indeed started with the basics such as telling me what's a treble and bass clef.

Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812292 02/08/19 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Beowulf
I still treat myself as a complete beginner, even if it means starting from playing Mary Had A Little Lamb again. I have made it known to the teacher that my goal is to pursue graded exams, and he's indeed started with the basics such as telling me what's a treble and bass clef.

thumb

I didn't want to make too much of graded exams (I think I've already bored everyone in ABF to death about the ABRSM exams that I did as a student grin), but I do recall someone here (or possibly in the Piano Teachers Forum) who insisted to his teacher that he wanted to do grade exams in order to ensure that nothing gets skipped over or given short shrift in the name of expediency, which all too often happens.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
bennevis #2812309 02/08/19 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
[quote=Beowulf]I didn't want to make too much of graded exams (I think I've already bored everyone in ABF to death about the ABRSM exams that I did as a student grin), but I do recall someone here (or possibly in the Piano Teachers Forum) who insisted to his teacher that he wanted to do grade exams in order to ensure that nothing gets skipped over or given short shrift in the name of expediency, which all too often happens.

That might have been me. Although I'm more interested in RCM than ABRSM at the moment. I did add taking an exam this year to my list of pianistic goals for 2019.


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"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: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812314 02/08/19 12:19 PM
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Nice! I'm glad it went well. You seem to be in good hands!

Best of success in your future endeavors!


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: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812384 02/08/19 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Beowulf
[...]Mary Had A Little Lamb again[...]



She had another one? I never got the memo! smile

Just to show how one can take a reasonable comment out of context and make it unreasonable.


Cheers!


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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812410 02/08/19 03:16 PM
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Good luck on the piano journey.

I think that to learn piano properly is a slow process. Sonetimes very slow. Learning to read music is a skill and it takes time.. Even after many years it’s still slow. Many pieces are still out of reach after many years at the piano. I found my pieces were only better when I slowed down and spent time on it and learnt more patience.

However we see do many examples of fast beginner adults who claim to play masterpieces and that there approach is better. The results seem a bit rushed so I’m unconvinced that this is better. I learnt in a more traditional form. I did not reach diploma level like Mr Ben but grew up on piano exams. I found they were not for me when I returned as an adult. I would not necessarily advise this exam approach but I think it helps to develop the skill to play a piece in depth.

I think a tortoise approach to the piano generally wins and is better overall than a hare. smile

Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812465 02/08/19 06:26 PM
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Bravo!


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Re: Advice for 1st lesson?
Beowulf #2812591 02/09/19 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Beowulf

I get where you're coming from. However, rest assure I still treat myself as a complete beginner, even if it means starting from playing Mary Had A Little Lamb again. I have made it known to the teacher that my goal is to pursue graded exams, and he's indeed started with the basics such as telling me what's a treble and bass clef.


Well done! I wish you all the best in your learning.

And there's nothing wrong with Mary Had A Little Lamb...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uh-6qCGOucA


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: Advice for 1st lesson?
bennevis #2812609 02/09/19 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

If I may, without putting a damper on your enthusiasm, I'd just say - your technique might be relatively OK in the sense you haven't developed any nasty habits that require going back to basics, but you've already said you can't read music, as you've been learning pieces by copying people on YT..

The danger here is that your teacher, in trying not to bore you, will keep pushing you on and you may never acquire the ability to read music properly (assuming you want to be able to read music). Take a look at the music score of something you've learnt recently by rote, and see how complicated it is. If you took two years to get to the stage of being able to play it, you might actually take two years to get to the stage of being able to read it.

In other words, you have a lot of reading skills to catch up on, and you might want to consider going back to playing much easier stuff that you can learn to read properly first. Otherwise, you'll end up continuing to learn by rote - maybe copying your teacher instead of someone on YT - and never learn to read music.

So, make sure you tell your teacher that you do really want to learn to read music, and let him take charge.

I know a few teachers, of whom only two have adult students. They tell me the same thing - the biggest problem with adults who have self-taught by learning pieces by rote from YT videos (usually for more than a year before they realize they aren't making the progress they expected, and turn to teachers for help) and never learnt to read music is that they......still never learn to read music even with a teacher, because they won't go back to learning to play much easier pieces that they can learn to read from, until their reading skills catch up. In other words, they were mostly just wasting their money, switching from learning by rote from YT to learning by rote from a live teacher.

But if that's the way their students want to keep going, the teachers will keep teaching them by rote. After all, they are adults, and know what they want.......


Good advice - I actually have this problem and the teachers I have had to date have let this go. I am actually backing up now and starting to read at a much lower level than the pieces I play for fun, hoping I will eventually catch up.


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Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
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