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Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions #2823638
03/07/19 06:51 AM
03/07/19 06:51 AM
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Hi all, I've been putting off posting this thread because I'm slightly scared of some of you and don't want to get flamed!

Background:
Me - Royal College of Music, piano, to end of year one (then decided professional level performance was not going to be for me, couldn't cope with the nerves)
Child - developing a real interest in music, learning guitar, announced he wants to learn to play piano but with me, not with a teacher. He has dabbled with Bohemian Rhapsody already and seems to have got the bug.

So, I have toyed with the idea of teaching and getting a teaching diploma for many years now. What's stopping me is the time investment given that I work full time (when not posting on PW ;-) ). But I'm really very interested and becoming more so, hence commenting on this forum from time to time.

1) Please don't flame me for considering using my son as a guinea pig
2) I'm very interested in teaching methods that don't use the standard Middle C, white key methodology.
3) This is all going to be very flexible, because at the end of the day my son wants to play songs he likes, he's not going to be a classical pianist. But I want to nurture his interest.
4) We can't afford formal piano teaching for him right now, even if he wanted it, and I want to see how he goes with his guitar lessons over time first.

Any pointers please? I have the ABRSM diploma reading list and I'm gradually trying to acquire books on there that aren't about £80 a pop. I've read around a fair bit over the years and ordered a bunch of stuff yesterday. I came across the Robert Pace piano method in the Denes Agay "Teaching Piano" book and ordered the first method book to have a look at because I'm interested in the approach of introducing all key signatures very early on.

This is rambling sorry, I'm being quick on a break, but I'd love to get ideas for reading materials, possible teaching materials, just please no nasty comments about teaching my own child. I am quite an advanced pianist, or I was, and my knowledge is pretty good to get him going. If he really seems to thrive then I would look for a teacher. Thanks in advance.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/07/19 06:51 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2823667
03/07/19 08:09 AM
03/07/19 08:09 AM
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Hi ShyPianist!
How exciting to start teaching your son. Now I am not a piano teacher and cannot give you any pointers towards material.

I don't know your son at all, but he is 12 years old and soon entering puberty. I would consider treating him as much as possible as a young adult who gets pianolessons. I would schedule the pianolessons with him, give him homework, and try to refrain from reminding him to do his homework. If you notice he doesn't do the homework, wait until you have a lesson, and when he cannot play it so well, you ask how come. So it is his responsibility. If you make it your responsibility, the risk is that he will start rebelling against it when he is a bit older.

Good luck, and I hope you have a great time together at the piano!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2823681
03/07/19 08:52 AM
03/07/19 08:52 AM
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In addition to reading pedagogy books, I would suggest studying a few different methods so that you see how the material is presented-- the order, pacing etc. Also, consider the purpose/goal for the lessons: what should your student be able to do next week, next month, 3 months, etc. Then think about all of the individual skills a student needs to achieve those goals. As pianists we have consolidated many skills into automatic processes, and when we don't break things down and create a detailed road map, students end up with problems.
Furthermore, a quick search online will show a zillion websites and blogs created by piano teachers sharing tips and materials.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: pianist_lady] #2823705
03/07/19 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by pianist_lady
Furthermore, a quick search online will show a zillion websites and blogs created by piano teachers sharing tips and materials.


It certainly does pianist_lady, an overwhelming amount of them of highly varying quality, which is why I thought I'd also post this question here. Do you know of any particular ones you might recommend? I wonder if teaching methods vary a great deal in, say, the USA and Canada and here in the UK?

I've been reading some summaries of the various method books and obviously if I decided to study for a qualification I would buy a load of them and study them as you say, but at the moment that feels like overkill and I'd again be interested in pointers towards any specific ones that might be of interest given what I've said so far. I don't have the luxury of having somewhere to go and browse lots of them unfortunately so I need to be targeted to avoid spending a fortune. I am also constantly lamenting the lack of hours in the day when I also need to fit in a full time job, general mother/household duties and my own practising time. I wish I could invent a time bubble around my piano that would let me stop the clock!

Originally Posted by Animisha
I don't know your son at all, but he is 12 years old and soon entering puberty.


Yes, I obviously do and the prospect of teaching him is more than a little terrifying! Great tip to make it formal(ish) with set "lesson" times. I think that would work for both of us.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2823728
03/07/19 11:18 AM
03/07/19 11:18 AM
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Please do realize that teaching your own children is usually infinitely harder then a stranger.

Don't be discouraged if teaching your own child does not go very well. This is not an indicator of future teaching experiences.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Learux] #2823733
03/07/19 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Learux
Please do realize that teaching your own children is usually infinitely harder then a stranger.

Don't be discouraged if teaching your own child does not go very well. This is not an indicator of future teaching experiences.


Thank you, yes I intimated as much above! I’ve mulled over this for a number of years in respect of both my kids, but as neither of them (much to my disappointment) has shown much musical inclination until now it’s never really been something I’ve had to give serious thought to. Strangely (probably not strange at all actually!) they have both shown much more interest since they’ve heard me playing a lot. I even caught my son videoing me practising some thorny left hand work to go show his school music teacher (I don’t think he actually did show him thankfully!).

My daughter is keen on learning some tunes she knows so I’ve shown her bits and pieces, but unlike my son she shows no signs yet of having the application to do anything more structured. She started group lessons with the local community music school but got bored with it very quickly.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/07/19 11:29 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2823743
03/07/19 11:58 AM
03/07/19 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
It certainly does pianist_lady, an overwhelming amount of them of highly varying quality, which is why I thought I'd also post this question here. Do you know of any particular ones you might recommend? I wonder if teaching methods vary a great deal in, say, the USA and Canada and here in the UK?


I just wanted to add that it's very clear that in the twenty or so years since I was last playing music seriously, things in the piano & music world have gone digital just as in every other sector. So I'm genuinely sorry if I'm asking questions that should be answered by knowing where to look on the web. Whereas I am comfortable with that in almost every other field, as far as music goes I was brought up old-school and I'm having to find my away around all the resources out there today!

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/07/19 11:59 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2825031
03/10/19 06:53 PM
03/10/19 06:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
It certainly does pianist_lady, an overwhelming amount of them of highly varying quality, which is why I thought I'd also post this question here. Do you know of any particular ones you might recommend? I wonder if teaching methods vary a great deal in, say, the USA and Canada and here in the UK?


I just wanted to add that it's very clear that in the twenty or so years since I was last playing music seriously, things in the piano & music world have gone digital just as in every other sector. So I'm genuinely sorry if I'm asking questions that should be answered by knowing where to look on the web. Whereas I am comfortable with that in almost every other field, as far as music goes I was brought up old-school and I'm having to find my away around all the resources out there today!

A word about digital: it's getting better, every year. It has not evolved as quickly as some of us wished, and that is largely about things possible not yet implemented. For instance, it is probably 100% technologically feasible to put totally separate sound samples on board for the una corda, but to this moment most affordable keyboards simply knock the volume and treble down a bit when the left pedal is pressed.

(I have not been out to stores to "road test" the latest models, so it is possible this and many things are already here, but I'm willing to bet the price tag will be out of the budget of all the students I work with.)

The advantages are not just because of small homes, lack or privacy and lack of sound proofing. One of my young students is playing on a spinet with a cracked bridge, and the piano was never great when it was new. It can't be tuned up to pitch. Any decent full sized digital would be a huge step up.

The fact is that acoustic pianos are less used every year by average students for a very good reason. You have to be very careful where you buy acoustics, and then there is the constant upkeep. They will never stay in tune unless you are in a home with constant temperature and humidity, and it is inevitable that they will need the attention of a technician. Then there is the problem of finding a good technician. If you have a great acoustic, and you have a big home with a constant temperature, and you've found that great technician, you are in business.

But that simply is not the case for most families, as I relearn on a weekly basis dealing with the horrendous instruments that most of my students have in their homes.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Gary D.] #2825045
03/10/19 07:34 PM
03/10/19 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
It certainly does pianist_lady, an overwhelming amount of them of highly varying quality, which is why I thought I'd also post this question here. Do you know of any particular ones you might recommend? I wonder if teaching methods vary a great deal in, say, the USA and Canada and here in the UK?


I just wanted to add that it's very clear that in the twenty or so years since I was last playing music seriously, things in the piano & music world have gone digital just as in every other sector. So I'm genuinely sorry if I'm asking questions that should be answered by knowing where to look on the web. Whereas I am comfortable with that in almost every other field, as far as music goes I was brought up old-school and I'm having to find my away around all the resources out there today!

A word about digital: it's getting better, every year. It has not evolved as quickly as some of us wished, and that is largely about things possible not yet implemented. For instance, it is probably 100% technologically feasible to put totally separate sound samples on board for the una corda, but to this moment most affordable keyboards simply knock the volume and treble down a bit when the left pedal is pressed.

(I have not been out to stores to "road test" the latest models, so it is possible this and many things are already here, but I'm willing to bet the price tag will be out of the budget of all the students I work with.)

The advantages are not just because of small homes, lack or privacy and lack of sound proofing. One of my young students is playing on a spinet with a cracked bridge, and the piano was never great when it was new. It can't be tuned up to pitch. Any decent full sized digital would be a huge step up.

The fact is that acoustic pianos are less used every year by average students for a very good reason. You have to be very careful where you buy acoustics, and then there is the constant upkeep. They will never stay in tune unless you are in a home with constant temperature and humidity, and it is inevitable that they will need the attention of a technician. Then there is the problem of finding a good technician. If you have a great acoustic, and you have a big home with a constant temperature, and you've found that great technician, you are in business.

But that simply is not the case for most families, as I relearn on a weekly basis dealing with the horrendous instruments that most of my students have in their homes.


Hi Gary, oh sorry that’s my fault! When I mentioned “digital” in this context I was really meaning in terms of the availability of online resources and materials, in response to the earlier implied comment that I could find the answers to my questions in Google. 😊 When I was a young learner and then an undergraduate it was still very much a case of going to the music library, and not being a teacher at present I’m just not up to speed on reliable, high quality online resources, hence asking for a little guidance.

In terms of digital versus acoustic I’ve been into that in great detail recently as I’ve been choosing a DP for myself to complement my upright. And I totally agree that a decent DP is far preferable to a terrible acoustic instrument.

My son and I had our first lesson today and it went pretty well. He was very chuffed to realise that he was reading notes on the stave by the end of the session.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/10/19 07:35 PM.

Pianist, independent music arranger, violinist, mother
Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2825067
03/10/19 08:44 PM
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Well, I just learned something new. I am feeling rather chuffed with myself. grin


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2825119
03/10/19 11:10 PM
03/10/19 11:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
My son and I had our first lesson today and it went pretty well. He was very chuffed to realise that he was reading notes on the stave by the end of the session.

Are you using a method book series with him? If so, which one did you pick?


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2825179
03/11/19 03:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
My son and I had our first lesson today and it went pretty well. He was very chuffed to realise that he was reading notes on the stave by the end of the session.

Are you using a method book series with him? If so, which one did you pick?


I hardly dare say which book we picked since I’ve read some scathing things about it since, but we looked together at the various ones available locally (NOT a comprehensive selection) and selected the first book of the John Thomson Modern Piano Course. Massive caveat here, I have no intention of just following one method book, and I’m well aware of the dangers of too much spoon fed fingering that has been mentioned in respect of this book. The problem I had with many of the other books I saw (bear in mind I had him with me so could not take hours over this!) was the pages are so busy! Colours, pictures, stuff all over the place scattered around the actual music, massive staves and notes, making my head hurt just to look at them. We both much preferred the clean, monochrome, no nonsense layout.

What I do like about this book is a) it isn’t babyish and b) the music is immediately “musical” (really not always the case from what I’ve seen). I’m also going to supplement this with other material as I find it, not least because this book uses the Middle C/set hand position method that I’m not keen on. Having said that, for teaching reading from the grand stave Middle C is rather a nice way of doing that I think. My son liked the realisation of “why” Middle C is called Middle C.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/11/19 03:27 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826592
03/14/19 02:05 AM
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Maybe you could pay for one or two hours on pedagogy with a piano teacher. Does your piano teacher teach pedagogy? You could ask her which book to start your son with.

Middle C is a good approach. After a few months, you can start moving the hand position away from middle C.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2826596
03/14/19 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Middle C is a good approach. After a few months, you can start moving the hand position away from middle C.

He's 12. Do you really need to spend a few months in middle C?


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826605
03/14/19 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
[quote=Candywoman] Middle C is a good approach. After a few months, you can start moving the hand position away from middle C.

He's 12. Do you really need to spend a few months in middle C?


God no! I was thinking more like a week or two. I don’t really rate it as a long term approach for teaching practical skills (not least because it’s so boring!) but it does seem helpful for starting note reading for the reason I mentioned above.



Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/14/19 03:20 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2826607
03/14/19 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Maybe you could pay for one or two hours on pedagogy with a piano teacher. Does your piano teacher teach pedagogy? You could ask her which book to start your son with.

Middle C is a good approach. After a few months, you can start moving the hand position away from middle C.


I don’t have a teacher Candywoman. I am using my own knowledge to get my playing back to something like the level it was. If I then decide to take it further and go for diplomas I will have to rethink, but right now I’m quite happy working alone.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826609
03/14/19 03:44 AM
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Oh by the way, I meant to say I’ve found a UK based Facebook group which I’ve joined and from there found pointers to a few UK-based blogs, including someone who seems to do teachers diploma mentoring. So that’s something I might explore in time. I’m trying to get away from Facebook rather than getting drawn further in, but it seems to be where things are at.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826610
03/14/19 03:45 AM
03/14/19 03:45 AM
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I have a 12-year-old beginner, and I assumed she didn't like the kiddie books, so I put her in the most adult-like book possible. Then she commented that she actually liked the kiddie books her younger siblings are using. And she wanted the colorful stickers that I give out.

In any event, here's another plug for Alfred's Premier Piano Express. The book moves at a decently swift pace, and there are no kiddie pictures or clutter on the page. And very few finger numbers. But you do have to understand the landmark notes + intervallic reading approach. This approach assumes that letter names will eventually be caught up as if learning through osmosis.

Using this method, my students are reading by intervals quite fluently, but since I'm not comfortable letting any skills lag behind by too much, I make them read out the letter names after playing the piece by intervals. I also introduce transposition quite early on as a supplement to the plain C Position. That way, kids are NOT associating notes with certain fingers. It's the NUMBER ONE problem Transfer Wrecks bring with them to my studio--kids stuck in Middle C Position and/or C Position.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: AZNpiano] #2826611
03/14/19 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I have a 12-year-old beginner, and I assumed she didn't like the kiddie books, so I put her in the most adult-like book possible. Then she commented that she actually liked the kiddie books her younger siblings are using. And she wanted the colorful stickers that I give out.

In any event, here's another plug for Alfred's Premier Piano Express. The book moves at a decently swift pace, and there are no kiddie pictures or clutter on the page. And very few finger numbers. But you do have to understand the landmark notes + intervallic reading approach. This approach assumes that letter names will eventually be caught up as if learning through osmosis.

Using this method, my students are reading by intervals quite fluently, but since I'm not comfortable letting any skills lag behind by too much, I make them read out the letter names after playing the piece by intervals. I also introduce transposition quite early on as a supplement to the plain C Position. That way, kids are NOT associating notes with certain fingers. It's the NUMBER ONE problem Transfer Wrecks bring with them to my studio--kids stuck in Middle C Position and/or C Position.


I’ve just had a look at the online sample of that book AZNPiano, and yes I like the look of it. I think I’ll order a copy, thanks for the suggestion. It wasn’t one of the ones I was able to look at locally. My son is certainly NOT a pictures and colourful stickers kind of guy 😉. He often surprises me, like announcing he wanted me to teach him, but not on this occasion!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826615
03/14/19 04:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
My son liked the realisation of “why” Middle C is called Middle C.

Indulge me: why is Middle C called Middle C? In other words, why does this make sense to you? Because of the mirror thing?

I was taught the same thing, and I do understand the concept, but did you know that in the time of Bach that in the top staff, the one we call treble today, 1st line was that C, the one we call E today? In other words, in Bach's keyboard music when you see the top line and think it is F, it's D. Everything is a line higher than what we read today.

If you use Thompson, white out most of the numbers or your son will read the finger numbers and it will kill reading.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Gary D.] #2826619
03/14/19 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
My son liked the realisation of “why” Middle C is called Middle C.

Indulge me: why is Middle C called Middle C? In other words, why does this make sense to you? Because of the mirror thing?

I was taught the same thing, and I do understand the concept, but did you know that in the time of Bach that in the top staff, the one we call treble today, 1st line was that C, the one we call E today? In other words, in Bach's keyboard music when you see the top line and think it is F, it's D. Everything is a line higher than what we read today.

If you use Thompson, white out most of the numbers or your son will read the finger numbers and it will kill reading.


Thanks Gary, yes I was looking at the book again yesterday and realised that every single note, pretty much throughout the book, does indeed have a fingering on it. I hadn't spotted that originally until I read what others had said about it, but yes I will do as you suggest because I totally agree that is not how I want him to learn. But as I said I intend to use a mix of material, I won't be relying on just one book.

Yes it makes sense to me because when you look at the grand staff "Middle C" is on the leger line that effectively joins the two together. So yeah I think the mirror thing is quite helpful for pulling the treble and bass clefs together rather than teaching them separately. It seemed to help when I showed him anyway, it was nice seeing the light go on, and it made him immediately less afraid of seeing the two clefs. I think I won't go into historic notation with my son just now although it's definitely fascinating for context. :-)

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/14/19 05:22 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: AZNpiano] #2826623
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I also introduce transposition quite early on as a supplement to the plain C Position. That way, kids are NOT associating notes with certain fingers. It's the NUMBER ONE problem Transfer Wrecks bring with them to my studio--kids stuck in Middle C Position and/or C Position.


I also meant to say when replying to you AZNPiano that I was also planning to try that. It was one of the things in the description of the Robert Pace method I mentioned which appealed to me when I ordered that book (I do wish you could "look inside" more of these books without having to buy them first). The book has now arrived and there are aspects of it I really don't like, but I think there are some ideas in there I will use when I've had chance to study it a bit more.

This is all assuming that my son maintains his interest for long enough to allow me to do these things! I would be distinctly uncomfortable about taking on any paid pupil without a lot of experience behind me. How to get that experience without doing so is another matter (and another thread!).


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826633
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
[quote=Candywoman] Middle C is a good approach. After a few months, you can start moving the hand position away from middle C.

He's 12. Do you really need to spend a few months in middle C?


God no! I was thinking more like a week or two. I don’t really rate it as a long term approach for teaching practical skills (not least because it’s so boring!) but it does seem helpful for starting note reading for the reason I mentioned above.



Starting with middle C is a good approach, and notes can be learnt spreading out from it, like tentacles wink . And while using that as the anchor point in the first week or so, teach counting beats. Count everything while keeping the notes simple. (It's amazing how so many supposedly 'advanced' adults playing advanced pieces can't play any piece in time unless they've heard it on YT first.......).

I recently had a look at the kiddie beginner book that I - and all my peers in my home country - was brought up on (I believe it was the only beginner's primer available there at the time), to see whether it still holds up. It does, and if I was a teacher, I'd use that book with all my beginner students - child or adult. Why? - because it teaches one concept at a time while keeping the previously learnt stuff going, therefore doesn't overburden a beginner's mind. No-one is allowed to jump before he/she can stand. Looking through some of the adult beginner's primers which are popular in PW leaves me in no doubt as to why so many adult learners flounder.....

That is why no-one I knew as a student ever had problems with note-reading or rhythm (and everyone knew how to count beats, because they had to count beats from day 1) - and it probably helped teachers focus their minds because all students were expected to do ABRSM exams, therefore sight-reading and aural skills were expected and introduced from day 1. My teacher got me to sight-read each and every new piece before she said anything (no 'hints', no nothing) - unlike the way one or two teachers teach here. (OK, the first few 'pieces' were no more than three different notes centred around middle C, but I had to count beats and keep time while playing too). Nothing escaped her scrutiny, and nothing goes uncorrected before moving on. There was no way I could have relied on finger numbers to 'read' the notes because they were sparse and only at the beginning. Fingers were fingers and notes were notes, and my teacher made sure I knew that every lesson.

Oh, BTW, that book has lots of funny pictures, now in glorious Technicolor (they were black & white in my time) smirk .


"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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2826641
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Originally Posted by bennevis

Starting with middle C is a good approach, and notes can be learnt spreading out from it, like tentacles wink . And while using that as the anchor point in the first week or so, teach counting beats. Count everything while keeping the notes simple. (It's amazing how so many supposedly 'advanced' adults playing advanced pieces can't play any piece in time unless they've heard it on YT first.......).

I recently had a look at the kiddie beginner book that I - and all my peers in my home country - was brought up on (I believe it was the only beginner's primer available there at the time), to see whether it still holds up. It does, and if I was a teacher, I'd use that book with all my beginner students - child or adult. Why? - because it teaches one concept at a time while keeping the previously learnt stuff going, therefore doesn't overburden a beginner's mind. No-one is allowed to jump before he/she can stand. Looking through some of the adult beginner's primers which are popular in PW leaves me in no doubt as to why so many adult learners flounder.....

That is why no-one I knew as a student ever had problems with note-reading or rhythm (and everyone knew how to count beats, because they had to count beats from day 1) - and it probably helped teachers focus their minds because all students were expected to do ABRSM exams, therefore sight-reading and aural skills were expected and introduced from day 1. My teacher got me to sight-read each and every new piece before she said anything (no 'hints', no nothing) - unlike the way one or two teachers teach here. (OK, the first few 'pieces' were no more than three different notes centred around middle C, but I had to count beats and keep time while playing too). Nothing escaped her scrutiny, and nothing goes uncorrected before moving on. There was no way I could have relied on finger numbers to 'read' the notes because they were sparse and only at the beginning. Fingers were fingers and notes were notes, and my teacher made sure I knew that every lesson.

Oh, BTW, that book has lots of funny pictures, now in glorious Technicolor (they were black & white in my time) smirk .


Oh now you'll get me started in reminiscing (not a good idea, really!). I don't recall my teacher using a method book at all. We did a lot of work away from the piano, and LOTS of counting (ta, te, ti). The very first piece I remember learning was "Buy A Broom" from this Eleanor Franklin Pike book, and I also remember playing & singing something from the same book about Lady Caroline washing her hair in turpentine, but we definitely didn't go through the whole thing. I did a lot of Mikrokosmos too I think.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/14/19 06:49 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826697
03/14/19 10:16 AM
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Just a little comment here as someone who was, with the benefit of hindsight, badly taught as a youngster way back in the fifties, may I make a little comment here and a plea to all other teachers reading this - please try to INSPIRE your pupil. Find out what music really appeals to him or her.. Play it too him, point him towards the recordings. There is so much out there now.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: AZNpiano] #2826708
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Candywoman
Middle C is a good approach. After a few months, you can start moving the hand position away from middle C.

He's 12. Do you really need to spend a few months in middle C?


It all depends on what your teaching strategy is. For many of you, reading is the number one priority. For me, there are other things I'm emphasizing in the beginning in addition to the reading. Take for example, diminuendos. Many teachers would hold off on ending phrases nicely or even lifting the hand at the end of a phrase. Also, they might hold off on selecting a note that is the high point of the phrase. They aren't thinking about shaping the notes at all. But I emphasize things sounding good from the first lesson.

What's wrong with a student thoroughly understanding middle C position? Just seeing if you're going up or down on the staff takes a bit of time. Just knowing that your ring finger is number 4 takes some getting used to. Often students mix up 1 and 5 because they have played some pieces that required the left hand, and the numbers are reversed.

The OP is looking for a teaching strategy, which will be difficult for her to discover on her own. Teachers don't just impart how to read music. They also pass on an aesthetic.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2826713
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Candywoman
Middle C is a good approach. After a few months, you can start moving the hand position away from middle C.

He's 12. Do you really need to spend a few months in middle C?


It all depends on what your teaching strategy is. For many of you, reading is the number one priority. For me, there are other things I'm emphasizing in the beginning in addition to the reading. Take for example, diminuendos. Many teachers would hold off on ending phrases nicely or even lifting the hand at the end of a phrase. Also, they might hold off on selecting a note that is the high point of the phrase. They aren't thinking about shaping the notes at all. But I emphasize things sounding good from the first lesson.

What's wrong with a student thoroughly understanding middle C position? Just seeing if you're going up or down on the staff takes a bit of time. Just knowing that your ring finger is number 4 takes some getting used to. Often students mix up 1 and 5 because they have played some pieces that required the left hand, and the numbers are reversed.

The OP is looking for a teaching strategy, which will be difficult for her to discover on her own. Teachers don't just impart how to read music. They also pass on an aesthetic.


Yes, I'm interested in hearing about all approaches. Regarding the bolded bit above though, how did you teachers on here develop your own strategies? No one simply wakes up one day as an experienced piano teacher. I should imagine it was a combination of your own existing experience & knowledge, reading, experimenting and perhaps some mentoring if you have a suitable person available to you? This seems to be the expectation of the ABRSM too in their diploma syllabus. Or am I missing something?

In respect of your comments above Candywoman, yes I completely agree that musicality is important from the very beginning. However I would plan to develop that while at the same time using keys other C major because it must surely become mind-numbingly boring for you and your students otherwise? And I think you probably can expect a 12 year old to be able to take in more in one session than a five or six year old?

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/14/19 11:12 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826842
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I have never in my life felt that C major is boring or that a minor is boring. Students do not get bored that easily if you have a defined strategy. It's like getting on a bus with a person who knows where they're going.

It's possible that a 12 year old could go faster than a six year old, but not guaranteed. There are a lot of details to cover, so it has more to do with the length of lesson, and whether or not they practice enough.

My teacher taught for 52 years. She spent one hour every week for two years helping me to learn pedagogy. I do what she said. Why mess with success? I've since then added some pop music to her methods but have largely continued her legacy. The proof is in the pudding. My students often stay for many years. It has to do with building the proper foundation in a logical, incremental way.

It's all well and good to spend quality time practicing with your son. But I think the best years to learn piano are from age 7 to 12. Your son is already 12, so why not use his best years to get the best results? Besides, you'd have a lot of fun yourself engaging with the new piano teacher. If I had no money, I would offer to do the piano teacher's housework during the one hour lesson. Right now, one mom is teaching me Spanish to allow her son longer lessons. He's seven and is really taking off. So he needs one hour lessons to do well. They don't have the money. Or maybe, your husband can mow her lawn. Or maybe you can cook fabulous gourmet food for the piano teacher.

Find the best teacher you possibly can by word of mouth.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2826844
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
I have never in my life felt that C major is boring or that a minor is boring. Students do not get bored that easily if you have a defined strategy. It's like getting on a bus with a person who knows where they're going.

It's possible that a 12 year old could go faster than a six year old, but not guaranteed. There are a lot of details to cover, so it has more to do with the length of lesson, and whether or not they practice enough.

My teacher taught for 52 years. She spent one hour every week for two years helping me to learn pedagogy. I do what she said. Why mess with success? I've since then added some pop music to her methods but have largely continued her legacy. The proof is in the pudding. My students often stay for many years. It has to do with building the proper foundation in a logical, incremental way.

It's all well and good to spend quality time practicing with your son. But I think the best years to learn piano are from age 7 to 12. Your son is already 12, so why not use his best years to get the best results? Besides, you'd have a lot of fun yourself engaging with the new piano teacher. If I had no money, I would offer to do the piano teacher's housework during the one hour lesson. Right now, one mom is teaching me Spanish to allow her son longer lessons. He's seven and is really taking off. So he needs one hour lessons to do well. They don't have the money. Or maybe, your husband can mow her lawn. Or maybe you can cook fabulous gourmet food for the piano teacher.

Find the best teacher you possibly can by word of mouth.


Candywoman, have you any idea how insulting that post sounds? Maybe read what I said about my own background and then read your post back. After having serious classical training for nigh on 15 years with some excellent teachers and reaching conservatory level (as I think most people here call it) are you seriously suggesting I would be incapable of teaching, full stop? Thanks a bunch.

Furthermore, he has asked me to teach him because it is hearing me play that has inspired him to want to learn. I am more than happy to give it a go with him.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/14/19 05:25 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2826848
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There are a few things wrong with your post, but I'd like to focus on this one line:

Originally Posted by Candywoman
I have never in my life felt that C major is boring or that a minor is boring. Students do not get bored that easily if you have a defined strategy. It's like getting on a bus with a person who knows where they're going.

It's not that a certain key is boring, but the danger of prolonged stay in ANY key (read: hand position) is that students start to associate finger numbers with letter names.

One of the most common problems I get from Transfer Wrecks is that, whenever there is a Bass C in the left hand, they just HAVE to shift their hand and use 5 to play the C. It's ingrained in their brain that C = 5. This includes kids who are already playing sonatinas. By that point, it's hopeless.

I've spent years deprogramming kids who learned incorrectly, and this is one problem that--if I don't get the student early enough--will not be resolved. I blame the methods that overrely on hand positions.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Colin Miles] #2826850
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Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Just a little comment here as someone who was, with the benefit of hindsight, badly taught as a youngster way back in the fifties, may I make a little comment here and a plea to all other teachers reading this - please try to INSPIRE your pupil. Find out what music really appeals to him or her.. Play it too him, point him towards the recordings. There is so much out there now.


Excellent point Colin and so very important. I used to hear my teacher practising (usually Chopin or Liszt) before my lessons (sometimes my lessons were very late as a result!). He told me stories about his concert days, talked about how I was a “5th generation pupil of Liszt”, and generally gave me the kind of musical foundation that no amount of money can buy. He passed away a few years ago sadly, but I owe that man a massive debt of gratitude. If I can pass just a small amount of that onto my children in any way possible I will be very happy.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826870
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Just a little comment here as someone who was, with the benefit of hindsight, badly taught as a youngster way back in the fifties, may I make a little comment here and a plea to all other teachers reading this - please try to INSPIRE your pupil. Find out what music really appeals to him or her.. Play it too him, point him towards the recordings. There is so much out there now.


Excellent point Colin and so very important. I used to hear my teacher practising (usually Chopin or Liszt) before my lessons (sometimes my lessons were very late as a result!). He told me stories about his concert days, talked about how I was a “5th generation pupil of Liszt”, and generally gave me the kind of musical foundation that no amount of money can buy.

Even in this day and age, I'm continually surprised that so many piano students have never heard the piano played very well, live, in front of them (preferably on the same piano they're learning or practising on), and never know what the experience is like - the physicality, the emotional impact and the sheer skill and control that goes towards producing beautiful and exciting sounds. Do their teachers just assume that their students will be taken by their parents to hear the great and good in concert halls? Or do they assume that experiencing live music-making is no different to listening to YT.....and after all, you can hear everyone from Clayderman to Liberace wink , maybe even Horowitz and Richter on good ol' YT, can't you? But how would a young and undeveloped musical mind know what great music-making is all about, and the difference between Gilels's Waldstein and that of a shallow hack's uncomprehending note-spinning?

I've written before - more than few hundred times - about how my first teacher inspired me, simply by playing - performing - a classical piece for me after every lesson. If she hadn't, I'd never have known anything about the great world of the classics out there, and just dutifully practised and played Minuet in G (by anon, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Paderewski.....) ploddingly with no joy or comprehension of what the music should convey.

Yet, I believe many teachers never ever play any great classical piece of music for their students, except the very pieces they shouldn't be playing - the ones their students are actually learning, before they have actually learnt them.....


"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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2826875
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by Colin Miles
Just a little comment here as someone who was, with the benefit of hindsight, badly taught as a youngster way back in the fifties, may I make a little comment here and a plea to all other teachers reading this - please try to INSPIRE your pupil. Find out what music really appeals to him or her.. Play it too him, point him towards the recordings. There is so much out there now.


Excellent point Colin and so very important. I used to hear my teacher practising (usually Chopin or Liszt) before my lessons (sometimes my lessons were very late as a result!). He told me stories about his concert days, talked about how I was a “5th generation pupil of Liszt”, and generally gave me the kind of musical foundation that no amount of money can buy.

Even in this day and age, I'm continually surprised that so many piano students have never heard the piano played very well, live, in front of them (preferably on the same piano they're learning or practising on), and never know what the experience is like - the physicality, the emotional impact and the sheer skill and control that goes towards producing beautiful and exciting sounds. Do their teachers just assume that their students will be taken by their parents to hear the great and good in concert halls? Or do they assume that experiencing live music-making is no different to listening to YT.....and after all, you can hear everyone from Clayderman to Liberace wink , maybe even Horowitz and Richter on good ol' YT, can't you? But how would a young and undeveloped musical mind know what great music-making is all about, and the difference between Gilels's Waldstein and that of a shallow hack's uncomprehending note-spinning?

I've written before - more than few hundred times - about how my first teacher inspired me, simply by playing - performing - a classical piece for me after every lesson. If she hadn't, I'd never have known anything about the great world of the classics out there, and just dutifully practised and played Minuet in G (by anon, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Paderewski.....) ploddingly with no joy or comprehension of what the music should convey.

Yet, I believe many teachers never ever play any great classical piece of music for their students, except the very pieces they shouldn't be playing - the ones their students are actually learning, before they have actually learnt them.....


You know if anything I feel more inspired than ever after this thread, despite the odd depressing comment. If there’s one thing I’m certain of when it comes to my son (and these days there’s not much, it must be said!) it’s that a dry, rigid approach is simply not going to work for him. What I am aiming for with him is to foster a lifelong love and understanding of music. He’s getting one angle from his guitar teacher and he can get another angle from me.

But more than that, I’ve seen enough of the results of bad teaching over the years to know how important it is to do things right. If I didn’t believe I had something to bring to this then I wouldn't even contemplate doing it. And I do think I have, to the point I’m thinking more than ever about working for that diploma because this thread is bringing a real underlying passion to the surface. So yes, he will be a guinea pig, but every single teacher on here had their first pupil once. In fact my late mother was my own piano teacher’s first pupil.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2826893
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
every single teacher on here had their first pupil once. In fact my late mother was my own piano teacher’s first pupil.

Join the club. grin

My first teacher - the one who weaned me off Love Story and on to the great classical masters - was 19, and I was her first student. She'd just acquired her teaching diploma from ABRSM, and my mother hired her because she came cheap.....

She knew exactly what she needed to do with me, a noob with no musical aptitude in a home with no music and whose only exposure to music was a few pop songs (from relatives' radio-cassette players) and movies (hence 'Love Story') - and she did it. thumb


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: AZNpiano] #2827158
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ShyPianist, I'm also a fan of John Thompson Modern. I think you made a good choice.

However, do please heed what AZNpiano said in his previous post. I find this to be the biggest drawback of the Thompson. What I do is associate the position with the chord, to get students thinking in terms of triads rather than hand position. I don't know how that approach holds up against modern pedagogical research (I acknowledge that I'm a pedagogical stick-in-the-mud, but like Candywoman, I stick with what works for my students and me).

Originally Posted by AZNpiano

It's not that a certain key is boring, but the danger of prolonged stay in ANY key (read: hand position) is that students start to associate finger numbers with letter names.

One of the most common problems I get from Transfer Wrecks is that, whenever there is a Bass C in the left hand, they just HAVE to shift their hand and use 5 to play the C. It's ingrained in their brain that C = 5. This includes kids who are already playing sonatinas. By that point, it's hopeless.

I've spent years deprogramming kids who learned incorrectly, and this is one problem that--if I don't get the student early enough--will not be resolved. I blame the methods that overrely on hand positions.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827261
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist

If there’s one thing I’m certain of when it comes to my son (and these days there’s not much, it must be said!) it’s that a dry, rigid approach is simply not going to work for him.

I can't figure out how your son will listen to you as a teacher, because I've had zero success with my own family, but maybe you two will be the exception that proves the rule, so to speak.

Dry/rigid is a recipe for failure with all students who are not 100% passive about accepting orders, and this is simply NOT typical of any of my students, of any age. And yes, you have to take the long view. Tremendous success for the best part of a year and then quitting means that a few years later next to nothing learned will stay.

Just make sure you have a secure back-up system for Thompson.

I do nothing with fingering for beginners. I tell them, "I don't care if you use your nose and toes!" That always gets a laugh, but I am 100% serious. I do start off with triads ASAP, very carefully with fingering, but that is by rote. Then the B scale, always, again careful of fingering only for this. I also ask for the correct fingering for all LH chords, but not for the RH. I let students choose any fingering, then when I'm 100% certain that they are reading, I refine that. The refining does not take long.

I'm pretty much a fanatic about smart fingering, but you have to do first things first. The principle is that no human being can track lines and spaces, letter names, fingering and counting at the same time. You have to layer things these things. You get one in place, then you add the next layer. The illusion is that advanced players are thinking about all these things at the same time, but we aren't. Most of them are already working as sub-routines, in the background, and we concentrate at most on maybe two things, like nailing down the fingering, meaning just push they right keys, then usually the basic rhythm. Each moment things fall into place, we move to the next layer. It happens lightning fast so it appears to all happen at the same time.

But it doesn't.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827292
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I really appreciate all this great advice, thanks so much. I am reading and considering absolutely everything.

This:

Quote
I can't figure out how your son will listen to you as a teacher, because I've had zero success with my own family, but maybe you two will be the exception that proves the rule, so to speak.


First of all, I have absolutely no idea either how this will pan out. If you’d asked me a couple of years ago if this would be a possibility I’d have said no way. But if there’s one thing about my son that I’m coming to know, it’s his capacity to suddenly throw a curve ball that catches me completely off guard. I’ve no idea if this will turn out to be me teaching him piano, per se, or more general musicality, or whether we’ll just end up bonding over a shared interest. If that’s all that comes of it for him that’s just fine by me. We’ve had a tough few years with him for various reasons and you have no idea how thrilled I am that he seems to be developing a genuine interest and aptitude for music.

As for whether I might be doing him a disservice by not looking for a proper teacher right away, at the moment I don’t think so. Firstly he has shown no interest so far in learning piano with someone else. Furthermore he already has a fantastic guitar teacher who he really looks up to and I think guitar will be his main instrument as he has very clear potential there.

But more to the point as far as this forum is concerned, his interest is spurring me on to go further into something I’ve been thinking about for many years, so for now I’m going with it with a wide open mind.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/15/19 06:55 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827305
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
But more to the point as far as this forum is concerned, his interest is spurring me on to go further into something I’ve been thinking about for many years, so for now I’m going with it with a wide open mind.

Reading this thread, it occurs to me you are really considering getting a pedagogy certificate. But if so, I hope it isn't only to teach your son. smile


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2827308
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
But more to the point as far as this forum is concerned, his interest is spurring me on to go further into something I’ve been thinking about for many years, so for now I’m going with it with a wide open mind.

Reading this thread, it occurs to me you are really considering getting a pedagogy certificate. But if so, I hope it isn't only to teach your son. smile


Haha, no, I’m afraid my son will have an unqualified teacher in training (unless it becomes clear he needs better than me, obviously) otherwise he could be waiting a very very long time while I pluck up the courage to go back into exam world.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827346
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
how did you teachers on here develop your own strategies?

For me - seeking training in pedagogy, observing other teachers, accumulating experience teaching, seeing what challenges older and more advanced students end up with and adjusting earlier level teaching, dialogue with colleagues and mentors, reading people's ideas on internet forums...

Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I’ve no idea if this will turn out to be me teaching him piano, per se, or more general musicality, or whether we’ll just end up bonding over a shared interest. If that’s all that comes of it for him that’s just fine by me.

I applaud this mindset.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827495
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist

First of all, I have absolutely no idea... how this will pan out.


Doesn't this apply to pretty much every aspect of parenting?




Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I’m going with it with a wide open mind.


Good plan!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: malkin] #2827571
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by ShyPianist

First of all, I have absolutely no idea... how this will pan out.


Doesn't this apply to pretty much every aspect of parenting?


Oh yes!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827692
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There was absolutely nothing offensive about my post. You have a wide open mind. Great. Then open it to the idea that you either need training in pedagogy, or you need to get the lad the best possible piano teacher.

Knowing how to play the piano well is a first step. The second step is learning how to teach it well.

Once my piano tuner got a phone call from somebody who wanted to learn to tune pianos in one weekend. The tuner suggested he stay a second weekend in our city so that he could also learn brain surgery.

You want to learn how to teach piano. I get that. But it takes regular effort in a directed way. Bouncing a few ideas off us piano forum members is not going to equal training in pedagogy.

I have every confidence you will do what feels right to you.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2827751
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
There was absolutely nothing offensive about my post. You have a wide open mind. Great. Then open it to the idea that you either need training in pedagogy, or you need to get the lad the best possible piano teacher.

Knowing how to play the piano well is a first step. The second step is learning how to teach it well.

Once my piano tuner got a phone call from somebody who wanted to learn to tune pianos in one weekend. The tuner suggested he stay a second weekend in our city so that he could also learn brain surgery.

You want to learn how to teach piano. I get that. But it takes regular effort in a directed way. Bouncing a few ideas off us piano forum members is not going to equal training in pedagogy.

I have every confidence you will do what feels right to you.


With respect Candywoman, I know my son, and if I suggest he goes to a piano teacher right now he will give up on the idea of learning. 😊 In respect of the wider issue, “training in pedagogy” seems to be a US concept. Maybe it’s being imported to the U.K. now, I don’t know and I’m investigating. But none of my music teachers had “training in pedagogy”, they did a lot of reading, got experience, passed a diploma exam(s) and taught. I’m sure things are changing, whether that’s a good thing I don’t know, I presume so. As for assuming I think “bouncing a few ideas off you” is sufficient, I can only suggest you go and read my posts - again.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827793
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by Candywoman
There was absolutely nothing offensive about my post. You have a wide open mind. Great. Then open it to the idea that you either need training in pedagogy, or you need to get the lad the best possible piano teacher.

Knowing how to play the piano well is a first step. The second step is learning how to teach it well.

Once my piano tuner got a phone call from somebody who wanted to learn to tune pianos in one weekend. The tuner suggested he stay a second weekend in our city so that he could also learn brain surgery.

You want to learn how to teach piano. I get that. But it takes regular effort in a directed way. Bouncing a few ideas off us piano forum members is not going to equal training in pedagogy.

I have every confidence you will do what feels right to you.


With respect Candywoman, I know my son, and if I suggest he goes to a piano teacher right now he will give up on the idea of learning. 😊 In respect of the wider issue, “training in pedagogy” seems to be a US concept. Maybe it’s being imported to the U.K. now, I don’t know and I’m investigating. But none of my music teachers had “training in pedagogy”, they did a lot of reading, got experience, passed a diploma exam(s) and taught. I’m sure things are changing, whether that’s a good thing I don’t know, I presume so. As for assuming I think “bouncing a few ideas off you” is sufficient, I can only suggest you go and read my posts - again.


ShyPianist, I agree with you. With your education and learning piano background, you are more qualified to teach than many of the "local" piano teachers I have encountered. I am amazed at how many piano teachers there are that do not know what they are doing. I have seen this in over 25 states in the U.S. I also agree that as a Mother, you should know what is best for your child.

I agree with Gary D. that it is normally difficult for a parent to teach their own children...but it all depends on the parent and the child. Give it a go. You can always reassess later on.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2827795
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
There was absolutely nothing offensive about my post. ...


I think you mean to say that you did not intend any offense. Clearly at least one reader found it offensive.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827797
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This kid was taught by his mother for the first few years:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hp_fyQvjI24
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRs_3XKWdDw


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: malkin] #2827860
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Candywoman
There was absolutely nothing offensive about my post. ...


I think you mean to say that you did not intend any offense. Clearly at least one reader found it offensive.


To be fair I think I may have caused offence myself by referring to endless pieces in middle C position being boring. I’d like to expand on that though because as others rightly pointed out it isn’t so much being boring (plenty of great music has been written in C major/A minor). My main concern, I believe, is the delay in introducing the black notes (by extension, being restricted to playing only on the white notes for a long time could be perceived as boring).

One thing I am very keen to avoid is any sense of the black notes being “difficult”, or of sharps and flats in a key signature being “difficult”. I think that reason most of all is why I wouldn’t stay in one key/position for all that time. Similarly I don’t agree with approaches that spend too long in just the treble clef/right hand, because when the other hand/clef is introduced that too seems “difficult”.

Of course this is all theoretical, I totally understand that, however it does seem to be a rather insurmountable chicken and egg situation if one is not able to try out one’s ideas in practice without it being frowned on by some because you are currently lacking a paper qualification. There does seem now to be a certificate in piano teaching (the course comprises lectures and workshops) that’s a recognised qualification, perhaps a stepping stone to a diploma. But as for simply finding a local piano teacher and asking them to teach me to teach, as I said I’ve seen enough of the results of bad teaching over the years to be very wary of that (or asking them to teach my son for that matter) unless I know I am dealing with a terrific teacher. I do not know the music scene in this area so it would take some time to build up contacts to have any confidence, and I suspect unless I’m teaching myself already those contacts could be hard to come by.

I get the impression this can be rather a closed club. For example I tried to join that large Facebook group that’s been recommended before on this forum, “Art of Piano Pedagogy” or something? I answered their questions honestly, ie I don’t have students currently but want to learn from existing teachers. Application ignored. Thankfully the equivalent UK group is more open minded.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/17/19 01:35 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827883
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Candywoman
There was absolutely nothing offensive about my post. ...


I think you mean to say that you did not intend any offense. Clearly at least one reader found it offensive.


To be fair I think I may have caused offence myself by referring to endless pieces in middle C position being boring. I’d like to expand on that though because as others rightly pointed out it isn’t so much being boring (plenty of great music has been written in C major/A minor). My main concern, I believe, is the delay in introducing the black notes (by extension, being restricted to playing only on the white notes for a long time could be perceived as boring).

One thing I am very keen to avoid is any sense of the black notes being “difficult”, or of sharps and flats in a key signature being “difficult”. I think that reason most of all is why I wouldn’t stay in one key/position for all that time. Similarly I don’t agree with approaches that spend too long in just the treble clef/right hand, because when the other hand/clef is introduced that too seems “difficult”.

Of course this is all theoretical, I totally understand that, however it does seem to be a rather insurmountable chicken and egg situation if one is not able to try out one’s ideas in practice without it being frowned on by some because you are currently lacking a paper qualification. There does seem now to be a certificate in piano teaching (the course comprises lectures and workshops) that’s a recognised qualification, perhaps a stepping stone to a diploma. But as for simply finding a local piano teacher and asking them to teach me to teach, as I said I’ve seen enough of the results of bad teaching over the years to be very wary of that (or asking them to teach my son for that matter) unless I know I am dealing with a terrific teacher. I do not know the music scene in this area so it would take some time to build up contacts to have any confidence, and I suspect unless I’m teaching myself already those contacts could be hard to come by.

I get the impression this can be rather a closed club. For example I tried to join that large Facebook group that’s been recommended before on this forum, “Art of Piano Pedagogy” or something? I answered their questions honestly, ie I don’t have students currently but want to learn from existing teachers. Application ignored. Thankfully the equivalent UK group is more open minded.


But why not do both-- continue to teach your son and enjoy sharing music with together, along with looking into pedagogy training? Piano pedagogy is not just a trendy new thing or just a "paper qualification", it's being informed about how people learn and how to teach effectively, adding on to your own background as a pianist.

If I recall your earlier posts, you were maybe thinking of taking on more students down the road... so why not do some research and seek out an experienced teacher? We're all muddling through to a certain extent when starting out, but having a mentor makes a difference. Most teachers I have met seem interested in raising the level of teaching in their communities by sharing knowledge and experience, not trying to exclude people. There are teachers in my area who don't have university degrees in music, but they're out there taking lessons and going to workshops and doing courses. I have the "pieces of paper", but I'm still learning new music, talking to colleagues, reading, etc.

You seem a little defensive about your lack of teaching experience, but why not just go and learn the craft instead of talking to people on the internet? Online forums and FB groups are great tools, but interaction with some teachers in the "real world" would be super helpful to you and maybe even more fun and welcoming than internet people.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: pianist_lady] #2827903
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Originally Posted by pianist_lady

If I recall your earlier posts, you were maybe thinking of taking on more students down the road... so why not do some research and seek out an experienced teacher? We're all muddling through to a certain extent when starting out, but having a mentor makes a difference. Most teachers I have met seem interested in raising the level of teaching in their communities by sharing knowledge and experience, not trying to exclude people. There are teachers in my area who don't have university degrees in music, but they're out there taking lessons and going to workshops and doing courses. I have the "pieces of paper", but I'm still learning new music, talking to colleagues, reading, etc.

You seem a little defensive about your lack of teaching experience, but why not just go and learn the craft instead of talking to people on the internet? Online forums and FB groups are great tools, but interaction with some teachers in the "real world" would be super helpful to you and maybe even more fun and welcoming than internet people.


I’m just bemused as to how isn’t clear as crystal that I AM doing both. But it simply isn’t standard practice in the UK to have a teacher teach you “how to teach” on an individual basis. Plus until I have done loads of my own reading (no one has answered my question about recommended books beyond the standard ABRSM reading list) I can’t knowledgeably assess their teaching methods to determine if I WANT them to teach me how they teach. Just because someone has earned a living for years churning pupils throughout exams doesn’t automatically make them a good teacher whose methods I would want to follow. I believe I may also have mentioned (or perhaps I didn’t but I’m doing so now) I do actually have a full time job which somewhat restricts my ability to get out of the house. I also do not live in a major city, I live in a rural area where these interactions are hard to come by.

If I seem a little defensive it’s because certain people on this thread are making wild assumptions, putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head. Perhaps it’s a culture gap, I don’t know, but I detect a fair bit of defensiveness from a couple of the teachers towards the non-teacher who is trying to gain as wide an outlook as possible as she decides what to do.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/17/19 03:34 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827909
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Quote
Just make sure you have a secure back-up system for Thompson.

I do nothing with fingering for beginners. I tell them, "I don't care if you use your nose and toes!" That always gets a laugh, but I am 100% serious.


We’ve just had our second lesson. I’m confident that my son is ignoring the fingering in Thompson! 😉 But I’m pleased with him. I asked him to try the left hand of the first piece, working out the notes from what I’d taught him about the stave last week. After a minute’s thought he jumped in there and put the hands together, and made a very good stab at it. That sparked a discussion about the sound of the tonic chord. He then experimented himself with some triads and we talked about the change from major to minor. Chords are of interest to him as it ties in with what he’s learning in guitar of course.

All in all, as I said earlier, flexibility is going to be the key. Going with the flow (and ensuring he doesn’t lift his arm when he plays a note, we talked about finger and arm weight today too. )

Don’t worry, this thread won’t become a blow by blow account of my first attempts at teaching (unless it’s still running next Sunday 😉).

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/17/19 03:49 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827916
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist

If I seem a little defensive it’s because certain people on this thread are making wild assumptions, putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head.

That always happens here. Just ignore that, so what you are going to do. I had one pedagogy course, and the person teaching it was not very good. That was before the age of 21. From that time I just paid attention to every method book out there and formed my own conclusions.

Last edited by Gary D.; 03/17/19 04:07 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827919
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Chords are of interest to him as it ties in with what he’s learning in guitar of course.

All in all, as I said earlier, flexibility is going to be the key. Going with the flow (and ensuring he doesn’t lift his arm when he plays a note, we talked about finger and arm weight today too. )

Don’t worry, this thread won’t become a blow by blow account of my first attempts at teaching (unless it’s still running next Sunday 😉).

Chords are hugely important. For years now I've had students start with C major then play up triads, naming the quality of each chord with the letter - like C(maj) Dm Em F(maj) G(maj) Am B dim C(maj).

These names are hugely important for other instruments too. maj is not necessary for the chord symbol, and it is 100% correct to just say "C" rather than "C major", since in chords you only get the letter. m for minor, dim for diminished.

But this year I've added a step, like this: C major, CEG, D minor, D F A, verbalizing. This is terribly important because it nails down names, and then I do NOT need to use them in music, unless something is going wrong.

I spend 5 minutes each lesson with line/space drills going all over the place, and that is the one thing that ensures beginning students are really reading the lines and spaces.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827922
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
But I’m pleased with him.

I'm always happy to hear parents say this about their kids in any context.


It sounds like you and your son are both game!
Keep up the good work.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Gary D.] #2827923
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by ShyPianist

If I seem a little defensive it’s because certain people on this thread are making wild assumptions, putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head.

That always happens here. Just ignore that, so what you are going to do. I had one pedagogy course, and the person teaching it was not very good. That was before the age of 21. From that time I just paid attention to every method book out there and formed my own conclusions.


😊 Right now I’m reading as much as I can get my hands on, both from a teaching and a playing perspective. I’m familiarising myself with the modern professional music world. I’m filling in gaps where I think my learning might have been lacking in the past. I’m refamiliarising myself with all the stuff I used to know. I’m putting the feelers out. I’m determining whether I personally feel capable of going back into the world of taking exams (after so many years the recital and quick study aspects of the DipABSRM really scare me ).

But all of this is alongside a full time job and I’m not considering a career change (main breadwinner). All the above is first and foremost about my own personal development and satisfying myself that if I do decide to go further into teaching at some point then I am capable of doing it well. But obviously if someone suggests that I’d be better off cooking meals in payment for the local piano teacher rather than doing any of the above, well I’m going to come back and counter that.

I feel I’ve taken what I needed from this thread now, thank you everyone 😊. I will continue to lurk in the teachers forums here and elsewhere as I find the discussions very interesting.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/17/19 04:26 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827929
03/17/19 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist

I’m just bemused as to how isn’t clear as crystal that I AM doing both. But it simply isn’t standard practice in the UK to have a teacher teach you “how to teach” on an individual basis. Plus until I have done loads of my own reading (no one has answered my question about recommended books beyond the standard ABRSM reading list) I can’t knowledgeably assess their teaching methods to determine if I WANT them to teach me how they teach. Just because someone has earned a living for years churning pupils throughout exams doesn’t automatically make them a good teacher whose methods I would want to follow.

If I seem a little defensive it’s because certain people on this thread are making wild assumptions, putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head. Perhaps it’s a culture gap, I don’t know, but I detect a fair bit of defensiveness from a couple of the teachers towards the non-teacher who is trying to gain as wide an outlook as possible as she decides what to do.

There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here (often to some teachers' infuriation, for which I care not a toss grin ).

What I can say for certain is that you're already much more qualified than the vast majority of piano teachers in the USA. There're lots more I could say, but maybe it's better to do it by PM, if you're interested in my thoughts......


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2827934
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Originally Posted by bennevis

There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here (often to some teachers' infuriation, for which I care not a toss grin ).

What I can say for certain is that you're already much more qualified than the vast majority of piano teachers in the USA. There're lots more I could say, but maybe it's better to do it by PM, if you're interested in my thoughts......


From what I’ve read of your posts in the short time I’ve been on here Bennevis, I would certainly be most interested in your thoughts however you wish to deliver them. 😊


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Gary D.] #2827938
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Originally Posted by GaryD
I spend 5 minutes each lesson with line/space drills going all over the place, and that is the one thing that ensures beginning students are really reading the lines and spaces.


Your teaching sounds very similar to my first piano teacher who took me all the way to beyond Grade 8. That’s exactly what I remember doing with him. Standing away from the keyboard with the manuscript on the top of the grand piano, reading notes all over the place. It worked. If he was still alive and teaching I would certainly be approaching him for guidance as he is someone whose judgement I would really trust. He was a true musician.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827950
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by bennevis

There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here (often to some teachers' infuriation, for which I care not a toss grin ).

What I can say for certain is that you're already much more qualified than the vast majority of piano teachers in the USA. There're lots more I could say, but maybe it's better to do it by PM, if you're interested in my thoughts......


From what I’ve read of your posts in the short time I’ve been on here Bennevis, I would certainly be most interested in your thoughts however you wish to deliver them. 😊

I sent you a PM - just click on the flashing thing next to your user name on the top right corner to read 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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828000
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist

I’m just bemused as to how isn’t clear as crystal that I AM doing both. But it simply isn’t standard practice in the UK to have a teacher teach you “how to teach” on an individual basis. Plus until I have done loads of my own reading (no one has answered my question about recommended books beyond the standard ABRSM reading list) I can’t knowledgeably assess their teaching methods to determine if I WANT them to teach me how they teach. Just because someone has earned a living for years churning pupils throughout exams doesn’t automatically make them a good teacher whose methods I would want to follow. I believe I may also have mentioned (or perhaps I didn’t but I’m doing so now) I do actually have a full time job which somewhat restricts my ability to get out of the house. I also do not live in a major city, I live in a rural area where these interactions are hard to come by.

If I seem a little defensive it’s because certain people on this thread are making wild assumptions, putting words in my mouth and thoughts in my head. Perhaps it’s a culture gap, I don’t know, but I detect a fair bit of defensiveness from a couple of the teachers towards the non-teacher who is trying to gain as wide an outlook as possible as she decides what to do.


Sorry, it wasn't clear to me. I don't know what it's like in the UK so I will refrain from commenting further.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828027
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Well, if you do decide to cook for the piano teacher, make sure you get a few cooking lessons first. wink

I had a student who wanted to teach a few students on the side. I told her, music is so precious, you want to give a youngster the best possible chance of succeeding by taking some lessons in pedagogy first. I gave some indications of what can happen if an inexperienced teacher errs (students crying from being pushed too fast etc.) Since this family had a connection to guitar playing as well, they had the dabble mentality.

Her father was a tax lawyer, and her mother an accountant. But none of them could see that I too had a craft, one that I would hope some students would respect and some attempt to learn. They thought you can just jump in just like with guitar. (I don't have a high opinion of guitar players or guitar teachers. So rarely are they adequately trained. So rarely do children persist in their guitar lessons.) In the end, my student left the child to learn elsewhere.

Of course, at uni, I thought the same thing as this family. When I finished my degree, I had taught three students. I returned to my city and was somewhat taken aback when my teacher thought I could benefit from lessons in pedagogy. But I deferred to her better judgement. In case anybody thinks she was out to make a buck, she only charged me for my piano lessons, not my pedagogy lessons. She was right. I'm very grateful to her.

P.S. Malkin, just because somebody takes offence to something doesn't mean it's offensive in any sort of objective sense. Besides, often I take offence to new things as a defence mechanism only to realize later that the other person was right, as with my piano teacher in the above story.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2828081
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Well, if you do decide to cook for the piano teacher, make sure you get a few cooking lessons first. wink

I had a student who wanted to teach a few students on the side. I told her, music is so precious, you want to give a youngster the best possible chance of succeeding by taking some lessons in pedagogy first. I gave some indications of what can happen if an inexperienced teacher errs (students crying from being pushed too fast etc.) Since this family had a connection to guitar playing as well, they had the dabble mentality.

Her father was a tax lawyer, and her mother an accountant. But none of them could see that I too had a craft, one that I would hope some students would respect and some attempt to learn. They thought you can just jump in just like with guitar. (I don't have a high opinion of guitar players or guitar teachers. So rarely are they adequately trained. So rarely do children persist in their guitar lessons.) In the end, my student left the child to learn elsewhere.

Of course, at uni, I thought the same thing as this family. When I finished my degree, I had taught three students. I returned to my city and was somewhat taken aback when my teacher thought I could benefit from lessons in pedagogy. But I deferred to her better judgement. In case anybody thinks she was out to make a buck, she only charged me for my piano lessons, not my pedagogy lessons. She was right. I'm very grateful to her.

P.S. Malkin, just because somebody takes offence to something doesn't mean it's offensive in any sort of objective sense. Besides, often I take offence to new things as a defence mechanism only to realize later that the other person was right, as with my piano teacher in the above story.



It would be fascinating to know more about your own piano playing background one day Candywoman. As it stands your posts have been most helpful in assuring me I’m perfectly capable, thank you very much.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2828179
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Well, if you do decide to cook for the piano teacher, make sure you get a few cooking lessons first. wink

I had a student who wanted to teach a few students on the side. I told her, music is so precious, you want to give a youngster the best possible chance of succeeding by taking some lessons in pedagogy first.

As you're obviously a great pedagogue, Candywoman, I'm curious as to how you would inspire your little unmusical charges to develop an interest in the wonderful world of piano literature and what the piano is capable of, in terms of its ability - in the right hands - to covey the whole gamut of emotions from deep pathos to unbridled joy. Unmusical charges like I once was, at the age of ten, when I had my first piano lesson (because my parents wanted to keep up with the Joneses, not because they loved music - they didn't).

Are you able to play great pieces from the piano oeuvre for them, to the level of a conservatory student, like my first teacher did? Say, a simple piece like Liszt's Liebestraum. That was how she inspired me - so much so that I got her to write down in my notebook every piece she played for me, which I've kept to this day. Pieces ranging from Scarlatti's Kk141 to Stravinsky's Petrushka (Danse russe), from Bach's Goldberg Aria to Barber's Excursions via Beethoven, Brahms and Bartók. I promised her that I'd learn them all and play them myself when I became good enough......and I did.

She was 19, had no teaching experience (I was her first student), no lessons in pedagogy, no mentoring from anyone. All she had was just her ABRSM teaching diploma certificate, twelve years of piano experience, a lot of enthusiasm - and the ability to impart it - and a great love of classical music and the piano literature, and the ability to play at conservatory level, as well as sight-read almost anything and play by ear. (The first piece she played for me was - at my request - the theme from 'Love Story', which she played entirely by ear, decorating the sentimental tune with sweeping Lisztian arpeggios of her own invention, up & down the keyboard. I never forgot her amazing rendition.)

I was hooked, and she ensured that I remained inspired to keep plugging away at daily practicing, despite my total lack of any musical aptitude, which led to where I am today, an amateur pianist who plays recitals to inspire others. Just as I was inspired by my first teacher.

Oh, did I mention that she had no lessons in pedagogy, and she'd never taught anyone before?


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828188
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Originally Posted by bennevis

Oh, did I mention that she had no lessons in pedagogy, and she'd never taught anyone before?

I have not talked about this in a long time. I was also a brass player, and I started teaching brass without any training in teaching, but I was an old man compared to your first teacher. I was something like 23.

And my first brass student was much older. She was 14. She majored in music and was one of about 5 of the best students I've ever taught. We were talking again recently. I'm still close friends with her parents.

I guess it's a good thing I didn't realize I could not teach well because I had no pedagogy classes. wink


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828242
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Originally Posted by bennevis
All she had was just her ABRSM teaching diploma certificate ... Oh, did I mention that she had no lessons in pedagogy

Not familiar with ABRSM, but what is the ABRSM teaching diploma certificate if not a certificate in pedagogy? That's odd since RCM's teaching certificate is a certification in piano pedagogy, and I'd been under the impression that ABRSM, RCM, and Trinity nearly mirror each other, but it seems ABRSM is different in this respect.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828247
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
All she had was just her ABRSM teaching diploma certificate ... Oh, did I mention that she had no lessons in pedagogy

Not familiar with ABRSM, but what is the ABRSM teaching diploma certificate if not a certificate in pedagogy? That's odd since RCM's teaching certificate is a certification in piano pedagogy, and I'd been under the impression that ABRSM, RCM, and Trinity nearly mirror each other, but it seems ABRSM is different in this respect.


It's a highly regarded certificate in pedagogy/teaching but it's not one that requires any formal training in "how to teach" to receive it. If you have the prerequisites, can perform to the required standard, and can demonstrate sufficient in-depth knowledge about the repertoire and teaching practice then you can pass, and plenty of people achieve that through self-teaching and experience.

I've been making copious enquiries of various UK sources in the past few days and my understanding of the situation is quite correct. There are some taught courses that can assist/mentor you through acquiring a diploma, because obviously it is tough, but there are none in my particular part of the UK. Some diplomas require you already to be teaching before you can take the exam. But people just don't take lessons in "how to teach", not in the sense that it's meant here anyway. Generally professionals are relaxed about whether teachers are formally qualified or not because some "unqualified" teachers can be excellent and some "qualified" teachers can be terrible, so it's down to personal preference for one's own professional development.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/18/19 11:15 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828274
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Well, it looks like we're talking past each other. I'm just about ready to give up but I'll give it one more try.

Bennevis: After many years of playing all sorts of piano pieces for students, I have learned that only a certain number of them will translate my enthusiasm and passion for music into them actually practicing their own music. You would have been one of them. I try to play once per lesson. I play their pieces, my pieces, popular music such as Viva la Vida, all kinds of excerpts from pieces. It doesn't matter. If they take soccer and all their other sports and run around town, they don't find time to put that inspiration to use. They do end up sounding like me, but it takes them a fairly long time to play their intermediate pieces so they don't produce many pieces per year. They end up quitting at about age 17 here because of university and other busy-ness such as their part-time jobs, etc...

I don't know how to understand your profile, but I don't think you are a piano teacher. Correct me if I'm wrong. There are many students who plod because that's what they do, not because of a lack of inspiration from the teacher. Where's the inspiration from the student TO to the teacher? That's the kind of inspiration that's truly fun to work with. I have two kid now who are like that, and who make me look forward to their lessons.

ShyPianist: Some of the knowledge I'm talking about you could conceivably learn on your own, but could learn faster from a piano teacher.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Candywoman] #2828281
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Originally Posted by Candywoman

ShyPianist: Some of the knowledge I'm talking about you could conceivably learn on your own, but could learn faster from a piano teacher.


Yes and no. What I categorically don't want is to learn one person's method of teaching. I want to appraise all the information and research there is out there (as much as possible) and form my own judgements. That's what widespread reading and personal experience can do, and attending CPD courses if that's possible, and what learning from one single teacher would most probably not do. I agree a mentor could certainly be helpful, but not simply a local piano teacher because who's to say they are any more qualified to teach me about teaching than I am myself? So I need to find a teacher who takes people up to diploma level and beyond. Those are normally affiliated to music colleges and I am hundreds of miles away from one of those. So I expect you now understand the issues. As I said there is very clearly a big culture difference between the USA and the UK in this respect.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828287
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
So I need to find a teacher who takes people up to diploma level and beyond. Those are normally affiliated to music colleges and I am hundreds of miles away from one of those. So I expect you now understand the issues. As I said there is very clearly a big culture difference between the USA and the UK in this respect.

As long as you don't get a piano teacher that looks like Isabelle Huppert to help you with pedagogy, you should be safe ShyPianist! wink


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828316
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
All she had was just her ABRSM teaching diploma certificate ... Oh, did I mention that she had no lessons in pedagogy

Not familiar with ABRSM, but what is the ABRSM teaching diploma certificate if not a certificate in pedagogy? That's odd since RCM's teaching certificate is a certification in piano pedagogy, and I'd been under the impression that ABRSM, RCM, and Trinity nearly mirror each other, but it seems ABRSM is different in this respect.

Yes, the ABRSM teaching certificate 'qualifies' you to teach - and in my home country (and likely also in the UK among the people who know about these things) - nobody would hire a piano teacher who didn't hold such a diploma, or its equivalent. Teachers were - and still are - held in high esteem, but they have to show that they've earned that by having suitable qualifications. Not by saying - "look, I've had pedagogy lessons from so-and-so, therefore I know how to teach".

So, my teacher was qualified to teach me, but she never had any lessons on how to teach: she obtained her Grade 8 in her mid-teens, and continued to have lessons from her teacher while studying the requirements of the ABRSM teaching diploma exam by herself. The teaching diploma has different requirements from the performance diploma (which was the one I did) - with the latter, you don't have to demonstrate knowledge of suitable rep for each grade in various styles; you just have to present your pieces and perform them very well from memory, and demonstrate a wide range of musical knowledge.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828318
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and in my home country (and likely also in the UK among the people who know about these things) - nobody would hire a piano teacher who didn't hold such a diploma, or its equivalent.


Which is the thing that always bemused me because some diplomas do actually require you to be teaching before you can even take them. I was pleased to realise the DipABRSM isn't one of them (the first of three tiers of ABRSM diplomas), because as I think I've said before on this thread (sorry if I'm repeating myself too much) I really wouldn't feel comfortable in taking on any paid pupils without such a qualification (although views within the teaching profession differ on that, as again I've already said). I think my son is a different case. Number one because he's my son, my responsibility, my risk, and also because he is not looking for the kind of formal teaching that I think others have perhaps assumed. He's getting it at the moment, Animisha's very first comment on this thread about formalising it to a set time each week was fantastically helpful there, but it isn't the number one objective, as I hope is clear by now. :-)

Incidentally my son's guitar teacher has teaching experience behind him but no formal qualifications to my knowledge. I judged his suitability on the way he interacted with my son and his general approach to how he would teach him (basically inspiring him to look beyond being your average strummer, and also allowing him to experiment). I was comfortable to do that, but for parents without a musical background I can see that the qualification is going to be what they look for first & foremost, for reassurance.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/18/19 02:12 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828329
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Quote
and in my home country (and likely also in the UK among the people who know about these things) - nobody would hire a piano teacher who didn't hold such a diploma, or its equivalent.


Which is the thing that always bemused me because some diplomas do actually require you to be teaching before you can even take them. I was pleased to realise the DipABRSM isn't one of them, because as I think I've said before on this thread (sorry if I'm repeating myself too much) I really wouldn't feel comfortable in taking on any paid pupils without such a qualification.

I think that having studied in one of the music colleagues would have qualified you to be a teacher for most people, because everyone knows how stringent the standards are to get into one of them.

My first piano teacher "deserted" me after Grade 1 in order to continue her piano studies in one of the London colleges (I don't know which). As a 'going away' present, she gave me a volume of Mozart's best-known piano music (sonatas, rondos, variations) - all of which were way beyond my capabilities at the time. (She knew that Mozart was my favourite composer). She told me she was confident that one day, I'd be good enough to play all the music in it. How could I not live up to her expectations after that? I still use the book now, and yes, I've played all the pieces in it. whistle

Luckily, I was completely hooked on piano by then, so I didn't suffer unduly from being passed on to another teacher, who wasn't quite an inspirational a teacher as my previous one. She was older, having taught for many years, and only occasionally played for me.



Quote
..... for parents without a musical background I can see that the qualification is going to be what they look for first & foremost, for reassurance.

Qualifications and exam results were all my parents knew, and in order to keep on with piano lessons after I'd moved to a boarding school in UK, I had to continue bringing home a new ABRSM certificate every year, and with good marks. Otherwise, they'd stop paying for lessons. I could hardly blame them, as they cared nothing for music, and my playing (when I was home for the summer holidays) just sounded like cacophony to them. Even Mozart at his (and my wink ) sweetest......


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828330
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Yes, the ABRSM teaching certificate 'qualifies' you to teach - and in my home country (and likely also in the UK among the people who know about these things) - nobody would hire a piano teacher who didn't hold such a diploma, or its equivalent. Teachers were - and still are - held in high esteem, but they have to show that they've earned that by having suitable qualifications. Not by saying - "look, I've had pedagogy lessons from so-and-so, therefore I know how to teach".

Originally Posted by ShyPianist
but for parents without a musical background I can see that the qualification is going to be what they look for first & foremost, for reassurance.

I have a good friend whose young niece loves music but her family is poor from a non-Western country. So my friend agreed to pay for his niece to take weekly classical guitar lessons. He didn't specify who the teacher should be or any requirements at all, and left all that up to the parents, since the cost of such lessons was high for their country, her parents wanted to find "the right teacher" for that amount of money. Not knowing anything about music, guitars, classical guitar, the first thing the parents did was to look for a professional certificate. So yes, in some countries, the certification (or an appropriate degree) are the overriding concern, before any concern about the quality of the teaching.

(BTW, my friend offered to pay for piano lessons, but his niece preferred classical guitar - alas!)


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828334
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Qualifications and exam results were all my parents knew, and in order to keep on with piano lessons after I'd moved to a boarding school in UK, I had to continue bringing home a new ABRSM certificate every year, and with good marks.


I wasn't in a boarding school, but otherwise that mindset sounds very very familiar!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828410
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Originally Posted by bennevis
There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here (often to some teachers' infuriation, for which I care not a toss grin ).

I was going to let this dig slide, because it's not my fight, but it has irritated me for the last day - I may not have been born the in the US, but it's been my adopted homeland for many years. Having spent many years on your side of the Atlantic, I just feel there is a tendency to characterize Americans as rough around the edges in all areas and now I see this in piano pedagogy in this thread. But perhaps those in the US get a last laugh on our brethren on the other side of the pond? I would put up my 382yo alma mater against any college on your side of the Atlantic, Oxford and Cambridge included.

In the piano area, have we forgotten that Julliard remains one of the top, if not the top piano pedagogical institution, and that 89.8% of the matriculating students there were trained by US-based teachers? Your contempt of US piano teachers as an entire group, is misplaced when considering the final results achieved.

That almost every UK piano student takes a rigorous piano curriculum and has to pass exams is all well and good if the aim to to pass exams. But based on the results of creating pianists for which schools like Julliard, Curtis, Eastman, and Yale bear some witness to US students learning piano well, I'd say your comments are not accurate and a bit insulting to US-based teachers, as a whole. Certainly,, you've gotten the Royal Academy of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and a few other top conservatories, but at the end of the, as I said above with my alma mater, I would put up Julliard, Curtis, Eastman, Yale against those any day.

Just because US/American methods are not those used on your side of the Atlantic, does not mean that they can't be equally, if not even more, effective.


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828414
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here (often to some teachers' infuriation, for which I care not a toss grin ).

I was going to let this dig slide, because it's not my fight, but it has irritated me for the last day - I may not have been born the in the US, but it's been my adopted homeland for many years. Having spent many years on your side of the Atlantic, I just feel there is a tendency to characterize Americans as rough around the edges in all areas and now I see this in piano pedagogy in this thread.

You've got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

Try reading my 'offending' post another way.......


"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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828416
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here (often to some teachers' infuriation, for which I care not a toss grin ).

I was going to let this dig slide, because it's not my fight, but it has irritated me for the last day - I may not have been born the in the US, but it's been my adopted homeland for many years. Having spent many years on your side of the Atlantic, I just feel there is a tendency to characterize Americans as rough around the edges in all areas and now I see this in piano pedagogy in this thread.

You've got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

Try reading my 'offending' post another way.......

Oh! You meant it in reverse? Now why didn't you say that in the first place! grin


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828425
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here (often to some teachers' infuriation, for which I care not a toss grin ).

I was going to let this dig slide, because it's not my fight, but it has irritated me for the last day - I may not have been born the in the US, but it's been my adopted homeland for many years. Having spent many years on your side of the Atlantic, I just feel there is a tendency to characterize Americans as rough around the edges in all areas and now I see this in piano pedagogy in this thread.

You've got hold of the wrong end of the stick.

Try reading my 'offending' post another way.......

Oh! You meant it in reverse? Now why didn't you say that in the first place! grin

Hmmm, looks like I'll have to translate, so that the right people are suitably offended..... grin

There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here.
Often, my posts have infuriated some teachers in this forum, for which I don't give a toss.


There, I've split my sentence into two, which should make my message clearer than mud.....


"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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828426
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I was going to let this dig slide, because it's not my fight, but it has irritated me for the last day...


I really hope it’s not anybody’s “fight”! What I detect from this whole thread is that the methods in the US and the UK are massively different, and I mean massively. (Who even uses the word pedagogy anyway? 😉). But that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. Many of the recommended texts on my reading list come from the US, so do most of the method books (much to my annoyance - quarter notes, half notes, pah, what’s wrong with crotchets and minims?).

When you stop to think about it the U.K. tradition of just getting on with it is a bit mad, but that’s simply how it is, so obviously we aspiring teachers (maybe, still not decided!) have to work with the system we have. Make no mistake though, our diplomas are rigorous. But in neither country is a formal qualification required before you can teach so in that sense we’re not so different.

It never ceases to amaze me how we in the US and the UK respectively can talk the same language and yet really really not!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828428
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Quote
I was going to let this dig slide, because it's not my fight, but it has irritated me for the last day...


I really hope it’s not anybody’s “fight”! What I detect from this whole thread is that the methods in the US and the UK are massively different, and I mean massively. (Who even uses the word pedagogy anyway? 😉). But that doesn’t mean one is better than the other. Many of the recommended texts on my reading list come from the US, so do most of the method books (much to my annoyance - quarter notes, half notes, pah, what’s wrong with crotchets and minims?).

When you stop to think about it the U.K. tradition of just getting on with it is a bit mad, but that’s simply how it is, so obviously we aspiring teachers (maybe, still not decided!) have to work with the system we have. Make no mistake though, our diplomas are rigorous. But in neither country is a formal qualification required before you can teach so in that sense we’re not so different.

It never ceases to amaze me how we in the US and the UK respectively can talk the same language and yet really really not!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828430
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
Try reading my 'offending' post another way.......

Oh! You meant it in reverse? Now why didn't you say that in the first place! grin

Hmmm, looks like I'll have to translate, so that the right people are suitably offended..... grin

There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here.
Often, my posts have infuriated some teachers in this forum, for which I don't give a toss.


There, I've split my sentence into two, which should make my message clearer than mud.....

Well, this is still not very clear, because the newly partitioned sentences seem just point to a distinction, but the implication of the difference is left unresolved, like a dissonance without a tonal center. wink Yet the following two sentence in your post of yesterday seem to suggest what that difference is, in a uncomplimentary way to "piano teachers in the USA":
Originally Posted by bennevis
What I can say for certain is that you're already much more qualified than the vast majority of piano teachers in the USA. There're lots more I could say, but maybe it's better to do it by PM, if you're interested in my thoughts......

These two sentences still really suggest that either my end of the stick was either not the wrong end, or your mud is still too opaque. Care to further water down the mud so that there is no question the people you intended to insult are actually the ones being insulted?


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828431
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

Well, this is still not very clear, because the newly partitioned sentences seem just point to a distinction, but the implication of the difference is left unresolved, like a dissonance without a tonal center. wink Yet the following two sentence in your post of yesterday seem to suggest what that difference is, in a uncomplimentary way to "piano teachers in the USA":
Originally Posted by bennevis
What I can say for certain is that you're already much more qualified than the vast majority of piano teachers in the USA. There're lots more I could say, but maybe it's better to do it by PM, if you're interested in my thoughts......

These two sentences still really suggest that either my end of the stick was either not the wrong end, or your mud is still too opaque. Care to further water down the mud so that there is no question the people you intended to insult are actually the ones being insulted?


I really don’t want to be responsible for setting off a slanging match folks...


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828432
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I really don’t want to be responsible for setting off a slanging match folks...

Yeah, sorry, by quoting that part of bennevis, I did not mean to pull you into the fray. Just that his first pair of sentences seem to point out UK and US piano teachers are different, without implying any sort of difference in quality or results, but then his following comment addressing you, when you've admitted you have no pedagogy training, seems to suggest that either the average US piano teacher also has no pedagogy training, or that they are in some other way, worse off than you with your 1 year of conservatory training. And when combined with the former statement of difference, well, that suggests to me what the difference was intended to be in his former statement. That is to say, the implication seems to be US teachers < UK teachers. And if that wasn't actually the intent, I think further mud clearing is called for!


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828434
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but then his comment addressing you when you've admitted you have no pedagogy training seems to suggest that either the average US piano teacher also has no pedagogy training or that they are in some other way worse than you.


We’ll maybe just gloss over that wording shall we? 😉

PS no like most teachers starting out in the U.K. I haven’t sat down with a teacher to be taught how to teach, but hopefully it is pretty clear by now that such training takes many forms and that is just one. Let’s not go right back to the beginning!

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/18/19 08:43 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828437
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Quote
but then his comment addressing you when you've admitted you have no pedagogy training seems to suggest that either the average US piano teacher also has no pedagogy training or that they are in some other way worse than you.

We’ll maybe just gloss over that wording shall we? 😉

Gloss over? We can't do that! I need to know if I should be properly feeling offended on behalf of those in the US or, conversely, gloating! 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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828438
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
Try reading my 'offending' post another way.......

Oh! You meant it in reverse? Now why didn't you say that in the first place! grin

Hmmm, looks like I'll have to translate, so that the right people are suitably offended..... grin

There is a huge difference in piano teaching between the UK and USA, which I've got to know from the years I've spent lurking and posting here.
Often, my posts have infuriated some teachers in this forum, for which I don't give a toss.


There, I've split my sentence into two, which should make my message clearer than mud.....

Well, this is still not very clear, because the newly partitioned sentences seem just point to a distinction, but the implication of the difference is left unresolved, like a dissonance without a tonal center. wink

My preference is for music without a strong tonal centre, so that there's always an element of ambiguity, of unresolved tension.

With strongly tonal music, Mozart reigns supreme for me precisely because of his ambiguity of mood. Laughter through tears and all that. Is Don Giovanni a comedy or a tragedy? Is Sarastro really a good guy? Is K550 a work of 'Grecian lightness and grace', or "a work of passion, violence, and grief"?

The battle rages...... thumb


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828439
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Quote
but then his comment addressing you when you've admitted you have no pedagogy training seems to suggest that either the average US piano teacher also has no pedagogy training or that they are in some other way worse than you.

We’ll maybe just gloss over that wording shall we? 😉

Gloss over? We can't do that! I need to know if I should be properly feeling offended on behalf of those in the US or, conversely, gloating! wink


I meant your wording to me...

EDIT: but don’t worry, I shan't take the “worse than you” bit to heart.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/18/19 08:50 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828440
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Quote
but then his comment addressing you when you've admitted you have no pedagogy training seems to suggest that either the average US piano teacher also has no pedagogy training or that they are in some other way worse than you.

We’ll maybe just gloss over that wording shall we? 😉

Gloss over? We can't do that! I need to know if I should be properly feeling offended on behalf of those in the US or, conversely, gloating! wink


I meant your wording to me...

Oh, see it again above. I think I edited it before time ran out on edits to clarify that I mean without any intention to slight your accomplishments, that you had a year of conservatory and no pedagogical training by your statements, and that I am wondering about the idea that the average piano teacher in the USA has even less than this. I do not believe this is true. Personally, I believe your piano skills are enough to train your son, but you've as much said that if you were to actually consider training others, you'd take a look at something more for yourself.

In the most general sense, I don't think it is insulting to a "particular amateur" to compare him/her to the "average professional" and ask, why is someone apparently saying the average professional is not as good as this particular amateur. And certainly, in asking for clarification, I certainly meant no disrespect to you.


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828444
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
EDIT: but don’t worry, I shan't take the “worse than you” bit to heart.

Yes, that was one of the things I fixed before time ran out - I changed "worse" which implies some sort of value judgement and comparison with "worse off" (see above - "in a less advantageous position; less fortunate or prosperous"), which simply refer to your condition of not having completed the conservatory or obtaining pedagogy training, yet. Again, I modified this because I didn't mean it to slight your achievements in any way. But just to make a comparison of the conditions/credentials. I still don't see how the average US piano teacher can be considered to be in a "less advantageous position," considering until now, you'd apparently never even "positioned" yourself as a piano teacher at all.


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828450
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
EDIT: but don’t worry, I shan't take the “worse than you” bit to heart.

Yes, that was one of the things I fixed before time ran out - I changed "worse" which implies some sort of value judgement and comparison with "worse off" (see above), which simply refer to your condition of not having completed the conservatory or obtaining pedagogy training, yet. Again, I modified this because I didn't mean it to slight your achievements in any way. But just to make a comparison of the conditions/credentials.


I didn’t complete the music degree it’s true, but I did another degree and I train people as part of my current job. The conservatory course, had I completed it, would have left me no more qualified to teach than I am now. “The pedagogy training” simply does not exist in any formalised sense. I refer you to my post up thread about talking the same language and yet really not doing so at all. The cultural gap isn’t getting resolved on this thread sadly. I need to get to bed. 😊


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828453
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PS I understand your point by the way, but it’s all getting a wee bit personal and slightly out of proportion with my original question. My son will, I’m sure, be delighted to have so many people across the pond concerned for his pianistic welfare. 😁

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/18/19 09:18 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828454
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I didn’t complete the music degree it’s true, but I did another degree and I train people as part of my current job. The conservatory course, had I completed it, would have left me no more qualified to teach than I am now. “The pedagogy training” simply does not exist in any formalised sense. I refer you to my post up thread about talking the same language and yet really not doing so at all. The cultural gap isn’t getting resolved on this thread sadly. I need to get to bed. 😊

Separate from whether I think piano pedagogy is needed at all to teach piano - and certainly I don't think it is needed to teach your son - I do still acknowledge there is such a thing as "piano pedagogy." It may not meet your definition of "pedagogy training," but that doesn't make it less of "a thing." In looking over the RCM piano pedagogy curriculum, which might be similar to ABRSM and Trinity, I see the piano form still includes elements of what is suggested by the word "pedagogy" (e.g., plans for and structure of lessons in the early years, including practicing and setting goals; nurturing creativity through imagery and analogy; developing critical listening; basic performance preparation, recitals, festivals; evaluating student progress; practice strategies and effective practicing; and the value of assessment, preparation for examinations, and requirements for elementary-level examinations). This all sounds like "pedagogy" to me, in most sense of the word, except where you only consider pedagogy to be some sort of mentoring of a student/new teacher on how to teach piano students.

Again, aside from whether or not such stuff is needed in order for you to teach your son, the pedagogy training itself does indeed exist in a formalized sense - it's just that it is a different meaning of "pedagogy" than what apparently you and bennevis think of when you hear the word "pedagogy."


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828455
03/18/19 09:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
I didn’t complete the music degree it’s true, but I did another degree and I train people as part of my current job. The conservatory course, had I completed it, would have left me no more qualified to teach than I am now. “The pedagogy training” simply does not exist in any formalised sense. I refer you to my post up thread about talking the same language and yet really not doing so at all. The cultural gap isn’t getting resolved on this thread sadly. I need to get to bed. 😊

Separate from whether I think piano pedagogy is needed at all to teach piano - and certainly I don't think it is needed to teach your son - I do still acknowledge there is such a thing as "piano pedagogy." It may not meet your definition of "pedagogy training," but that doesn't make it less of "a thing." In looking over the RCM piano pedagogy curriculum, which might be similar to ABRSM and Trinity, I see the piano form still includes elements of what is suggested by the word "pedagogy" (e.g., plans for and structure of lessons in the early years, including practicing and setting goals; nurturing creativity through imagery and analogy; developing critical listening; basic performance preparation, recitals, festivals; evaluating student progress; practice strategies and effective practicing; and the value of assessment, preparation for examinations, and requirements for elementary-level examinations). This all sounds like "pedagogy" to me, in most sense of the word, except where you only consider pedagogy to be some sort of mentoring of a student/new teacher on how to teach piano students.

Again, aside from whether or not such stuff is needed in order for you to teach your son, the pedagogy training itself does indeed exist in a formalized sense - it's just that it is a different meaning of "pedagogy" than what apparently you and bennevis think of when you hear the word "pedagogy."


Oh will I ever extricate myself from this thread?! I should have said “does not exist in the U.K.” because that’s what I meant. I’m just curious as to what you think the purpose of reading lists and experience is, if not to educate oneself in the kinds of things you mention above (as well as other very important things you didn’t mention, like technique and suitable repertoire for different levels). Yes there is the odd course, if one can get to them, to help guide people through if they wish, but the expectation at this level is that you are capable of researching this stuff for yourself. Rightly so, in my opinion.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828457
03/18/19 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
but it’s all getting a wee bit personal

I don't know if you mean more than just me, but again, I changed "worse" to "worse off" to make it less personal. I think you've accomplished a lot in getting to the conservatory at all and spending a year there. I was addressing whether bennevis meant in any way to slight US piano teachers, not you personally.

Flipping this around on me, as an example, I studied mathematics and physics to quite a high level at the university, doing quite well in national-level competitions, and published a number of papers in professional refereed science journals. But I didn't finish in the sense that I never earned a PhD in math, nor do I teach it now. If I proposed teaching my child math, I don't see why I couldn't. In actual fact I did homeschool my daughter and I had taught her math. But say then someone were to comment about me, "what can be said for certain is that Tyrone Slothrop is already much more qualified than the vast majority of math teachers in the USA." In such a case, I think it would be fair for anyone else to question how that this statement could be so, and without any intention to slight me personally, to say that such a comparison given that I lack any formal credentials or experience to teach math, does not put US mathematics teachers in a good light. Perhaps this is just me, but I would not feel bad about such a statement because it is obviously true on its face.

This is all many words to say, I didn't mean to insult you, I didn't mean to get personal, you are doing a great job as a parent and I wish I had your energy or skills with my own daughter, but perhaps you are reading what I wrote in too personal a way, as I simply think the average piano teacher in the US does have "more than" 1 year of professional piano performance training (i.e., your year at the conservatory). As to what "more than" means, I can't exactly say, but my sense if we are talking about the average US piano teacher, it is some sort of piano performance or pedagogy degree (BM, BMA) or some sort of piano pedagogy certification, because the opposite would be less than, and if the average piano teacher has less than 1 year of undergraduate music education, then this would seem to imply they have no training at all in music at all at a post-secondary school level.


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828462
03/18/19 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
but it’s all getting a wee bit personal

I don't know if you mean more than just me, but again, I changed "worse" to "worse off" to make it less personal. I think you've accomplished a lot in getting to the conservatory at all and spending a year there. I was addressing whether bennevis meant in any way to slight US piano teachers, not you personally.

Flipping this around on me, as an example, I studied mathematics and physics to quite a high level at the university, doing quite well in national-level competitions, and published a number of papers in professional refereed science journals. But I didn't finish in the sense that I never earned a PhD in math, nor do I teach it now. If I proposed teaching my child math, I don't see why I couldn't. In actual fact I did homeschool my daughter and I had taught her math. But say then someone were to comment about me, "what can be said for certain is that Tyrone Slothrop is already much more qualified than the vast majority of math teachers in the USA." In such a case, I think it would be fair for anyone else to question how that this statement could be so, and without any intention to slight me personally, to say that such a comparison given that I lack any formal credentials or experience to teach math, does not put US mathematics teachers in a good light. Perhaps this is just me, but I would not feel bad about such a statement because it is obviously true on its face.

This is all many words to say, I didn't mean to insult you, I didn't mean to get personal, you are doing a great job as a parent and I wish I had your energy or skills with might daughter, but perhaps you are reading what I wrote in too personal a way, as I simply think the average piano teacher in the US does have "more than" 1 year of professional piano performance training (i.e., your year at the conservatory).


No I did mean in a wider sense, as in I don’t totally appreciate having my background, achievements (such as they are) and deficiencies (obvious) raked over in the context of a broader discussion about whether I’m more or less qualified/capable than ANother teacher here or in the States (bearing in mind I have never claimed to be a teacher). I am more qualified to start teaching than some people for sure, I know of people teaching who barely scraped Grade 8, and less qualified than many others. That much is obvious surely? And I’ve not once said anything different.

Now if people want to continue the broader discussion can they please leave my personal situation out of it or start another thread? Thank you!

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/18/19 09:51 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828466
03/18/19 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I was addressing whether bennevis meant in any way to slight US piano teachers, not you personally.


That's why we should leave ShyPianist out of our exchanges on this subject.

Anyway, it's bed time where I live, as well as in Scotland, where ShyPianist and Ben Nevis reside.

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"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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828509
03/19/19 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
I was addressing whether bennevis meant in any way to slight US piano teachers, not you personally.


That's why we should leave ShyPianist out of our exchanges on this subject.

Agreed! Shywho? smile

Anyways, everyone has been insulted who was intended to be insulted in this thread, and plenty of people who were not intended for insult have been insulted too. This has been a busy little thread!


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828552
03/19/19 07:28 AM
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It has been "interesting" reading this "battle".


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828584
03/19/19 09:22 AM
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I have found this thread depressing.

It seems to me the repliers to the OP's query have been wilfully ignoring her circumstances when she has been clear about her circumstances and situation. That pedagogy here in the UK is not formalised here as part of the qualification for teacher training as it is rightly so in the USA. It feels like the teachers from the US are just wanting to lord it over how superior their training is rather than thinking about how to help with practical answers to the OP's original query.

The other thing the OP made clear early on is that her location is remote, and I know many in the US might find it impossible to believe but it is perfectly possible in this small country to be a long drive from a city or town of any significant size where there would be a range of piano teachers that could be evaluated. But once again this information feels like it is being wilfully ignored.

The end result is that in response to a practical query for information there has been some small amount of useful information. (Personally I've learnt about the importance of Pedagogy to learning). But instead lots of judgement of the OP and what she is trying to do and a determination to ignore the circumstances she finds herself in so as to create the straw person they can easily knock down.

Much more like this and I think I might give up on this forum. I'll become one of these many new learners who was thought to have given up on learning the piano but instead all that has happened is I will have given up using the forum.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: KevinM] #2828585
03/19/19 09:27 AM
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Originally Posted by KevinM
I have found this thread depressing.

It seems to me the repliers to the OP's query have been wilfully ignoring her circumstances when she has been clear about her circumstances and situation. That pedagogy here in the UK is not formalised here as part of the qualification for teacher training as it is rightly so in the USA. It feels like the teachers from the US are just wanting to lord it over how superior their training is rather than thinking about how to help with practical answers to the OP's original query.

The other thing the OP made clear early on is that her location is remote, and I know many in the US might find it impossible to believe but it is perfectly possible in this small country to be a long drive from a city or town of any significant size where there would be a range of piano teachers that could be evaluated. But once again this information feels like it is being wilfully ignored.

The end result is that in response to a practical query for information there has been some small amount of useful information. (Personally I've learnt about the importance of Pedagogy to learning). But instead lots of judgement of the OP and what she is trying to do and a determination to ignore the circumstances she finds herself in so as to create the straw person they can easily knock down.

Much more like this and I think I might give up on this forum. I'll become one of these many new learners who was thought to have given up on learning the piano but instead all that has happened is I will have given up using the forum.


Kevin, all you have said is true and thank you for saying it :-). However there are also a couple of teachers on here whose opinions I have come to respect (having read other threads) who have been most generous with helpful, non-judgemental advice. We're all good as far as I'm concerned, I'm a grown woman and as a working mother I'm perfectly well used to being negatively judged for whatever I do. It's wrong, but that's life. :-)

PS there's no one on here who's a bigger critic or judge of me than I am of myself. I think the fact I found the pressure of performance too great might be a clue to that, and you would also imagine that would give the critics a clue that I would not go into this if I didn't think I could do it well. But hey, it's easier to judge isn't it?

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/19/19 09:36 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828594
03/19/19 10:01 AM
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Let me just duck in here and point something out:

Not all music teachers in the United States have formal training in pedagogy. Some do, some don't. There are no formal requirements. And most Americans have no idea about ABRSM, TCL, RCM, etc. I have NEVER once had a student (or parents) come to me requesting to do exams, and precious few who were interested once I offered them as an option.

Also, I have NEVER had a student (or parents) ask about any formal qualifications. Most of them don't even ask me to play for them (which has always seemed odd to me).

I have a little formal pedagogical training, but I didn't study it in college. I am continuing to pick up ideas and techniques from local colleagues.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828595
03/19/19 10:04 AM
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I'm still waiting for some offended guitar teacher to weigh in, since they were disparaged more clearly than US piano teachers earlier in the thread. But it's just as well if they are not here to be insulted.

None of it related to you, of course, ShyPianist.

Amazing that anyone ever learned to play an instrument before there were courses and certifications in pedagogy!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828598
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Methinks all students should have studied studentship (unfortunately, that's not been glorified with a Greek or Latin-derived snooty term, though I'm working on it) before they became students, so that they know how to be students.

After all, it's not given to everyone to be good students.


"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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828600
03/19/19 10:15 AM
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Last edited by KevinM; 03/19/19 10:16 AM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828601
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist

I'm a grown woman and as a working mother I'm perfectly well used to being negatively judged for whatever I do. It's wrong, but that's life. :-)



I was not trying to be a white knight and come to your defence, that would be a presumption. This thread just felt like to me a perfect example of my experience of what I feel is wrong with the dynamic of the Piano World forums. But I suppose I'm living in my own dreamworld when I think it could change.

I'm glad that you have got useful information out of it. Just annoying you had to go through being pre-judged to get there.

Last edited by KevinM; 03/19/19 10:19 AM.

Mendelssohn Song without Words Op19,2 and 19,6, Jensen Sehnsucht Op8,5. Chopin Nocturne C# Minor. Schumann Hasche Mann from Kinderszenen Op15,3. https://soundcloud.com/sheffieldkevin
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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828611
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I was not trying to be a white knight and come to your defence, that would be a presumption. This thread just felt like to me a perfect example of my experience of what I feel is wrong with the dynamic of the Piano World forums. But I suppose I'm living in my own dreamworld when I think it could change.


I know, but I appreciate it all the same.:-)

Yes this is a funny place. Kind of addictive in some ways, some great characters, interesting threads and some really helpful people, and then some really strange passive aggressive/judgemental/defensive stuff going on too.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828613
03/19/19 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Methinks all students should have studied studentship.... .


I don't know if this was meant tongue in cheek. However,I'll take up the thought in seriousness. Part of a teacher's role is to teach students how to work with them in lessons, and how to approach practising at home. If the student is young so that parents have a role, there should be guidance in that matter as well. The study of studentship is done with the student's teacher.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: keystring] #2828625
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
Methinks all students should have studied studentship.... .


I don't know if this was meant tongue in cheek. However,I'll take up the thought in seriousness. Part of a teacher's role is to teach students how to work with them in lessons, and how to approach practising at home. If the student is young so that parents have a role, there should be guidance in that matter as well. The study of studentship is done with the student's teacher.


Oh certainly. A study of child development and psychology is surely a key part of learning to teach in any structured sense, just as if one is training to be a school teacher. I also believe, perhaps with the rose-coloured glasses of the unrealistic beginner, I don't know, that an interest in the child as a person, as a whole being, is important. I've read quite a lot from teachers recently, on here and elsewhere, where there are comments along the lines of "I have them for an hour to teach them piano, the rest of it is none of my business/not my problem/insert other jaded comment here". Not true. If a child/teenager is stressed during lessons, not practising, seem not to be themselves, then it is part of the job of their teacher to figure out why and adapt accordingly. In my untrained opinion. ;-)


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: KevinM] #2828656
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Originally Posted by KevinM
That pedagogy here in the UK is not formalised here as part of the qualification for teacher training as it is rightly so in the USA. It feels like the teachers from the US are just wanting to lord it over how superior their training is rather than thinking about how to help with practical answers to ...

...(Personally I've learnt about the importance of Pedagogy to learning)...

One thing I've learned from this thread is that in the UK, it appears there is less of an association between "pedagogy" and "teaching".

As perhaps mentioned already in the thread above, it's amazing to me that people that share a common language can just not share a common understanding of what a word like "pedagogy" means. From this thread, I feel like "pedagogy" isn't so much a different word on the two sides of the Atlantic like bonnet vs. hood of an automobile, but simply carries a different sense on each side.

I wondered why this may be so since I was under the impression that there were certifications in piano pedagogy in all three of RCM, ABRSM, and Trinity, but I checked right now and I have trouble even finding the ABRSM version of this and instead found this page which suggests they are only "gaining popularity", implying they aren't so popular. I note that Trinity's version also seems to just be called a "teaching diploma", and unless I am finding the wrong thing, both ABRSM and Trinity's "teaching diplomas" seem to not be specific to piano but generalized to all instruments.

On the other hand, it does appear that in North America, "pedagogy" is "a thing." The North American RCM piano pedagogy certification (as it is called in RCM instead of just "teaching") has a syllabus which is piano-specific and not generalized to all instruments.

For example, I'm looking at the piano-specific topics in the diploma include (from pp. 9 &12 of piano pedagogy syllabus): developing healthy technique and physiology, including posture, hand position, thumb movement, and finger movement; developing basic motor skills, technical control, finger strength, and hand independence; basic touches (legato and staccato); fingering strategies; approaches to tone production; stylistic awareness (teaching phrasing, articulation, ornamentation, pedaling, tempo rubato, and rhythmic flexibility specific to each style period and type of piece); introducing and teaching ornamentation; and developing dynamic range, voicing, and balance. These do seem rather specific to piano and not just general "music instrument learning" stuff.

I don't see anything like that level of piano-specific detail in what I can find on the ABRSM instrumental teaching certificates (and again, possibly I'm just looking in the wrong places). So now I'm really wondering if this pedagogy vs teach issue is one of those tomAto/tomaato things and people on this thread are not sharing a common understanding of "piano pedagogy" and "piano teaching" and whether it is the same thing or different things? Is this just a regionality issue in terminology? Or is this really a big deal in how things are done on one side of the Atlantic vs. the other?


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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
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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828660
03/19/19 12:35 PM
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I have trouble even finding the ABRSM version and instead found this page which suggests they are only "gaining popularity", implying they aren't so popular. I note that Trinity's version also seems to just be called a "teaching diploma", and unless I am finding the wrong thing, both ABRSM and Trinity's "teaching diplomas" seem to not be specific to piano but generalized to all instruments.


I may flesh this out later if I have the energy lol, but in summary ABRSM is the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. The exams have been around forever and the ABRSM diplomas are the gold standard of musical qualifications in the UK (although there are others that I would count as "gaining in popularity").

As far as I'm concerned pedagogy just isn't a word, full stop! It simply is not used in the UK in any context I've ever come across (except when translating from US material).

Actually this language/cultural barrier thing is really fascinating so I will come back to this later. Bear in mind I'm English born and bred, with no international connections like bennevis or others, and my music background is very very traditional in that sense.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/19/19 12:38 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828661
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Quote
ABRSM version and instead found this page which suggests they are only "gaining popularity", implying they aren't so popular. I note that Trinity's version also seems to just be called a "teaching diploma", and unless I am finding the wrong thing, both ABRSM and Trinity's "teaching diplomas" seem to not be specific to piano but generalized to all instruments.


I may flesh this out later if I have the energy lol, but in summary ABRSM is the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. The exams have been around forever and the ABRSM diplomas are the gold standard of musical qualifications in the UK (although there are others that I would count as "gaining in popularity").

Sorry, I should have been more clear. The webpage I referenced referred to the "teaching diplomas" of ABRSM as gaining in popularity. I was not implying ABRSM itself was gaining popularity as obviously that is already "popular," or as you say, the gold standard. In everything I wrote above, I was mainly talking about the respective teaching/pedagogy certifications and not the ABRSM, RCM, Trinity programs themselves.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828663
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Quote
ABRSM version and instead found this page which suggests they are only "gaining popularity", implying they aren't so popular. I note that Trinity's version also seems to just be called a "teaching diploma", and unless I am finding the wrong thing, both ABRSM and Trinity's "teaching diplomas" seem to not be specific to piano but generalized to all instruments.


I may flesh this out later if I have the energy lol, but in summary ABRSM is the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. The exams have been around forever and the ABRSM diplomas are the gold standard of musical qualifications in the UK (although there are others that I would count as "gaining in popularity").

Sorry, I should have been more clear. The webpage I referenced referred to the "teaching diplomas" of ABRSM as gaining in popularity. I was not implying ABRSM itself was gaining popularity as obviously that is already "popular," or as you say, the gold standard. In everything I wrote above, I was mainly talking about the respective teaching/pedagogy certifications and not the ABRSM, RCM, Trinity programs themselves.


But then both my first teachers (piano and violin), one of whom is now sadly dead and the other in her 80s, had teaching diplomas from the ABRSM. I'm sure they were teaching diplomas rather than general performance diplomas (although my piano teacher certainly had those too). I'll have to look at exactly what they say on their website. The DipABRSM I think is relatively new, as it used to be ARSM, LRSM and FRSM. I'm not sure what the rationale was for the change from "Associate" to the DipABRSM.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828669
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In British English, "pedagogue" has negative connotations.

I looked up my Collins Gem English Dictionary, "the world's best-selling pocket dictionary" (1994 edition).

It has just one entry for 'pedagogue': schoolteacher, esp. a pedantic one

Incidentally, I'm a man of the world cool, but that's exactly the impression I get when I hear someone use that word. It's uncool, out of date (like corporal punishment and writing lines), musty, mouldy even. Like Mr Chips grin:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GZEsFx5vWc

In fact, the only time I remember that word being used in a text was in relation to the old-school Russian pedagogues like Neuhaus (in the book 'Great Russian Pianists', translated from Russian). Until old-school teachers in PW started throwing that word (and their weight) around, with the implication that any teacher who hasn't studied "pedagogy" should be ashamed of herself........

So, for those of us brought up on British English, let's just think of the word "teaching". Therefore, to translate to US-speak, every teacher is a 'pedagogue', and has studied 'pedagogy' if she has had training and/or studied the subject she is teaching. thumb


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: bennevis] #2828677
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Originally Posted by bennevis
So, for those of us brought up on British English, let's just think of the word "teaching". Therefore, to translate to US-speak, every teacher is a 'pedagogue', and has studied 'pedagogy' if she has had training and/or studied the subject she is teaching. thumb

OK. So this explains one of the "hot spots" in this thread. The entire denotation and connotation of "pedagogy" and whether that is different from just plain old "teaching."

But I raised another point, which is that RCM has a piano-specific pedagogy certification. I don't see anything piano-specific with regard to "teaching" in ABRSM or Trinity. Is it just not there, or have I looked in the wrong place? The ABRSM and Trinity certifications seem to be teaching of any or all musical instruments. More of a generic music teacher certification. Yes, no?


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828680
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
So, for those of us brought up on British English, let's just think of the word "teaching". Therefore, to translate to US-speak, every teacher is a 'pedagogue', and has studied 'pedagogy' if she has had training and/or studied the subject she is teaching. thumb

OK. So this explains one of the "hot spots" in this thread. The entire denotation and connotation of "pedagogy" and whether that is different from just plain old "teaching."

But I raised another point, which is that RCM has a piano-specific pedagogy certification. I don't see anything piano-specific with regard to "teaching" in ABRSM or Trinity. Is it just not there, or have I looked in the wrong place? The ABRSM and Trinity certifications seem to be teaching of any or all musical instruments. More of a generic music teacher certification. Yes, no?


You've looked in the wrong place. :-) I'll hunt it out for you shortly.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828686
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by bennevis
So, for those of us brought up on British English, let's just think of the word "teaching". Therefore, to translate to US-speak, every teacher is a 'pedagogue', and has studied 'pedagogy' if she has had training and/or studied the subject she is teaching. thumb

OK. So this explains one of the "hot spots" in this thread. The entire denotation and connotation of "pedagogy" and whether that is different from just plain old "teaching."

But I raised another point, which is that RCM has a piano-specific pedagogy certification. I don't see anything piano-specific with regard to "teaching" in ABRSM or Trinity. Is it just not there, or have I looked in the wrong place? The ABRSM and Trinity certifications seem to be teaching of any or all musical instruments. More of a generic music teacher certification. Yes, no?


OK, I can see that it reads that way, but you gain the diploma with a specialism in one specific instrument. Not least because you have to meet stringent prerequisites. Obviously there are general principles that apply across the disciplines but the exams are specific to the chosen instrument. If you follow the links you can see the full syllabus and you’ll note that “pedagogy” (OK so it is a real word 😉) is just one of many things listed under the section “Teaching Skills”. You’ll also see there’s an extensive diploma reading list covering general performance, general teaching, and instrument specific reading matter in both those areas.

I wonder if it’s clearer now, when people have read all the requirements, why I have been confused that someone studying the subject matter for this diploma could be dismissed as knowing nothing at all about teaching?

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/19/19 01:55 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828687
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This is the ABRSM diploma syllabus and requirements for instrumental/vocal teaching:

https://gb.abrsm.org/fileadmin/user_upload/syllabuses/Teaching_dip_2017.pdf

You can see that the teaching skills required are similar for all teaching but there are also instrument-specific requirements.


For comparison, this is the syllabus for performance:

https://gb.abrsm.org/fileadmin/user_upload/PDFs/Diploma_Performance_Syllabus_WEB.pdf


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828700
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For example, I'm looking at the piano-specific topics in the diploma include (from pp. 9 &12 of piano pedagogy syllabus): developing healthy technique and physiology, including posture, hand position, thumb movement, and finger movement; developing basic motor skills, technical control, finger strength, and hand independence; basic touches (legato and staccato); fingering strategies; approaches to tone production; stylistic awareness (teaching phrasing, articulation, ornamentation, pedaling, tempo rubato, and rhythmic flexibility specific to each style period and type of piece); introducing and teaching ornamentation; and developing dynamic range, voicing, and balance. These do seem rather specific to piano and not just general "music instrument learning" stuff.

I don't see anything like that level of piano-specific detail in what I can find on the ABRSM instrumental teaching certificates (and again, possibly I'm just looking in the wrong places). So now I'm really wondering if this pedagogy vs teach issue is one of those tomAto/tomaato things and people on this thread are not sharing a common understanding of "piano pedagogy" and "piano teaching" and whether it is the same thing or different things? Is this just a regionality issue in terminology? Or is this really a big deal in how things are done on one side of the Atlantic vs. the other?


So basically I think the difference is that the ABRSM syllabus doesn’t spell these things out, but it is implicit in the whole Teaching Skills section, here (describing typical areas covered by the viva voce):

Musical outlook: questions designed to put you at ease and to lead into the discussion, including: identification of the materials brought to the exam; knowledge of the underlying concepts and principles associated with your instrument.
Technique: knowledge and understanding of the techniques required to perform repertoire up to and including ABRSM Grade 6, and demonstration of approaches to teaching and performing them at this level, including posture, intonation, scales and exercises, tone production, articulation and phrasing.
Pedagogy: knowledge and understanding of the teaching and learning process, including: appropriate strategies for teaching individuals and (where appropriate) groups, and awareness of different learning styles; lesson planning, content and structure; assessment issues and reflective practice; teaching musicianship and instrumental/performance skills; practice; motivation.
Written Submission: points of clarification, discussion of the topic chosen and the sources used.
Repertoire: knowledge of repertoire for students up to and including ABRSM Grade 6 level, including tutor books, exercises and other teaching resources.
Style and interpretation: knowledge and understanding of musical styles and the interpretation of notation in order to produce stylistically aware performances, as well as demonstrations of how these can be taught to pupils up to and including ABRSM Grade 6 level.
History and background of the instrument/voice: knowledge of the main (construction) features of the instrument/voice and how it has developed over time.
Professional values and practice: understanding of the legal framework relating to
teaching, including child protection, maintaining a safe learning environment, the
physical well-being of pupils, and equal opportunities for all learners.
Any further points you wish to draw to the examiners’ attention before the
conclusion.

And anyone doing the most cursory preparation for this exam would surely understand that this includes all the concepts you list Tyrone and much more besides.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/19/19 02:33 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2828711
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
And anyone doing the most cursory preparation for this exam would surely understand that this includes all the concepts you list Tyrone and much more besides.

Yes, although I can't properly judge if it is fully comprehensive, since I'm not a teacher myself, that does indeed sound to me like a long list of general teaching-related topics and skills, and I imagine with the specialization in piano, this curriculum gets into the piano-specific topics that I listed too from RCM, like teaching fingering strategies, developing dynamic range, etc.


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: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2828719
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by ShyPianist
And anyone doing the most cursory preparation for this exam would surely understand that this includes all the concepts you list Tyrone and much more besides.

Yes, although I can't properly judge if it is fully comprehensive, since I'm not a teacher myself, that does indeed sound to me like a long list of general teaching-related topics and skills, and I imagine with the specialization in piano, this curriculum gets into the piano-specific topics that I listed too from RCM, like teaching fingering strategies, developing dynamic range, etc.


Of course, but it’s not spoon fed. There is no comprehensive list of piano-specific skills, but if you rocked up for the diploma exam and it was clear you didn’t know that stuff you simply wouldn’t pass.

So basically, going back to the central debate, yes I believe that working through the reading list and beyond for this syllabus with a mind to learning about all these topics is probably better than asking the local piano teacher for a couple of pedagogy lessons.

Last edited by ShyPianist; 03/19/19 03:13 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2829077
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A few years ago I came across a set of YouTube videos posted by Mario Ajero in the US. You can do a search on the name on YouTube and his videos would come up including starting piano lessons for children.

He is a father with a degree in piano pedagogy and a piano teacher to his children (Antonio "Nio" and Olivia). I watched some of their videos including piano recitals, father & son playing piano duets. It is assumed a parent teaching their kids is harder than strangers but Mario has done a wonderful job.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: thepianoplayer416] #2829967
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Interesting, thank you. :-)


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2830555
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Hi there ShyPianist,

smile
I thought you might find the Artistry at the Piano series interesting to add to your collection, especially since your son is 12.

https://artistryalliance.net/


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: hello my name is] #2844580
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Originally Posted by hello my name is
Hi there ShyPianist,

smile
I thought you might find the Artistry at the Piano series interesting to add to your collection, especially since your son is 12.

https://artistryalliance.net/


Hi, I’ve just seen this. I’ll take a look, thank you.


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2850508
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What a great thread! Take a bow, ShyPianist, for taking the time to do this with your son. Just want to wish you and your son the best in this endeavor. No matter how it comes out pianistically, you're both winners for the time you spend together. Over and out.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: BigIslandGuy] #2850511
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Originally Posted by BigIslandGuy
What a great thread! Take a bow, ShyPianist, for taking the time to do this with your son. Just want to wish you and your son the best in this endeavor. No matter how it comes out pianistically, you're both winners for the time you spend together. Over and out.


Thank you so much!


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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2853906
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Originally Posted by ShyPianist
Originally Posted by Candywoman

ShyPianist: Some of the knowledge I'm talking about you could conceivably learn on your own, but could learn faster from a piano teacher.


Yes and no. What I categorically don't want is to learn one person's method of teaching. I want to appraise all the information and research there is out there (as much as possible) and form my own judgements. That's what widespread reading and personal experience can do, and attending CPD courses if that's possible, and what learning from one single teacher would most probably not do. I agree a mentor could certainly be helpful, but not simply a local piano teacher because who's to say they are any more qualified to teach me about teaching than I am myself? So I need to find a teacher who takes people up to diploma level and beyond. Those are normally affiliated to music colleges and I am hundreds of miles away from one of those. So I expect you now understand the issues. As I said there is very clearly a big culture difference between the USA and the UK in this respect.


By the way, I relate to you in this area quite a bit. And I'm telling you, it's a big world out there! I spent an entire year immersed in forums, Facebook groups, collecting materials and books, finding role models, figuring out how they taught what they taught, because I can't remember what 5 year old me learned and you find out that all these things that come so naturally and intuitively to you now have to be taught and how in the world do you do that?! It was quite an adventure finding out why in the world all these methods existed and for all intents and purposes, pedagogy does not necessarily exclude informal study! Piano pedagogy is the study of teaching piano, which is exactly what you are doing. It does take a lot of time. I was working part-time that year so I had a lot of time to devote to research.... Different students have different areas of weakness and it will be easier for you since it's just your child and you know your child's particularities. I had a sassy transfer teenager who in so many words told me the fingering I wanted her to use "hurt" instead of whatever funny thing she came up with and... ugh.. here I am like, what do you mean, it hurts?! I have never had that problem! I also realized, fingering, not an area I've spent much time thinking or learning about....

I love Irina Gorin's work particularly for teaching young beginners and I think it is exemplified well by her students' beautiful playing. She has a number of videos showing how she teaches certain skills, perhaps you'd find helpful.

Piano Safari is also an up and coming new method that I find very intriguing.

Have fun!







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Piano Safari is also an up and coming new method that I find very intriguing.


I love Piano Safari! smile

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