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Always build up, never break down. #2843617
04/30/19 12:59 AM
04/30/19 12:59 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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I thought I would share this post as something teachers of all disciplines should meditate upon when dealing with their students and something students can consider to help them measure the relationship they have with their teacher. The original post can be found here: https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=65615.0


The best teachers I have come across not only in terms of music are those who have built me up first without breaking me down. This is the sign of the "good fruits" of a good teacher that they will build you up without dismantling your current abilities or make you feel a failure or that you have wasted your time in the past or that anything you learned in the past cannot help you in the future. They will meet you at your level and build you up.

A poor teacher will ignore your past and expect you to recreate yourself immediately and if you are unable you are left feeling a failure and it is all your fault. You feel guilty, stupid, useless, nothing is able to be built up because you are so distraught that what you had before is useless. The teacher will blame you for your inability to recreate yourself or keep up with their regieme, they are unbending in the way they teach if you cannot follow their method "to the t" then you simply are not worthy of improving. They ignore your personal journey, they have no sensitivity to connect with that.

A good teacher will appreciate your past and get to know you, they will be interested in how you function and what you do. They will not copy paste their ideas of mastery over the top of you. They actively work against your negative feelings about yourself, they build your morale up, they make you aware of your strenghts and use that to build you up further. They will not focus on your weaknesses and make you feel bad for having them, in the process of building you up and actually liking you for what you bring to the lesson, you will feel secure and relax into their advice and teaching.

As you relax into the relationship with your teacher you will be able to make changes and improve upon your weaknesses, not by smashing them down and forgetting about them, but by first building you up to such a point where then you are able to reevaluate your situation with more insight, more confidence, no more traps before you. You relax because they have built you up and you feel good, you have tasted the fruits of their good teaching and it has opened your mind in a kind, constructive manner with no sense of destruction or feelings of incompetance.


Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 04/30/19 01:00 AM.

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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844508
05/02/19 02:53 PM
05/02/19 02:53 PM
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Andamento Offline
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Quote
They will not copy paste their ideas of mastery over the top of you.


What do you mean by this?

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844514
05/02/19 03:14 PM
05/02/19 03:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,170
Orange County, CA
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My god, I guess I'm the worst teacher in the world.

I love smashing. Smash smash smash. You can't rebuild unless you smash.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844515
05/02/19 03:15 PM
05/02/19 03:15 PM
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Moscow, Russia
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Iaroslav Vasiliev Online content
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A brilliant post!

Let me add this: a good teacher shows you a world of possibilities and lets you choose your own way.

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844524
05/02/19 03:50 PM
05/02/19 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
...they make you aware of your strenghts [sic] and use that to build you up further. They will not focus on your weaknesses and make you feel bad for having them, in the process of building you up...


There has to be some focus on your weaknesses in order to build you up into a skilled player. If all you hear about are your strengths, that doesn't take you anywhere musically.

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Andamento] #2844531
05/02/19 04:00 PM
05/02/19 04:00 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,170
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by Andamento
There has to be some focus on your weaknesses in order to build you up into a skilled player. If all you hear about are your strengths, that doesn't take you anywhere musically.

I agree with that.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: AZNpiano] #2844542
05/02/19 04:21 PM
05/02/19 04:21 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
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keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
My god, I guess I'm the worst teacher in the world.

I love smashing. Smash smash smash. You can't rebuild unless you smash.

Can you explain, in the context of the original post, so that it doesn't come across as it does at present?

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: keystring] #2844552
05/02/19 04:45 PM
05/02/19 04:45 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,170
Orange County, CA
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Originally Posted by keystring
Can you explain, in the context of the original post, so that it doesn't come across as it does at present?

I'm not sure what you mean by "so that it doesn't come across as it does at present" since it may come across as anything to anybody.

If you have seen as many Transfer Wrecks as I have, you'll know that smashing is--90% of the time--the only way to combat ignorance and stupidity.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Andamento] #2844654
05/03/19 12:51 AM
05/03/19 12:51 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Andamento
Quote
They will not copy paste their ideas of mastery over the top of you.


What do you mean by this?

Sometimes teachers can have an idea of mastery that a student should achieve and drill for extended periods of time until that student achieve it, the teacher neglects that the students capability perhaps cannot efficiently match that image of mastery. Most of the times these kind of improvements if forced encourage a "parroting" of ideas rather than an intrinsic undertsanding. The building up of the student to that ideal can be done while considering the students current capabilities and a step wise improvement over long term. Of course some issues can be solved quickly but to consider that all problems can be done like this can be quite limiting and demotivating to students who struggle who may feel a failure for not being able to jump through that hoop fast enough and thus avoiding this copy/paste action is encouraged.

Originally Posted by AZNpiano
My god, I guess I'm the worst teacher in the world.
I love smashing. Smash smash smash. You can't rebuild unless you smash.

I guess some students are open to such demolition but it does help to consider how things were done in the past and build from this, afterall I feel that the student is an individual creative being not a robot to be programmed. I have had student who had many years lessons before they come to me wonder why they struggle with certain issues and if I judge that it is because the method they are using is very inefficient I cannot simply "pull the rug from under their feet" so to say, it needs to be done in a more sensitive manner often because demoralizing them with the fact they might have wasted years doing something inefficient just puts emotional obstacles in the way of future improvement. When we investigate their ability we consider the way in which they currently manage something and build from there rather than neglect their method and simply paste over new ideas. I find that improved ideas are often more deeply appreciated, acknowledged and trusted if they improve upon and compare with previous understandings.


Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
A brilliant post!

Let me add this: a good teacher shows you a world of possibilities and lets you choose your own way.

Very good Iaroslav I agree completely. There are so many pathways to take musically we should not strangle any sense of creativity and choice that students may have. Some students may not have any idea what direction to take and then it is our responsibility to build them up with experiences so they can start making creative choices and start to command their musical direction.

Originally Posted by Andamento
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
...they make you aware of your strenghts [sic] and use that to build you up further. They will not focus on your weaknesses and make you feel bad for having them, in the process of building you up...


There has to be some focus on your weaknesses in order to build you up into a skilled player. If all you hear about are your strengths, that doesn't take you anywhere musically.

Yes I agree my point was the AND part. We do focus on their weaknesses but how do we do it in a kind compassionate way, a way in which makes the student not believe that all their efforts in the past have been wasted, a truly demoralizing realisation. I believe very strongly that doing things not totally correct is not a problem, there are many teachers who fear that bad habits are difficult to change I disagree with this irrational fear, from not doing something so good you can truly understand a better path when comparing the two, by doing this by building upon your past experiences you really do understand why it is better rather than simply copying ideas of mastery without comparisions, the lesson becomes much deeper appreciated and ingrained.



Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/03/19 01:00 AM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844658
05/03/19 01:30 AM
05/03/19 01:30 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,170
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
I guess some students are open to such demolition but it does help to consider how things were done in the past and build from this, afterall I feel that the student is an individual creative being not a robot to be programmed. I have had student who had many years lessons before they come to me wonder why they struggle with certain issues and if I judge that it is because the method they are using is very inefficient I cannot simply "pull the rug from under their feet" so to say, it needs to be done in a more sensitive manner often because demoralizing them with the fact they might have wasted years doing something inefficient just puts emotional obstacles in the way of future improvement. When we investigate their ability we consider the way in which they currently manage something and build from there rather than neglect their method and simply paste over new ideas. I find that improved ideas are often more deeply appreciated, acknowledged and trusted if they improve upon and compare with previous understandings.

If students have "emotional obstacles" and feel "demoralizing," then they need to seek out a shrink, not a piano teacher.

What does any of this have to do with programming a robot? That metaphor does not apply.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: AZNpiano] #2844702
05/03/19 07:20 AM
05/03/19 07:20 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,940
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Can you explain, in the context of the original post, so that it doesn't come across as it does at present?

I'm not sure what you mean by "so that it doesn't come across as it does at present" since it may come across as anything to anybody.

If you have seen as many Transfer Wrecks as I have, you'll know that smashing is--90% of the time--the only way to combat ignorance and stupidity.

When you get a student who has self-taught or had bad teaching, they come to you thinking they can just keep progressing and building on their shaky foundation. The problem is that those bad habits need to be gone before real building can begin.

This can not only be a change in how they play, but their attitude and teachability, too. But you don't apply it automatically to everyone. I always try first to discuss with them what the problem is, and that they need to forget what they (think they) know anything about piano. Then we can build.

Last edited by Morodiene; 05/03/19 07:24 AM.

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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: AZNpiano] #2844706
05/03/19 07:27 AM
05/03/19 07:27 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Lostinidlewonder  Offline OP
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West Australia
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
I guess some students are open to such demolition but it does help to consider how things were done in the past and build from this, afterall I feel that the student is an individual creative being not a robot to be programmed. I have had student who had many years lessons before they come to me wonder why they struggle with certain issues and if I judge that it is because the method they are using is very inefficient I cannot simply "pull the rug from under their feet" so to say, it needs to be done in a more sensitive manner often because demoralizing them with the fact they might have wasted years doing something inefficient just puts emotional obstacles in the way of future improvement. When we investigate their ability we consider the way in which they currently manage something and build from there rather than neglect their method and simply paste over new ideas. I find that improved ideas are often more deeply appreciated, acknowledged and trusted if they improve upon and compare with previous understandings.

If students have "emotional obstacles" and feel "demoralizing," then they need to seek out a shrink, not a piano teacher.

What does any of this have to do with programming a robot? That metaphor does not apply.

Well that is your position I am not here to change your mind over anything, perhaps you haven't noticed how the emotional state of a student effects their learning. I tried to elaborate as best to my ability as to what it meant to program a student with copy paste methodology, if you are caught up over the word "robot" then change it with something else which describes a situation where you ignore a students personal situation and merely copy paste ideas of mastery into them, instructions which to me look akin to programming a robot. If you can teach without worrying about the emotional states of your students congratulations start a thread which promotes this.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/03/19 07:29 AM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844719
05/03/19 08:10 AM
05/03/19 08:10 AM
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Posts: 131
Canada
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The context of the original post is unclear to me. Is the OP a teacher? Or a student? What's the motivation behind the essay?
I haven't participated in the discussion so far, because I'm not sure what the issue is. Of course, treat your students like human beings-- that seems self-evident to me.


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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: pianist_lady] #2844720
05/03/19 08:12 AM
05/03/19 08:12 AM
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Posts: 5,501
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Originally Posted by pianist_lady
Is the OP a teacher? Or a student?

The OP declares themselves to be a concert pianist and piano teacher on their PW profile, so that starting point can just be assumed.


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: Always build up, never break down. [Re: pianist_lady] #2844732
05/03/19 09:24 AM
05/03/19 09:24 AM
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Posts: 4,295
Virginia, USA
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TimR Offline
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Originally Posted by pianist_lady
The context of the original post is unclear to me. Is the OP a teacher? Or a student? What's the motivation behind the essay?



the OP is a teacher whose posts seem to show an in depth knowledge of repertoire, among other things.

I do not generally engage in his threads because he never uses one word when ten will do, and I don't have the patience. But I do believe that he has considerable teaching history and is posting based on his experiences. .


gotta go practice
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: pianist_lady] #2844733
05/03/19 09:25 AM
05/03/19 09:25 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by pianist_lady
The context of the original post is unclear to me. Is the OP a teacher? Or a student? What's the motivation behind the essay?
I haven't participated in the discussion so far, because I'm not sure what the issue is. Of course, treat your students like human beings-- that seems self-evident to me.

Yes I posted here on the teacher board as a teacher of piano for over 25 years. I guess my opening post poses some question as to what it means to actually treat students as emtional beings, this has many answers and I hoped that my opening post provokes thought. A transfer student who has spent years and much money on lessons who you evaluate as having many bad issues will not benefit from you telling them they wasted their time with poor teaching, bad habits, poor technique etc etc, instead it is useful to take all their experience from their past which they have taken into their current capability and use that as a positive power for change, something we can use to recreate them and further their development, nothing is wasted.

How we can be sensitive to building up a student in many ways rather than focusing on critique and tearing down their past experiences, that the process of building up will cause significant changes without aggressive forcing of the issue. A large responsibility of the teacher is to help the student come to terms with their own capabilities and be comfortable with it, as teachers we should encourage them to reach for their personal stars but at the same time avoid them feeling a failure if they can only hit lower targets. With transfer students or self learning students we should avoid denegrating their past experiences if we evaluate them as ineffective, instead we should use those experiences to further encourage development of their their ability, we build them up to such a point that they can reevaluate their situation and compare it with their past without us doing it abruptly, telling them to forget and simply replace with what we demand of them. If we take time to investigate how they work and tinker with that we can make quite intrinsic changes in them rather than ignoring it all and merely training them to replace their ideas with your own.


"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: TimR] #2844734
05/03/19 09:27 AM
05/03/19 09:27 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by pianist_lady
The context of the original post is unclear to me. Is the OP a teacher? Or a student? What's the motivation behind the essay?



the OP is a teacher whose posts seem to show an in depth knowledge of repertoire, among other things.

I do not generally engage in his threads because he never uses one word when ten will do, and I don't have the patience. But I do believe that he has considerable teaching history and is posting based on his experiences. .

Thanks TimR, I appreciate your critique that I type a lot, that is just my style, I think and I type, probably should hire someone to edit my posts and make them shorter :P I do delete a lot of what I write when I self edit because I know I do ramble a bit, I try though, we are not all perfect eheh. I also realized that pianoworld doesn't allow editing posts after a certian time so I would indeed delete some superflous comments but no longer have the ability to do so -_-

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/03/19 09:36 AM.

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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844750
05/03/19 10:30 AM
05/03/19 10:30 AM
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Not sure what this preachy thread is about, but I prefer smashing to building.

It’s much more fun, and why learn piano 🎹 if it isn’t fun?👿


"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: Always build up, never break down. [Re: bennevis] #2844758
05/03/19 10:52 AM
05/03/19 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Not sure what this preachy thread is about, but I prefer smashing to building.

It’s much more fun, and why learn piano 🎹 if it isn’t fun?👿

Quote
"Can we make the bad man fly?"

- said by Robin Arryn in the show Game of Throne


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: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844764
05/03/19 11:17 AM
05/03/19 11:17 AM
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Posts: 16,940
Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
Originally Posted by pianist_lady
The context of the original post is unclear to me. Is the OP a teacher? Or a student? What's the motivation behind the essay?
I haven't participated in the discussion so far, because I'm not sure what the issue is. Of course, treat your students like human beings-- that seems self-evident to me.

Yes I posted here on the teacher board as a teacher of piano for over 25 years. I guess my opening post poses some question as to what it means to actually treat students as emtional beings, this has many answers and I hoped that my opening post provokes thought. A transfer student who has spent years and much money on lessons who you evaluate as having many bad issues will not benefit from you telling them they wasted their time with poor teaching, bad habits, poor technique etc etc, instead it is useful to take all their experience from their past which they have taken into their current capability and use that as a positive power for change, something we can use to recreate them and further their development, nothing is wasted.

How we can be sensitive to building up a student in many ways rather than focusing on critique and tearing down their past experiences, that the process of building up will cause significant changes without aggressive forcing of the issue. A large responsibility of the teacher is to help the student come to terms with their own capabilities and be comfortable with it, as teachers we should encourage them to reach for their personal stars but at the same time avoid them feeling a failure if they can only hit lower targets. With transfer students or self learning students we should avoid denegrating their past experiences if we evaluate them as ineffective, instead we should use those experiences to further encourage development of their their ability, we build them up to such a point that they can reevaluate their situation and compare it with their past without us doing it abruptly, telling them to forget and simply replace with what we demand of them. If we take time to investigate how they work and tinker with that we can make quite intrinsic changes in them rather than ignoring it all and merely training them to replace their ideas with your own.

So let's take a hypothetical scenario and apply this:

You have a transfer student who has had say 4 years of lessons from another teacher who taught them by rote. They do not know how to read any music, but they want to play classical and can play early advanced repertoire with poor technique and poor fingering, and zero interpretation (or you can tell it's whatever their teacher taught them to do).

Do you just continue to teach them by rote? Or do you have a talk with them explaining what the problem is, and that they need remedial work in order to be able to achieve their goals?

IMO, students are paying me for my expertise. If I don't give it to them, I'm not doing my job. If they don't like what I'm giving, then I'm not the right teacher for them and they should find one who is. I don't see this as robotic or copy/pasta, but it's my experience that students who can read music become better classical pianists because they can develop their own interpretation of the music rather than copying their teacher's or someone on Youtube.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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