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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844769
05/03/19 11:24 AM
05/03/19 11:24 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 991
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline
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LOL, nothing ever changes here.


Lisa

Currently working on RCM 7 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP, Kawai KDP110

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Morodiene] #2844788
05/03/19 12:02 PM
05/03/19 12:02 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Posts: 184
West Australia
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?👿

Perhaps the points of the opening post goes over your head or are of no interest to you, being "preachy" is not my intention one bit, I am sharing some knowledge that I find quite useful, I don't intend my posts to be ubiquitous in appeal in any case.



Originally Posted by Morodiene

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?

You weigh the benefits they gained from learning by rote and all the skills they achieved from that study. You measure their memorisation capabilities and how they have visualized learning their music while learning by rote. You then connect these skills to whatever you feel needs developing eg: reading sheet music. Some students I have come across resist wanting to studying reading and in fact have no interest in doing so (even though I think it is a very important skill). Rote skills are not mutually exclusive to other skills that they can develop, at least I don't see a total separation and could easily bind it to new skills, building upon what they have without destroying it.

I will not force this upon them if it isn't what they want though I will surely make inroads into them accepting it as something they WANT to develop and with your example I would be encouraged to trick them into reading type skills connected to their rote learning, I already write a whole lot I don't want to explore examples or I will end up writing too much. Once you can make them want to develop it you can be more confident in their application and attitude towards practice outside of the lesson environment and I feel this is of critical importance. Many teacher throw their hands up and wonder why their students are not practicing, well if you give them work which they dont WANT but NEED you can often corner yourself into an unresolvable problem with them resisting practice.

Originally Posted by ebonykawai
LOL, nothing ever changes here.

That is some kind of "riddle post" that is beyond me since I don't hang around here as much as others to notice things that change or not lol.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/03/19 12:09 PM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844803
05/03/19 12:48 PM
05/03/19 12:48 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 352
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline
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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder

Perhaps the points of the opening post goes over your head or are of no interest to you, being "preachy" is not my intention one bit, I am sharing some knowledge that I find quite useful, I don't intend my posts to be ubiquitous in appeal in any case.


I also found it preachy - and inauthentic. Quite frankly, I was convinced you were another one of the trolls and quacks that occasionally bedevil this forum.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844812
05/03/19 01:26 PM
05/03/19 01:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,022
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder



Originally Posted by Morodiene

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?

You weigh the benefits they gained from learning by rote and all the skills they achieved from that study. You measure their memorisation capabilities and how they have visualized learning their music while learning by rote. You then connect these skills to whatever you feel needs developing eg: reading sheet music. Some students I have come across resist wanting to studying reading and in fact have no interest in doing so (even though I think it is a very important skill). Rote skills are not mutually exclusive to other skills that they can develop, at least I don't see a total separation and could easily bind it to new skills, building upon what they have without destroying it.

I will not force this upon them if it isn't what they want though I will surely make inroads into them accepting it as something they WANT to develop and with your example I would be encouraged to trick them into reading type skills connected to their rote learning, I already write a whole lot I don't want to explore examples or I will end up writing too much. Once you can make them want to develop it you can be more confident in their application and attitude towards practice outside of the lesson environment and I feel this is of critical importance. Many teacher throw their hands up and wonder why their students are not practicing, well if you give them work which they dont WANT but NEED you can often corner yourself into an unresolvable problem with them resisting practice.



It's not an either/or thing, IMO. Your OP assumes that if a teacher tells a student something negative about what they previously learned that is hindering them from achieving their goals, that they are tearing down and that is automatically bad. But it's not so black and white as that. Are there abusive teachers? Yes. I don't think you'll find them wasting their precious time on a forum talking about teaching.

I had a student just like in the above scenario. I talked with him about the benefits of being able to read music, and he agreed. I gave him some easier classical pieces that he could learn by ear but use the score to assist him with practice techniques, fingering, and learning to read. He never practiced and ultimately quit piano, because in the end, he didn't want to do the work.

Ever since then, I tell students upfront what I want to do, and we go all the way back. They can learn La Campanella on synthesia if they want to on their own time, but in their lessons, we work on learning to read from the ground up. If they're not interested, then they don't need me. I try to give them supplemental music that they would enjoy playing to make it more tolerable, but in order for it to go as quickly as possible (and get it over with), they do need to focus. This latter approach has a far better track record than the former in my experience.

In the end, each teacher has to teach in a manner they feel is best.

Last edited by Morodiene; 05/03/19 01:27 PM.

private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844818
05/03/19 01:35 PM
05/03/19 01:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,229
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
Rote skills are not mutually exclusive to other skills that they can develop, at least I don't see a total separation and could easily bind it to new skills, building upon what they have without destroying it.

Wow, I don't know what to say.

If you see something wrong, you tell the student. It doesn't have to involve harsh language or destructive attitude. Why do you think it's important to keep something wrong and build around it? I have students that resist reading, too. When given a chance, kids tend to take the path of least resistance. I don't let these kids get away with it.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: AZNpiano] #2844847
05/03/19 03:31 PM
05/03/19 03:31 PM
Joined: May 2016
Posts: 1,252
Moscow, Russia
I
Iaroslav Vasiliev 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.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
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.

Interesting. I've read that in some elite British universities there is a pedagogical method in use that is based on humiliation. Every student there has a personal mentor - a professor, who has conversations with the student from time to time. During those conversations the main (unofficial) task of a professor is to show the student that he knows nothing and all what he thinks he knows is wrong, inaccurate or incomplete, and to humiliate the student to the point when his/her pride is deeply hurt, because hurt pride is considered there the best stimulus for learning.

Is that your method?

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2844852
05/03/19 03:57 PM
05/03/19 03:57 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,229
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Is that your method?

No, but it does sound very interesting. Thanks for letting me know about it.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2844858
05/03/19 04:35 PM
05/03/19 04:35 PM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,558
Finland
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
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.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
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.

Interesting. I've read that in some elite British universities there is a pedagogical method in use that is based on humiliation. Every student there has a personal mentor - a professor, who has conversations with the student from time to time. During those conversations the main (unofficial) task of a professor is to show the student that he knows nothing and all what he thinks he knows is wrong, inaccurate or incomplete, and to humiliate the student to the point when his/her pride is deeply hurt, because hurt pride is considered there the best stimulus for learning.

That sort of method, if actually used, would only work on ambitious or overly diligent students...and if you use it on someone with a psychopatic personality, you might regret it later...

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: outo] #2844859
05/03/19 04:44 PM
05/03/19 04:44 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 4,563
Florida
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Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
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.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
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.

Interesting. I've read that in some elite British universities there is a pedagogical method in use that is based on humiliation. Every student there has a personal mentor - a professor, who has conversations with the student from time to time. During those conversations the main (unofficial) task of a professor is to show the student that he knows nothing and all what he thinks he knows is wrong, inaccurate or incomplete, and to humiliate the student to the point when his/her pride is deeply hurt, because hurt pride is considered there the best stimulus for learning.

That sort of method, if actually used, would only work on ambitious or overly diligent students...and if you use it on someone with a psychopatic personality, you might regret it later...


I’ve always been a diligent student, and that includes learning piano as an adult. But if someone used the bullying method on me, I would curl up into a ball and take up basket weaving instead of music. It is hard enough as it adult I have confidence in something you’re trying to do without someone trying to tear you down


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844862
05/03/19 04:52 PM
05/03/19 04:52 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 388
USA
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Andamento Offline
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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
We do focus on their weaknesses but how do we do it in a kind compassionate way...


This much I agree with.

Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
I believe very strongly that doing things not totally correct is not a problem...


Totally disagree with this. Undoing bad habits is a difficult trial for all involved. Morale goes way down when trying to repair damage. That's not building up the student.

It's so much simpler to start with a firm foundation of good technique, strong reading skills, and much more. If a student hasn't received that, the old needs to be done away with first. No one can build a solid edifice on crumbling ruins.

Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
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.


Honest, straightforward, dispassionate critique and building up go hand in hand. Teachers' critiques further the students' understanding of not only the "what"s of playing, but also the "why"s.

And "tearing down their past experiences" isn't synonymous with tearing down students. There's nothing bad about working to eliminate any detrimental habits that came from students' past experiences.

I personally would consider it unethical for myself to keep taking a students' money without trying to effect positive change in the student's knowledge and skill. That comes through critique, encouragement, and a whole variety of ways.

You're advocating a student-led approach. I (and others here) see the value in a teacher-led approach. Teacher-led isn't a dirty word describing someone who destroys a student's morale or fails to consider who each unique student is and how best to work with each student. It's simply a means of using one's expertise to help guide students in a beneficial-for-them way.

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: bennevis] #2844932
05/03/19 09:43 PM
05/03/19 09:43 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,207
Canada
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Not sure what this preachy thread is about, but I prefer smashing to building.


And you teach transfer students, undoing heavy damage? Or you teach? Or what point are you making?

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Andamento] #2844933
05/03/19 10:05 PM
05/03/19 10:05 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers

I also found it preachy - and inauthentic. Quite frankly, I was convinced you were another one of the trolls and quacks that occasionally bedevil this forum.

I can understand your paranoia as we get the same on pianostreet. You are welcome to see my interactions on that website to see that I am not what you fear. Though I find it difficult to see how anything I wrote in the opening post is something that represents "trolls and quacks and preaching" since I am sincere in sharing knowledge of teaching. I guess people on the internet like to use forums as a debate (you are wrong, I am right!) and competition, I have no time to really engage in that, I just want to share and if people don't appreciate that, well I feel sorry.

Originally Posted by Morodiene

It's not an either/or thing, IMO. Your OP assumes that if a teacher tells a student something negative about what they previously learned that is hindering them from achieving their goals, that they are tearing down and that is automatically bad.

I am not saying this at all. You can use bad experiences as a lesson to build better ones but to merely forget about them is what I am on about. How can one appreciate a better way if they do not closely compare it to how they did it before? How people did things before also has good fruits as well that we can take from it, it is not simply all bad or all good, how do we extract the good from it all and go on from there, how do we extract the bad and demonstrate a better methodology, something that will encourage the student to reevaluate and trust the better way more readily since they can compare.

Originally Posted by Morodiene

... I tell students upfront what I want to do, and we go all the way back. They can learn La Campanella on synthesia if they want to on their own time, but in their lessons, we work on learning to read from the ground up. If they're not interested, then they don't need me.

And this is fine as well as a teacher you have the right to choose exactly how you want to teach. For me I feel that if a student is resistant to some skill which is very important (such as sight reading) I need to make inroads into making them WANT to do so. This is often a long term procedure and key to my idea of building up without breaking down. Not all teachers want to engage in this kind of teaching and much prefer a student who will do as they say straight away, of course that is an easier journey but for me personally I like the tough nuts to crack, that is not to say that all teachers should be like this. I have had students with deep problems and have found joy through piano, the world is not filled with highly functioning perfect students and I do like to work with difficult cases, this is of course the extreme cases but the concept of building up without breaking down also applies to the best of students too, to make them deeply connect with teachings they otherwise would merely follow out of respect of our expertise.


Originally Posted by Morodiene

In the end, each teacher has to teach in a manner they feel is best.

Precisely and I understand not all teachers who read my opening post will understand or agree that is totally not my aim as I have said already in previous posts here. I merely want to share my ideology, it is not a competition or a boasting, or a "preaching" as some people fear, I sincerely want to share my decades of experience with something I find is kind hearted and very valuable. I'm a tough sort with many more years experience interacting on the internet so don't mind people trying to discredit my work, those that find benefit far outweigh that sort of activity I am sure.

Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
Rote skills are not mutually exclusive to other skills that they can develop, at least I don't see a total separation and could easily bind it to new skills, building upon what they have without destroying it.

If you see something wrong, you tell the student. It doesn't have to involve harsh language or destructive attitude. Why do you think it's important to keep something wrong and build around it? I have students that resist reading, too. When given a chance, kids tend to take the path of least resistance. I don't let these kids get away with it.

I haven't said anything about NOT telling a student is doing something wrong though learning by rote is not something that should be classified as wrong there are many skills that are developed through that. If we find something wrong there are kind ways about correcting it and smart ways of making them discover the correct answer themselves without us having to say "this is wrong, this is right" a self discovery makes the learning experience much more intrinsic and deep rooted. Yes kids can tend to try to get away with doing work but that doesn't mean we should force them into discipline, "sugar catches more flies than vinegar" and a child who trusts and enjoys you and doesn't see you as an authoritarian will appreciate and remember you for your lessons. Sure there is a fine line to not allow them to walk all over you and when I first taught piano I unknowingly let that happen!

Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
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.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
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.

Interesting. I've read that in some elite British universities there is a pedagogical method in use that is based on humiliation. Every student there has a personal mentor - a professor, who has conversations with the student from time to time. During those conversations the main (unofficial) task of a professor is to show the student that he knows nothing and all what he thinks he knows is wrong, inaccurate or incomplete, and to humiliate the student to the point when his/her pride is deeply hurt, because hurt pride is considered there the best stimulus for learning.

I know this is not directed at me but I had to comment. This account is quite horrific I think laroslav and I will have to look into that one! There are often only a small handful of teachers in our lifetime that we can say have deeply changed us for the better and made us look at life differently, none of them I think would fit this mould unless the student truly was a masochist!! I feel that my concept of tearing down is related to this kind of behavior but at many lesser extents, so this is quite an interesting account to me.

Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by outo
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
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.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
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.

Interesting. I've read that in some elite British universities there is a pedagogical method in use that is based on humiliation. Every student there has a personal mentor - a professor, who has conversations with the student from time to time. During those conversations the main (unofficial) task of a professor is to show the student that he knows nothing and all what he thinks he knows is wrong, inaccurate or incomplete, and to humiliate the student to the point when his/her pride is deeply hurt, because hurt pride is considered there the best stimulus for learning.

That sort of method, if actually used, would only work on ambitious or overly diligent students...and if you use it on someone with a psychopatic personality, you might regret it later...


I've always been a diligent student, and that includes learning piano as an adult. But if someone used the bullying method on me, I would curl up into a ball and take up basket weaving instead of music. It is hard enough as it adult I have confidence in something you're trying to do without someone trying to tear you down

Curling up in a ball and taking up basket weaving lol, that made me laugh dog :P I wonder how many teachers though to a much lesser extent do such things in the way they transfer knowledge to their students. Sure teachers can be very confident in the values of what they are teaching their students but they sometimes can forget the way in which it is projected towards them. I always hated authoritative teachers who simply believed they knew what was best for me, I remember dearly those who wanted to get to know me and how I worked and then kindly directed me to better pastures at my level never with a sense of dragging me up but walking side by side with me on the journey.

Originally Posted by Andamento

Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
I believe very strongly that doing things not totally correct is not a problem...


Totally disagree with this. Undoing bad habits is a difficult trial for all involved. Morale goes way down when trying to repair damage. That's not building up the student.

Though I find that using bad habits and comparing them to a better way often allows the student a journey into self realization as to what actually is better. From doing things inefficiently we can understand a more efficient method more readily because we have something to compare with, though sure I see some teachers who do not appreciate this and want to avoid such thing, that is their style, I just feel that there is certainly something important to learn from the other way.

Simply being told the correct way from the start can lead to a parroting of ideas without intrinsic understanding. Sometimes naturally a students technique will be rough and unrefined and it takes time for it to move towards mastery and we go on that long term journey with them. Again here is where I am quite different to some teachers, I have seen some who take their students hands and aid them into the ideal movements, I am not critiquing this but I feel that a student doesn't naturally understand it if I have to take their hand and move it. I can only remember my own experiences in this as a young child student and that it wasn't effective for me. I can remember this kind of teaching also when I learned sports and as soon as the tutor moved me into correct movements my body didn't really understand it naturally. So I build them up over a long period and I see students who I have taught for many years naturally build their technique and can solve problems in the future themselves rather than a student who has to be told what needs to be done.

Originally Posted by Andamento

It's so much simpler to start with a firm foundation of good technique, strong reading skills, and much more. If a student hasn't received that, the old needs to be done away with first. No one can build a solid edifice on crumbling ruins.

Yes though I find that having good technique naturally, something that they do from within themselves is not as easy as it seems, students can be very clever and do movements that we want from t hem but do they really understand what they are doing? I had a transfer students over the years who played with all "floaty" type movements with their playing mechanism and even though it looked pretty and their forearms, wrists and hands looked flexible I asked them why they did such things, they said it was because that is how they were taught to play for their last teacher, I asked them to play how they naturally would play and almost all the times such movements vanished.

Of course we must act against very bad movement immediately, like resting their wrists on the piano while playing (but even things like this can take a little time for some!!) but many other finer issues take time and we can overwhelm a student with corrections if it is all expected to be done from the beginning. It should be considered that it may be more efficient to learn music from a rougher technique and build from there over time rather than spend a lot of time forming what is correct. The more music a student learns the more experience they have with practice method and the more content they have to develop their technique, some issues simply will not allow themselves to be forced correct in a short space of time with an intrinsic understanding and we should keep the lessons moving onwards as delving into technique can be quite tiresome for many students who just want to get on with creating music. But of course each teacher has the right to teach how they want, I just want to pose some ideas to consider.

If we only observe how some of the great pianists have played we see that their posture and fingerings often go against what we teach as the norm. One only has to look at Glen Gould to gasp in horror at his sitting posture, or Horowitz for his flattened fingerings. Sure they were examples of genius and some may fear allowing students to do such things would be detrimental but the students own two hands has a journey to go through I feel and I will not force them into what I believe is the best but rather what is the best for their long term development and what encourages an intrinsic realization.

Originally Posted by Andamento

Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
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.

Honest, straightforward, dispassionate critique and building up go hand in hand. Teachers' critiques further the students' understanding of not only the "what"s of playing, but also the "why"s.


Yes sure I agree I take it a step further in that I will not say something they did before is wrong because in the process of building them up teaching what is right will make them aware of that themselves. In fact I feel that telling them something is wrong, inefficient or ineffective takes away that realization for themselves and here lies my subtle difference with some teachers. I am well aware of what they are doing is not so good but I will build them up to a point where they can realize that for themselves and I find no need to simply direct them to my critique no matter how it is packaged.


Originally Posted by Andamento

And "tearing down their past experiences" isn't synonymous with tearing down students. There's nothing bad about working to eliminate any detrimental habits that came from students' past experiences.

I feel that there is however a connection as a students experiences is a part of them and I personally take care in making changes which allow a change in the students which doesn't involve me forgetting about their past experience and using that in some way. I just find some teachers will simply ignore what has happened in the past and start teaching a new where we should be aware of their all their past methods and go on the journey with their students as they realize improvements to them and comparisons which delete them on their own. Guiding them on this journey is of great interest to me and often merely requires me to instigate or merely be aware of when they juxtaposition my teaching to what they did before.

Originally Posted by Andamento

I personally would consider it unethical for myself to keep taking a students' money without trying to effect positive change in the student's knowledge and skill. That comes through critique, encouragement, and a whole variety of ways.

Of course I haven't written up a detailed description or posted videos of my lessons online for others to observe and I am sure then you would realize that critique, encouragement is a part of my lessons. Critique however is packaged in many different ways which encourage a student to come to a realization for themselves rather than me forcing the issue, though of course there are times where I will draw their attention to consider something much more closely if I feel they have missed the mark. For instance if we are drilling practice method there is one part where I encourage students to play a phrase 3 times without errors in a row and if they make the slightest mistake their count goes back to 0, this has many benefits one for instance is to not consider practice in terms of time but in terms of achievement, I wont go into detail but in situations like this I am quite strict and say obvious YES NO critique and point out anything that is not correct. But this situation is in a safe and manageable small case scenario, if it is about much larger issues such as technique this can be a much more complicated beast to contend with over long term and I will not force ideologies of perfection. So how we measure out or critique and expectations change depending on the situations we are dealing with.

Originally Posted by Andamento

You're advocating a student-led approach. I (and others here) see the value in a teacher-led approach. Teacher-led isn't a dirty word describing someone who destroys a student's morale or fails to consider who each unique student is and how best to work with each student. It's simply a means of using one's expertise to help guide students in a beneficial-for-them way.

I am not sure what it means by "student-led approach" because as a teacher I am leading my students all the time but at the same time ensuring they are doing it mostly on their own too. I will not take away their ability to experiment by forcing them into a situation which I think is right but at the same time I will not allow them to do things totally on their own accord. So I find it difficult to consider lessons in terms of who is leading because the teacher and student both command how a lesson is done, I feel bias to one or the other can lead to problems.


Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/03/19 10:15 PM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: keystring] #2844940
05/03/19 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
Not sure what this preachy thread is about, but I prefer smashing to building.


And you teach transfer students, undoing heavy damage? Or you teach? Or what point are you making?
Actually, I save lives and teach life skills.


Is that enough for you?👺



"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] #2844949
05/03/19 10:40 PM
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Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by bennevis
.
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
Not sure what this preachy thread is about, but I prefer smashing to building.


And you teach transfer students, undoing heavy damage? Or you teach? Or what point are you making?
Actually, I save lives and teach life skills.


Is that enough for you?👺


If you teach a lot of students over many years you will eventually come across those who have had poor teaching in the past and who actually love the subject they studied but are quite sensitive and distraught over their past experiences. Some have given up study for many years because of the damage they have gone through and with only a speck of confidence seek lessons once more. Some might think these students need a psychologist or whatever but this is very short sighted and insensitive in my opinion. As a teacher I am in a "people job" and inherently I should be interested in people and their struggles of all types. Many teachers with years of experiences can attest that their job does indeed include many issues outside of just teaching their subject. If you connect with your student on a deeper level you become an ally to them and enjoy their journey through life on many levels which can be actually more rewarding than the subject itself. Compassion and sensitivity goes a long way, often we are told that only the strong and powerful do well but I much prefer to help those who are weak, building them up is of great reward.


"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844955
05/03/19 10:56 PM
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There is a high risk of people talking past each other as soon as you try to draw on what you have gathered over years, and everyone else is doing the same thing; to be understood and to understand are both challenges. For example, I could easily read things into AZNpiano's "smash" that he is not intending.

The OP's original post on PS was actually preceded by a private conversation that we had about various matters. Topics included the "guru" type teacher who has One answer that solves everything - as something like that was going on - the hapless student buying into this whose makeup doesn't fit the solution risks getting blamed; poorly or under taught or mistaught students were in there - my old experiences. I'm imagining this had some influence on the stream-of-consciousness post that came later.

I, in turn, may be reading some things into the opening post from my own prejudices, but some things I see.

One thing I saw was the rigid teacher who has a routine way of doing things ... " unbending in the way they teach if you cannot follow their method "to the t" then you simply are not worthy of improving...." Of course this is also poor teaching, and this also goes with the One Answer type of thing where if it's not working, it's the student's fault instead of the approach being a wrong one. This happened to me and I was blamed.

Quote
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.

I think this was criticized. Here is what I learned as I dig myself out from my own mess: That while there are wrong things, there are also right things to build on - or some of what I did before had seeds of some right things, that can be nurtured and are helpful. And the very fact of struggling due to having learned a wrong thing can eventually lead to much greater insight, which the student who had smooth sailing may never get.

Imagine the alternative. Imagine a student who mislearned for umpteen years and now discovers this; may have suspected it i.e. why the struggles. Imagine thinking that all these years were wasted; you're further back than zero since remediation is a lot harder than learning properly in the first place - how discouraging that is. And is that not also wrong? If a student like that comes to your studio, is it really true that this student has nothing that is right, nothing that you can build on? No skill or knowledge whatsoever that you can use as a bridge?

Quote
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.

I saw this in a very personal way - it may or may not be how LiW meant it. So imagine I come to a new teacher after x years of piano with poor teaching, supposedly "at grade 6", but I'm massively missing skills due to iffy teaching. The new teacher expects me to do gr. 6 pieces at a gr. 6 level - obviously these require using the skills that are supposed to be there. As a mistaught student I won't now that I'm missing things: I'll try and try and try, and fail and fail and fail. If "my past" (the missing skills) is "ignored" it will lead to this.

To me it's just logic to teach a student according to where the student is at, and find out where that is.

Quote
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.

Ofc this is all shorthand. What does "ideas of mastery" mean, for example. But finding out how a student functions makes sense.

I don't know if this is the part that was seen as "student-led". And I don't know if I'm understanding the post as it was meant.

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: bennevis] #2844956
05/03/19 10:59 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
.Actually, I save lives and teach life skills.

Is that enough for you?

Not when you're being flippant at a piano teacher about piano teaching, with a one-liner saying you prefer to "smash" which is meaningless. When you teach life skills, do you prefer to "smash" (whatever that means)?

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Andamento] #2844958
05/03/19 11:15 PM
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On this:
Originally Posted by Andamento
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder


I believe very strongly that doing things not totally correct is not a problem...


Totally disagree with this. Undoing bad habits is a difficult trial for all involved. Morale goes way down when trying to repair damage. That's not building up the student.

It's so much simpler to start with a firm foundation of good technique, strong reading skills, and much more. If a student hasn't received that, the old needs to be done away with first. No one can build a solid edifice on crumbling ruins.


If this involves a poorly taught/mistaught transfers student - which I thought it did.

Starting properly, I agree with.

But if it's a mess due to the past? I had to sort this out myself. I had been told that if you don't start right, then you are condemned to have those wrong things for the rest of your life. Well, in that I was already condemned. You also have the situation which is very common for adult students, I'm told, of getting tied in knots trying to do everything perfectly - that the nonchalant attitude of kids is much better. How perfect must perfect be? How right must right be? When I sorted this out for myself, I finally looked at the development of babies. The dancer was a toddler who staggered around and fell a lot. The orator once babbled. It seems that skills "come into focus" from an imperfection into something more perfect. What if that is the model?

Quote
If a student hasn't received that, the old needs to be done away with first. No one can build a solid edifice on crumbling ruins.

Can one do away with all of it at once? All of it? In practical terms, is that possible? Or do you do a triage, and chisel away at the most important things first?

Certainly we don't focus on what is wrong, but on the right thing we want instead. You cannot not think of a pink elephant, but you can decide to picture a yellow duck. But if it's been years of wrong things, I wonder whether everything can be fixed at once. You cannot pretend that the wrong habits and wrong knowledge, which are all intertwined and affecting each other, can be eradicated in the short run. It seems more a thing that is done in stages, deciding what to leave be and what to tackle. Dunno.

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: keystring] #2844964
05/03/19 11:48 PM
05/03/19 11:48 PM
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Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by keystring

The OP's original post on PS was actually preceded by a private conversation that we had about various matters. Topics included the "guru" type teacher who has One answer that solves everything - as something like that was going on - the hapless student buying into this whose makeup doesn't fit the solution risks getting blamed; poorly or under taught or mistaught students were in there - my old experiences. I'm imagining this had some influence on the stream-of-consciousness post that came later.

Hi Keypeg I assume as your name and writing style is akin to this user from pianostreet smile It does include these kind of teachers but all teachers really good and bad, we all need to learn to shape the way in which we interact with our students and I felt that the kind of considerations in the OP have some good points to mediate upon whether one agrees or not.

Originally Posted by keystring

Originally Posted by lostinidlewonder

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.

I think this was criticized. Here is what I learned as I dig myself out from my own mess: That while there are wrong things, there are also right things to build on - or some of what I did before had seeds of some right things, that can be nurtured and are helpful. And the very fact of struggling due to having learned a wrong thing can eventually lead to much greater insight, which the student who had smooth sailing may never get.

The last sentence of your response here is of key importance I feel and easily neglected and mistakenly interpreted as a waste of time. This is also where the fear that "bad habits are hard to break" ignored this action I feel. It is helpful to use poor experiences as a measuring stick for better ones to come, it invites it readily but often we need to build the student up to be able to get to that point also. Hamfistedly forcing a change I feel is not always the best solution.


Originally Posted by keystring

Imagine a student who mislearned for umpteen years and now discovers this; may have suspected it i.e. why the struggles. Imagine thinking that all these years were wasted; you're further back than zero since remediation is a lot harder than learning properly in the first place - how discouraging that is. And is that not also wrong? If a student like that comes to your studio, is it really true that this student has nothing that is right, nothing that you can build on? No skill or knowledge whatsoever that you can use as a bridge?
Quote

Surely doing something bad is better than doing nothing at all. Some teachers tend to ignore the students previous experiences and just build from wherever the students can manage in their own lesson regieme. This is of course fine but I feel that connecting the students past to their future with you in the lessons is quite valuable.

Originally Posted by keystring

[quote=lostinidlewonder]
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.

I saw this in a very personal way - it may or may not be how LiW meant it. So imagine I come to a new teacher after x years of piano with poor teaching, supposedly "at grade 6", but I'm massively missing skills due to iffy teaching. The new teacher expects me to do gr. 6 pieces at a gr. 6 level - obviously these require using the skills that are supposed to be there. As a mistaught student I won't now that I'm missing things: I'll try and try and try, and fail and fail and fail. If "my past" (the missing skills) is "ignored" it will lead to this.

And even on smaller issues such as some teachers who arevery particular in how you move at the piano and if you do not conform to that ideology immediately and exactly you can be drilled incessantly until you do. To me this inhibits the flow of the lesson and the creativity. I am of the school that not everything needs to be done perfectly and in a way which I percieve would represent mastery, I encourage however a gradual change over time based on intrinsic undertsanding rather than mere clever parroting.

Originally Posted by keystring

[quote=lostinidlewonder]
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.

Ofc this is all shorthand. What does "ideas of mastery" mean, for example. But finding out how a student functions makes sense.

I don't know if this is the part that was seen as "student-led". And I don't know if I'm understanding the post as it was meant.

This kind of mastery can relate to all sorts of issues, technical, musical, discipline etc. I purposefully have not given an indepth example because since this is on a teachers board I expect teachers can connect this to their own experience base. Copy/Paste action is almost like programming a student like a robot to conform to your ideologies of what needs to be done where I am encouraging a more subtle approach, to have a vision as to where you want your student to go but to do it in a manner which takes into account all their past experiences and their journey in comparing their past lesson to the present/future lessons with you.



Originally Posted by keystring

Certainly we don't focus on what is wrong, but on the right thing we want instead. You cannot not think of a pink elephant, but you can decide to picture a yellow duck. But if it's been years of wrong things, I wonder whether everything can be fixed at once. You cannot pretend that the wrong habits and wrong knowledge, which are all intertwined and affecting each other, can be eradicated in the short run. It seems more a thing that is done in stages, deciding what to leave be and what to tackle. Dunno.

The idea of "building up and never breaking down" can be misinterpreted to mean building up and improving all bad ideas but that is not what I mean. Of course there are ideas which at their foundation are ineffective and inefficient but they can be used to compare with a "better" way. As you said in your previous reply "... the very fact of struggling due to having learned a wrong thing can eventually lead to much greater insight, which the student who had smooth sailing may never get." which I think is very important. We do not break down the students previous way with direct critique instead we say things like, lets try it this way and then compare and analyse the difference, see what they feel, see how much better they do, this realisation is empowering. Simply forgetting the way they did it before and applying a new way without comparisons leaves that experience simply in the students own mind, as a teacher we can be a part of that. And not always will something "new and improved" be trusted and appreciated as teachers we have to often go through that journey with our students and not merely expect them to accept it and if they cannot they feel a failure.


"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2844967
05/04/19 12:15 AM
05/04/19 12:15 AM
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As a student who received the makeover treatment from a teacher let me say this...

My teacher wasn't trying to smash or destroy me. Matter of fact she simply analyzed the technique taught by my teacher of the previous 4 years and said I would go no further unless I replaced it with a better technique. Not repair, replace.

What ensued was 18 months of learning how to play again. I had to forget what I knew and replace it with something I didn't know.

I lost the ability to play piano. I couldn't play with the cognitive dissonance of the new technique. Repertoire I played in high school i could not attempt in college. I quit.

I didn't play for 37 years. Then I restarted. My body had no muscle memory. Therefore my high school technique was not interfering with my college teacher's instruction. It's 2 years later and I finally understand what my college teacher was trying to instill. In many ways she was a genius but she vastly over estimated my ability to learn.

Was it worth it? Yes, if I live long enough. After 2 years of restarting, I feel ready to begin again. However if I die or am disabled before I learn the repertoire, then I suppose I would have been better off never starting.

Moral of story: teachers can destroy students. And when they do, you have to move on. Period. The teacher can't teach and the student can't learn. Both need a better match.


"the lyf so short, the craft so long to lerne." -- Chaucer.
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Fidel] #2844970
05/04/19 12:40 AM
05/04/19 12:40 AM
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Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Fidel
As a student who received the makeover treatment from a teacher let me say this...

My teacher wasn't trying to smash or destroy me. Matter of fact she simply analyzed the technique taught by my teacher of the previous 4 years and said I would go no further unless I replaced it with a better technique. Not repair, replace.

What ensued was 18 months of learning how to play again. I had to forget what I knew and replace it with something I didn't know.

I lost the ability to play piano. I couldn't play with the cognitive dissonance of the new technique. Repertoire I played in high school i could not attempt in college. I quit.

I didn't play for 37 years. Then I restarted. My body had no muscle memory. Therefore my high school technique was not interfering with my college teacher's instruction. It's 2 years later and I finally understand what my college teacher was trying to instill. In many ways she was a genius but she vastly over estimated my ability to learn.

Was it worth it? Yes, if I live long enough. After 2 years of restarting, I feel ready to begin again. However if I die or am disabled before I learn the repertoire, then I suppose I would have been better off never starting.

Moral of story: teachers can destroy students. And when they do, you have to move on. Period. The teacher can't teach and the student can't learn. Both need a better match.


This account is not so uncommon but it also pains my heart to imagine lost potential and the lifetime relationship with music that might have been. It is so important that teachers read your story and think deeply how it effects how they may be dismantling a students own precious method that in many cases should be a part of their journey and not merely replaced. We can make changes over time build them up first and not destroy what they have, allow the students to make those realisations of change on their terms with us joining them in that journey. I’m glad you have managed to take up piano once more!

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/04/19 12:43 AM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
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