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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827495 03/16/19 08:26 AM
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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 03/16/19 01:04 PM
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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 03/16/19 07:45 PM
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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 03/17/19 04:05 AM
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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 03/17/19 08:42 AM
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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 03/17/19 08:50 AM
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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 03/17/19 08:56 AM
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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


"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: malkin] #2827860 03/17/19 12:27 PM
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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 12:35 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827883 03/17/19 01:45 PM
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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 03/17/19 02:29 PM
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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 02:34 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827909 03/17/19 02:45 PM
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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 02:49 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827916 03/17/19 03:06 PM
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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 03:07 PM.
Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827919 03/17/19 03:14 PM
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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.

Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827922 03/17/19 03:22 PM
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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 03/17/19 03:24 PM
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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 03:26 PM.

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Re: Teaching my 12 year old and some general questions [Re: ShyPianist] #2827929 03/17/19 03:38 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......


"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] #2827934 03/17/19 03:48 PM
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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 03/17/19 03:59 PM
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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 03/17/19 05:00 PM
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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 03/17/19 07:42 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. 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.


Private piano teacher
B. Mus., M.Mus. (piano performance & pedagogy).
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