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Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: Gary D.] #2819089 02/23/19 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.

I could right at this moment show you a crucial mistake I made in the very famous F Major Two Part Invention. This could have been instantly corrected by a decent piano teacher - remember mine was an idiot - and as a result I still have think carefully not to revert to that wrong fingering as I demonstrate it. Each time I re-teach it, I get it right - again - but when I rest from it, the old fingering comes back. It is a permanent fork in the road, one fork going straight to fingering h e l l.

I can't tell you now long it is until these wrong forks become permanent, and to some extent it probably differs from person to person, but for me it happen very fast.


The differences in brain functions are fascinating... You seem to have a good permanent memory. Mine sucks. Whatever I learn won't be fixed very well. Only the sound of music sticks in my head forever. The notes, movements, key positions and fingerings don't. That means those things are also rather easily changed. To get playing in my permanent memory for good takes so long it never happens on the first times. So every time I return to something to review it a lot can change for the better because I have become better. The downside of it is that my learning of repertoire is short lived frown

I have been playing this Scriabin prelude several years on and off, mostly by myself after initially learning it with my teacher. Took it up again and played it for my teacher recently and she noticed some voicing issues. Changed some fingerings and problem solved. BUT she also noticed that I play one part of the melody differently than written, because I added a note from the inner voice. THAT has been a nightmare to fix, because I need to change what I hear in my head and that is the base of my playing memory. Everything else is based on that, the fingerings, movements and all. So I have had to break down everything to scratch and build it up again. I later realized that my favorite recording of this piece has the same "mistake" and that's why smile

I also have a very weak and inconsistent muscle memory. Even if I have spend time drilling a fingering, if I later find something better, I cannot recall an incident that the old one would haunt me again after a week or so with the new one. Poor muscle memory is also a big handicap with playing the piano as you can imagine. Even scales I "forget" physically and need to relearn them each time.

Speaking of scales etc., again I am amazed: How can one learn them with silly fingerings when the correct ones are available everywhere? The first thing I did was to get a scales book. Because of my dyscalculia it would have been a nightmare to try to go through HT scales fingerings on lessons. I need absolute piece and solitude to handle such things. With my teacher we worked on how to play them physically after I learned the fingerings by myself. Maybe this is also why I always preferred to do the initial fingering on pieces alone: Someone else talking about numbers just gets me too overwhelmed...

Originally Posted by Gary D.

I will tell you that my best adults come up with questions queued up for every lesson, not because they are lazy or stupid, but because they work hard and are intelligent. I don't have them play things over and over for me, because that's what I do with the "toasters". Toasters are looking for a Personal Piano Trainer, and they won't play well if they become immortal and play for two hundred years. With the good ones I am trouble-shooting, often in advance. Look out for this section. That section has tricky fingering. You want to work on rhythm in those sections, because something really tricky is going on. And so on...


I wonder why they are called "toasters"? smile

I don't want to make it sound like I never did (do) stupid things by myself, of course I did. But I do not see that as a bad thing because I learn well from my mistakes. If I did not make the stupid mistake of trying to learn a Chopin etude when self learning, it might have taken me longer to understand that there's something more to playing than just learning the notes and playing them. That was what made me realize I need a teacher. I guess my handicap is also a blessing: I find it impossible to learn anything with internet tutorials. How can anyone follow those hands on keys videos is just beyond me...

Many times I have felt sorry for my teacher because I am so difficult, requiring her to change her teaching methods to fit my special needs. I can also be stubborn and thick headed on lessons and get frustrated easily when I cannot follow. I just need my private time to understand what she actually means. But she invited me back after her leave of absence and agreed to biweekly lessons which she usually does not offer, so I guess it's not too bad for her.

I can easily imagine ending up quitting like many adults after realizing the amount of work needed. Compared to my first teacher my present one has very high demands on quality and never lets me just settle for something less even if I sometimes would myself. I even considered at some point if I would be better off without lessons because they were so stressing at times. However there where also many good moments of enlightment so I stuck with it. Luckily I am able to just forget "bad" lessons, focus on the tasks and get to work...

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Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: bennevis] #2819139 02/23/19 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis

It seems to me that my 'senior' friend (whose piano-learning story I've related here lots of times) is pretty unique: he started learning piano from scratch at 60, having had long experience of attending concerts and reading about classical music
.
His progress through the early stages was slow but sure
.
and now, several years later, he's playing like someone who learnt as a kid (and learnt properly).


This story deserves to be repeated more often. It is an example that adults can succeed, given the correct approach, and we see too many examples of the opposite.


gotta go practice
Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: TimR] #2819161 02/23/19 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by bennevis

It seems to me that my 'senior' friend (whose piano-learning story I've related here lots of times) is pretty unique: he started learning piano from scratch at 60, having had long experience of attending concerts and reading about classical music
.
His progress through the early stages was slow but sure
.
and now, several years later, he's playing like someone who learnt as a kid (and learnt properly).


This story deserves to be repeated more often. It is an example that adults can succeed, given the correct approach, and we see too many examples of the opposite.


I agree. Maybe there is hope for me yet.


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Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: TimR] #2819185 02/23/19 10:45 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by bennevis

It seems to me that my 'senior' friend (whose piano-learning story I've related here lots of times) is pretty unique: he started learning piano from scratch at 60, having had long experience of attending concerts and reading about classical music
.
His progress through the early stages was slow but sure
.
and now, several years later, he's playing like someone who learnt as a kid (and learnt properly).


This story deserves to be repeated more often. It is an example that adults can succeed, given the correct approach, and we see too many examples of the opposite.
It's not just the correct approach on the part of the teacher (a correct approach is necessary, but not sufficient). Success requires two somewhat unlikely things to come together: a student with a good learning attitude and aptitude, and an excellent teacher.


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In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams
Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: Stubbie] #2819393 02/24/19 01:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
Success requires two somewhat unlikely things to come together: a student with a good learning attitude and aptitude, and an excellent teacher.

BINGO.

Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: outo] #2819394 02/24/19 02:03 AM
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Originally Posted by outo


I wonder why they are called "toasters"? smile

You'd have to ask AZN. It's his term. I just used it because it makes me laugh. But if you teach you run into some students who make you want to run and hide from piano students at the end of the day.

About memory: It's just weird, and people are different. I think those of us who play well are a combination of strange talents. It seems logical to assume that two pianists who both play the same piece very well, in a way that is not only technically solid but also convincing, go through the same process. In fact, this is often not true at all.

It might surprise you that my memory of what my hands look like playing is relatively weak, and my memory of scores is non-existent. I remember nothing that is written, and yet I am very good at notation. I have a horrendously bad memory for spelling. I can't remember what color the walls are in our home, and I can't describe where things are either, except for a couple things that I use constantly. But I have very good facial recognition.

Everything about the way my brain works is a mystery. The only strong memory ability I have is sound. I can remember theme songs to TV shows I have not heard since the 50s, and I have perfect recall of brass parts from high school. But I don't remember the fingerings or the notes. They reconstruct themselves from the sound, as I recall the parts. I can then see the notes go down on the piano, and I see the fingerings.

I am more like you than you can possibly realize, and for that reason a lifetime of reading and learning fast has given me the reflexes to get a lot of things close to right the first time. But if I can't nearly nail something the first time, it takes me a very long time to work it out so that I can play it quickly, and like you this tends to go away. If I pick up something I played in college, the sound is all there. Most everything else is gone, so it's almost like I am playing it from scratch.

To get around that problem I have become a lightning fast reader, and my reading reflexes have saved my bacon countless times.

In spite of my poor memory, I can look at scores and hear everything, and very close to the exact correct pitch.

So the way I learn and process is probably as unusual as what you do. Furthermore, there is a huge range of skills and weaknesses in my adult students. In general adults are shyer, more self-conscious and more self-critical. This is why I teach them to record short sections, then show me what is working in lessons. IF they think they have things right, and they are not right, then I can help with all sorts of problems. When they think things are reasonably good, and they are, we can take some giant leaps forward.

Fingering - I THINK when I was a child the things I learned then stayed permanently, which is why I go right back to old fingerings when I play music I learned in my pre-teens and teens. That's what happened in the Bach Invention. I jumped finger 5 for two notes in a row on 16ths, and that is absolutely wrong. There are many other places where there are a number of solutions possible, and I chose one that works, but not the best one. So when teaching students, I DO teach the best one, logically, but continue to use the one in my fingers.

Think of it like your native accent, how you speak your own language. If you worked hard now to master another language, or to improve a 2nd language that you started as a an adult, you might find it easier to reprogram how you say certain words.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/24/19 02:05 AM.
Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: CadenzaVvi] #2826572 03/13/19 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by CadenzaVvi
Some replies in here made me though: It is important to state your goals to your teacher too.
I've heard again and again that some teachers are afraid to give too easy stuff to adult fearing to bore them out. This is a thing that happened with my first teacher, with the exact opposite effect: things were too hard and I got discouraged at time.
Many adults don't want to go through easy stuff. If you are willing to do so, say it. Otherwise, your teacher might think you want the usual "adult-route" and give you that, when they could perfectly follow another route if they know you are open to it. smile

That's unexpected, I saw some of your recordings I thought you were on your way to being a prodigy due to the extreme difficulty you were tackling as a beginner.


"the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." -- Chaucer.
Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: bythecshore] #2826986 03/14/19 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by bythecshore
When I turned 60 I decided to learn to play piano, something I’d always wanted to do. I have a decent digital piano and thought I’d try Skype lessons because I work full time (plus) and thought I’d rather spend my available time practicing rather than travelling to lessons.

Fast forward 2.5 years and I’ve been through 3 teachers and haven’t learned very much. I want to say up front that I'm a very agreeable person and easy to get a long with, so I hope you don't think a difficult person. I can run scales pretty well, know basic chords, but it’s just not working. My interest is in R&B & jazz mostly.

For one thing, they teach me a song, I barely learn to play it, and we move on. As a result, I can’t go back and play them, as I never really learned them in the first place. They all teach by rote, so I don’t really understand things like, why is a song written in a particular key? Are the chord sequences typical for this type of music? Why don’t we ever learn the intro? How can I play this with some type of background drums or other instruments, so I get a feel for playing in a band? I ask these questions and it’s always, we’ll get to that, or we spend 2 minutes on it and move to the next thing. They have a set way of teaching and I feel like I just don’t fit into it. On the other hand I need them to lead me forward; my first teacher kept asking me what I wanted to do and I didn’t really know how to respond except to say I want to learn to play.

I’ve liked each teacher, but after about 4-5 months I find I’m not looking forward to the lessons; in fact, I get nervous that I didn’t learn enough, or won’t play correctly, and I end up wanting the lesson to be over quickly. It kind of reminds me of my school days… I wasn’t a good student so maybe there are some bad feelings from then.

Meanwhile, I’ve stuck with it. I practice 6 days a week for about 45 minutes a day and look forward to it. For the past two months I’ve been teaching myself, working on just one song, which I pretty much have down. I’ve enjoyed it because I’ve been able to really learn each section, not have to practice 2 or 3 other things and worry that I’ll be ready for the lesson. I’ve done the chord inversions myself which has helped me understand how chords work and resemble each other.

Despite liking practicing by myself, I really would like to find a good teacher. I think what I’d like is a person who could teach me in a “project” way, like I’m doing by myself. For example, I’d like to pick a song that I like, talk about when & why it was written (briefly), what the style is, why the arrangement and key was chosen, and then thoroughly learn it. And learn why those particular chords work together, why these notes work with those chords, etc. Then, for the next song, learn something a little similar (e.g., same key or composer) but with new and/or different elements added.

Ultimately, I want to compose some ideas that I have but realize I need to learn to play first.

I know this is long-winded, but if anyone has good ideas, let me know. Again, online is preferred, but maybe that’s the problem. I just don’t know.


I invite you to take on line lessons from me right HERE, on this forum. My advantages:

1. I teach FREE (it is just demonstration of my NEW for you and other teachers way to teach..

2. You get the results IMMEDIATELY in a very first 30-60 minutes.

Details in my numerous posts here and on other sites.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...to-work-on-the-internet.html#Post2822947


Vladimir Dounin
Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: Fidel] #2828871 03/19/19 11:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Fidel
Originally Posted by CadenzaVvi
Some replies in here made me though: It is important to state your goals to your teacher too.
I've heard again and again that some teachers are afraid to give too easy stuff to adult fearing to bore them out. This is a thing that happened with my first teacher, with the exact opposite effect: things were too hard and I got discouraged at time.
Many adults don't want to go through easy stuff. If you are willing to do so, say it. Otherwise, your teacher might think you want the usual "adult-route" and give you that, when they could perfectly follow another route if they know you are open to it. smile

That's unexpected, I saw some of your recordings I thought you were on your way to being a prodigy due to the extreme difficulty you were tackling as a beginner.


I'm not sure if it is sarcasm. I've butchered most of the way-too-difficult pieces I've tackled at the time. I had fun in the process, but not every day was made equal, and working on Le petit nègre from Debussy as my third piece on the piano really got me discouraged and made my teacher backtrack... for a time.

And this year, I'm feeling very on the limit with what I'm working on. Next year will be a year of pause from exam (if I'm able to manage to do them this year) to consolidate things a bit, even though my teacher (not the same as when I started) consider the exam-route to be fine for me. He admitted that level 7 to level 8 was a significant gap and that I shouldn't be discouraged to struggle more. I'll see what I can pull off, and I hope he will have some direction to give me in the next year. Otherwise, I have some ideas of pieces I'd like to work on, but I would prefer to rely on his judgement regarding what would be the best suited to my needs, blind spots and difficulties.


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: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: bythecshore] #2828881 03/20/19 12:33 AM
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I should not have read this thread. I am very discouraged by the negative stereotypes held by some teachers here. Makes me wary of getting a real piano teacher. Are they going to think I’m an idiot? I also get a strong sense of the inflexibility of some teachers. I hope that is not universal. I better get out of here before I totally get turned off piano.

Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2828891 03/20/19 01:35 AM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I should not have read this thread. I am very discouraged by the negative stereotypes held by some teachers here. Makes me wary of getting a real piano teacher. Are they going to think I’m an idiot? I also get a strong sense of the inflexibility of some teachers. I hope that is not universal. I better get out of here before I totally get turned off piano.

Read again and switch your focus. smile
- Look to those posts that are helpful, and give useful advice. Note that advice and make use of it. Ignore the others.
- Also make a note of whether the bottom of the post identifies the writer as a teacher. Some of the biggest negativity seems to come from those who aren't, but can sound quite teacherish in tone.

Best of luck in finding a good teacher!

Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2828893 03/20/19 01:51 AM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I should not have read this thread. I am very discouraged by the negative stereotypes held by some teachers here.

For example???


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Why can’t I find a teacher who is good for me? [Re: WeakLeftHand] #2828949 03/20/19 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I should not have read this thread. I am very discouraged by the negative stereotypes held by some teachers here. Makes me wary of getting a real piano teacher. Are they going to think I’m an idiot? I also get a strong sense of the inflexibility of some teachers. I hope that is not universal. I better get out of here before I totally get turned off piano.


Really? I read this thread and did not get that impression at all.

Caveat: the teachers on this forum do not represent the majority of piano teachers - the majority don't know what they're doing. The adult students on this thread are also quite different from the majority of adult students. Clearly it is possible for a motivated and capable adult student, with a competent teacher, to succeed. And clearly also since those two elements are small percentages of each population, they often don't end up connecting. It's hard, but it's not impossible.


gotta go practice
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