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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2810911 02/05/19 09:29 AM
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The underlying motivation of the child is complicated, especially with the parents interference. Where as, the motivation of many Teacher is clear. There is a disconnect as the child just wants to play (any way will do) and the parents reinforce this. But, the Teacher wants the child to learn reading. The right way to learn.

I remember as a kid it was more important to me to be able to play, and I was started off apparently, the wrong way. The thing is though i always stayed interested and still play as an adult today, several decades later and still learning.

The child needs a teacher that will teach them to play with the strengths and weaknesses they currently have. Perhaps build on the ear playing instead of fighting it. It is an important element too and no need to trash it entirely in favour of what we know. In this day and age isn't it likely to see more of this? Kids learning on their own first, or while taking lessons? I know my Macie does it.

A challenge for Teachers for sure, and up to them individually how to deal with. But, a very normal child with all the same potential as any other.

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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2810990 02/05/19 12:49 PM
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Greener, I appreciate your input. However, I suffered later in life when I went to college and had no strong rhythm skills, and struggled through difficult music, because as a youngster, I had an excellent memory and could mimic my grade school piano teacher. I dropped from the next "good" teacher in high school and regret that to this day. I vowed never to teach my students that way.

IMO, if a student wants to learn from You Tube, they don't need me. I urge parents to seek another teacher who can "work with their child's strong points," but make no mistake, I tell them at the first meeting that I do not teach children how to play by ear.
Don't misunderstand - I do teach some rote pieces, but that is not how I teach piano overall..

I can call out note names, and she can find the appropriate keys on the piano, but when it's time to play her songs, she doesn't know what note to start on, and once she figures it out (or I help her), she can't locate the key! 3 years of lessons, and I asked her to write in the bass clef, 4 measures of middle C and F and she wrote the wrong notes in. How is it possible that a student still doesn't recognize the first note they learned?

After lengthy conversations with the parent, the parent decided to write in all the notes in her pieces. They don't need me.


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811011 02/05/19 01:30 PM
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It is a tough situation and particularly with parental interference. Do what is best for yourself, I'd say. My situation was hardly the same, except for the learning by rote part initially. I'd already been to a year of Proper lessons, but gave it up. Meanwhile though, my Dad was an accredited musician and teacher with regular students, also a professional performing player and provided free lessons with no expectations of me. We both knew (by rote) it wasn't the right way, but now that I think of it, it wasn't totally a wrong way either. After all, I was still getting direct coaching from a pro. Just not the reading part. It came years later. Partly with Dad again, but for many years now, on my own. Who knows what the kids can absorb from the YouTube videos on their own, but could easily be as much harm as help.

"I tell them at the first meeting that I do not teach children how to play by ear."

Fair enough. We can't be all things for all students. Too bad though, when the kids get caught up in it and potentially lose out, is all. But, no fault of yours if that were to happen. I can easily see how it could get very dicey with parents that will not support your methods. Until such time as they do, it seems it may not be a good match for you or the student.

Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811102 02/05/19 06:35 PM
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I believe the parent meant well. She said they stopped using YouTube as soon I learned they were doing that, and asked mom to discontinue using YouTube as an aid. I believe she values my method of teaching, since I left one place of employment and moved to another and she insisted that ti meant alot to her that i was working so hard to teach her daughter the right way.


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811109 02/05/19 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
since I left one place of employment and moved to another

so no more close-circuit cameras?


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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Re: AT a loss with student
Tyrone Slothrop #2811158 02/05/19 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
since I left one place of employment and moved to another

so no more close-circuit cameras?

I had the same question....



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Re: AT a loss with student
Tyrone Slothrop #2811184 02/05/19 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
since I left one place of employment and moved to another

so no more close-circuit cameras?


No! smile


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811192 02/05/19 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
since I left one place of employment and moved to another

so no more close-circuit cameras?

No! smile

thumb thumb


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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: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811197 02/05/19 11:42 PM
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Lots of posts on here indicate that ergonomically, the child is turning out to be a very decent player. But a bit slow on the reading music front. I dunno, I'd patiently stick with it for a while, it sounds like according to your descriptions of the playing, the child actually possesses considerable ability naturally.

I'v encountered a lot of these people in my life. Can play really well, and for some reason after years, can't read music. But usually more styles of music that have patterns and shapes like jazz and blues and stuff. Some even learn portions of classical pieces by ear.

I don't understand why they don't read. Never had the need for it? Unable to do it? Dyslexia? Or just can't be bothered?

I am very grateful for being taught how to read music at about age 8 or 9. So I'd stick at it, but face the fact that it's going to be slow. Maybe split the lesson into letting them play and then writing down really basic music reading exercises in the other half?

Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811273 02/06/19 08:23 AM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
since I left one place of employment and moved to another

so no more close-circuit cameras?


No! smile

Freedom!!



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Re: AT a loss with student
Zaphod #2811317 02/06/19 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Zaphod
Lots of posts on here indicate that ergonomically, the child is turning out to be a very decent player. But a bit slow on the reading music front. I dunno, I'd patiently stick with it for a while, it sounds like according to your descriptions of the playing, the child actually possesses considerable ability naturally.

I'v encountered a lot of these people in my life. Can play really well, and for some reason after years, can't read music. But usually more styles of music that have patterns and shapes like jazz and blues and stuff. Some even learn portions of classical pieces by ear.

I don't understand why they don't read. Never had the need for it? Unable to do it? Dyslexia? Or just can't be bothered?

I am very grateful for being taught how to read music at about age 8 or 9. So I'd stick at it, but face the fact that it's going to be slow. Maybe split the lesson into letting them play and then writing down really basic music reading exercises in the other half?


Yes, that's my plan. However, if that is her ability, why doesn't the parent take my advice and seek out a teacher who teaches how to play by ear? I've had many transfer kids who were taught that way - they come in playing sonatinas, and can't read a simple page in Level 3 of Faber. Arghh.


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811320 02/06/19 10:58 AM
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Freedom from a great deal of tension and constantly fighting for independent contractor rights. thumb


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811369 02/06/19 12:26 PM
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I will mention here that I use a set of drills for lines and spaces that starts in the first lesson, and I use these for every student, either a beginner coming back or someone with any amount of experience, coming back. It takes 5 minutes, no more, in each lesson, and I tell every student: "This is the most important thing I'll ever teach you."

I also say this: "Not being able to read cuts you out of half of what we do in music. Not being able to play by ear cuts you out of the other half. To be the best player you can be, you need both. Without reading you can never explore anything, no matter how interesting, that someone else has not played for you. Without the ear part you can never just listen to something cool, not written down, and figure out how to play it."

I never get resistance from students about reading. Everyone wants to be able to do it. I only run into fear, the idea that reading music is like doing magic in Harry Potter's world, so if you can't do it you are probably a muggle.

Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2811392 02/06/19 12:52 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
After lengthy conversations with the parent, the parent decided to write in all the notes in her pieces.

That sounds like what some "piano teachers" do. Maybe this was how the parents "learned" to play piano in the first place?

You can't save them all.


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2813780 02/11/19 08:37 PM
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At the last lesson, she again played her composition, despite us reviewing over and over the notes she wrote in 2 measures, she played incorrectly again. Ugghhh.

I then spent time on ear training (chords, scales, etc.) she was correct on every question (minor/major chords, whether scale was correct or not). She was 100% accurate when I called out notes and she found them quickly on the piano, and wrote notes I gave her on the board correctly,. When I ask if notes are steps/skips, and do they go up./down, she is 90% right.

At this point, I wonder if her failure to see direction of notes and difficulty in reading notes in the music is either due to lack of practice or some visual issue. Mom said there's no vision problems. I've asked student several times if she was confused by the placement of notes in her music. She said no.

I am working on sight reading, and Level 1 pieces with her, and short simple compositions. I also gave her a short piece to play from memory (without music) she struggled in her lesson with that, so is it safe to assume she isn't one who has the gift of playing by ear?


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2813824 02/11/19 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
I've asked student several times if she was confused by the placement of notes in her music. She said no.

Sometimes students don't even know that they are confused. It's not a reliable indicator.

It does sound to me that the student has some disability. You can't possibly be THIS bad unless you have other issues that require the attention of experts. Have you consulted with special-ed teachers? I have one student who's moving at a snail's pace in piano, but that's because he does have a diagnosed vision problem and his parents are not doing anything to help him out. The poor kid is falling behind at school and his parents are completely oblivious to the EXTENT of his disability.


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2814038 02/12/19 12:36 PM
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AZN, I have not spoken to any special ed teachers. There are none at the store I worked at. Personally, I'm starting to wonder if the student isn't as bright as I thought she was since she stopped using you tube as her teacher. Also, mom admitted that since the student won a top ribbon at a local festival (where the large % of kids get top honors), student feels she doesn't need to practice.


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2814241 02/12/19 07:39 PM
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Very similar thing happened to me as a guitar teacher. Totally surprised. I learned later that the child was on ADD meds all along until —Parents decided to not give her the meds on weekends (Saturday lesson), and that’s when everything went south. May also check if student started additional extracurricular activities. Often amused at parents who enroll students in 3-6 activities and expect progress in music.

Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2814312 02/12/19 09:33 PM
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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
...I then spent time on ear training (chords, scales, etc.) she was correct on every question (minor/major chords, whether scale was correct or not). She was 100% accurate when I called out notes and she found them quickly on the piano, and wrote notes I gave her on the board correctly,. When I ask if notes are steps/skips, and do they go up./down, she is 90% right.


This sounds like a problem to me.
I'd recommend working addressing skips/jumps and up/down in a structured way for a few weeks and see if she gets it.
If you can, it would be helpful to find out from mom if the child is at grade level in reading.


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Re: AT a loss with student
chasingrainbows #2815401 02/14/19 09:20 PM
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Some people just can't process certain kinds of information. I used to tutor in math. One child (age 13 or so) could not learn to do multiple digit multiplication. Basically, he couldn't remember the order in which to go (ie rightmost # on bottom, going right to left on top, etc). You could break it down all you want. Which is your right hand? He knew that. Which direction is right to left? He knew that. If this (point to number) is the right most number, which is the one to the left? He'd get that. Okay, so multiply this right most bottom number to each of the top numbers, going right to left. Just a complete utter guess, and different each time.

Maybe he forgot where he was, so I'd have him hold his finger where he is. Nope, utter disaster.

I absolutely could not find a way to have him be successful at this task. He wasn't being obstinate, he wasn't dumb, but he surely had some processing error that made this impossible for him. And to be clear, the problem was knowing in what direction to go, not all the details of remembering what 8x5 is, or how to carry. He mostly could do that, he just could not get order right, even with holding position with a finger, marking with a pencil. Seemingly easy task compared to the harder stuff he could do, but his brain could not do it.

I'd like everyone to consider what effects this can have for a child. It is common for them to feel shame, feel that they are dumb, that they are disappointing everyone, and so on. I do not have any cognitive processing issues that I know of, but several family members do, and the emotional effects are really life changing (in a negative way). Often kids in this situation will not articulate their feelings and just dutifully soldier on, while feeling worse and worse. My father, a very bright man, considers himself dumb, and lived a limited life as a result. I have NO idea of the dynamics going on at home or at the lesson, but I urge sensitivity.

Perhaps this child will never sight read. I implore that no matter where she ends up (ear playing, giving up piano, mastering reading, etc), that her mental well being is considered far more important than compensating for what gave her teacher grief when she was a child. She is not the teacher, she may need something different. Who hasn't seen a child pushed to do hours of, I dunno, basketball drills when they have zero hand eye coordination, because the parent swore that their child would get the athletic chance they never had. A perfect life for one person can be heck for another.

I'm apparently leaping to conclusions not supported by the facts, and I acknowledge that - all I can say is this stuff happens all the time, and well meaning people that don't understand errors in cognitive processes can cause damage.




Last edited by RogerRL; 02/14/19 09:22 PM.

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