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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: malkin] #2847687
05/13/19 08:23 AM
05/13/19 08:23 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 6,273
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
Just because people are not agreeing doesn't mean that the discussion isn't worth it. Some people seem to be so scared when these things happen. Having everyone agree does not always bring about the best results, testing one anothers position allows two sides of the story to be argued. What we don't need is useless kibitzing about issues which do not draw the thread into further discussion, but the internet is a place of anarchy you can't stop people who want to post with little thought.


I don't have a problem with disagreement.
I do find that the more the participants stray from the cooperative principle, the less effective the communication becomes.

https://www.sas.upenn.edu/~haroldfs/dravling/grice.html
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperative_principle

thumb

I think all 4 of those maxims are important.


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
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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2847692
05/13/19 08:42 AM
05/13/19 08:42 AM
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TimR Offline
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Thank you. I was not familiar with these, and they do seem explanatory and useful.

I notice a common conversation characteristic frequently that is related.

One person is speaking. The other person is paying limited attention, maybe 10% to 25% focused on the speaker, and the rest focused on formulating his rebuttal. I think we have examples of that in this thread, and perhaps in the imaginary vignette of teaching the child.


gotta go practice
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2847695
05/13/19 09:06 AM
05/13/19 09:06 AM
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A general view:

In this teacher forum, by definition there are teachers.The nature of the work is that you tend to work in isolation. Each person therefore has the skills and knowledge one needs in this endeavour, and has then built up experiences, found solutions, has expanded what they originally knew, through their work. Some will know more than others. Many will know "differently" from others. Some participants who are not piano teachers may also have things of value to bring to the table. That's the first premise.

In PianoWorld there is a general atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation of one another. It is probably a hidden convention. Each person is aware that beyond his own view / knowledge / experience, everyone else has the same. Obviously a junior teacher in his first year of teaching will not have the same rich background as the senior teacher with 30 years .... but there will also be more than one such senior teacher, and some of the more junior may have more then their own share of wisdom. This absolutely must be kept in mind.

If you come here in the guise of a professor lecturing to students, where you possess all the knowledge and the wisdom of experience to assess it, while they have none, then you are out of sync with this forum,and with the nature of being among peers. If you have not grasped that ideas here are a thing to be examined from all angles, new ideas arising from them, but also other ideas and experiences joining in because of this rich mix of peers - then you have not grasped the essence of this place. If you are in a mindset of either being listened to and followed, or else debated ...... as though there were competitions or power struggles, then you're out of sync. This last view will also cause responses to be seen differently than they are, through the filter of debate, and re-interpreted that way. I've seen that happen, including in regard to some of my posts. It's the main reason why I stopped participating.

I have probably written in "longhand" what others have done through the word "co-operative".

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: TimR] #2847705
05/13/19 09:52 AM
05/13/19 09:52 AM
Joined: Apr 2018
Posts: 6,273
Tyrone Slothrop Online content
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Originally Posted by TimR
I notice a common conversation characteristic frequently that is related.

One person is speaking. The other person is paying limited attention, maybe 10% to 25% focused on the speaker, and the rest focused on formulating his rebuttal. I think we have examples of that in this thread, and perhaps in the imaginary vignette of teaching the child.

I think not listening or partial listening can relate to the cooperative principles' maxim of quantity. People who don't listen or only partially listen sometimes either do not make their contribution as informative as is required for the current purposes of the exchange, or they make their contribution more informative than is required. Either case can be stated as "not address the point" or "not answering the question."


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] #2847711
05/13/19 10:08 AM
05/13/19 10:08 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Forums are allowed to have posts which just share knowledge. They don't all have to be conversations where the op and the rest are answering a single question. Surely the OP is allowed to start a thread with their professional experience in a topic and share knowledge without others feeling threatened or uncomfortable or or or *insert negative emotion*. Of course not everyone needs to be a part of a thread nor feel the need to control how it is presented by others. If I want to post something that shares some infromation I will, I don't necessarily require anyone to respond I am happy to simply share ideas and let the 98% of readers of this thread who don't write anything at all continue what they are doing. Only a very small % of people are actually interacting in threads, perhaps you guys should think about that, what about the others who are just reading? Surely they don't mind when others simply share knowedge.

I also interact with questions asked and elaborate where people ask me to elaborate, just go have a look at my interactions with others here. We may not agree but that doesn't matter. It seems that people are threatened that there may be others who actually know a lot about teaching as well, it's not a race, it's not a competition, unless you want it to be, then it's in your own head.


"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2847713
05/13/19 10:11 AM
05/13/19 10:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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I take on any students no matter how good bad, disciplined or not. I feel I learn just as much about teaching no matter who I teach and also have just as much to offer anyone no matter what skill level in piano/discipline, everyone has something to teach me and something that intrigues me as a teacher.

I know some teachers who only take good students but I wonder if this really is beneficial for you as a teacher. Sure a disciplined student might do a lot correct but I can assure you you could find something that they are stubborn to change also. With undisciplined students it is just more obvious their failing but no more difficult to deal with. A teacher who deals with a lot of stubborn students who just don't practice enough learns tools how to break down that resistance and identify why it happens and then really make changes in their students. Some teachers think it is just about how well you play the piano and learn but it is more than that, the bigger picture is vision, goal setting, aspiring, motivation etc etc. It really has far reaching effects in their life beyond just piano but we can use piano as a wonderful medium to learn about life.

Teaching only the talented is a problem I think especially when it comes to reputable music schools or teachers who only accept those who audition the best out of the lot. They will only accept students who are very good to start with or show great potential. I can understand why they would want to do this it protects their image, to be known to produce only great musicians. Those who study with prestigious schools often are expected to complete their music degree within a particular time frame so there is pressure for growth, no different from any other degree (though some schools allow you to do a degree part time over a longer time frame). So many schools would argue that they only take the best students because lesser ones would not be able to meet the standards of their curriculum and because there is so much demand for places to study with them they can pick and choose the best.

I think of this all outside the box a little. I don't think that working with what you think are the best necessarily encompasses all the best there is about the service of teaching. To me the greatest schools would be those are those are willing to take on lesser musicians with good work ethic and make them into the best they can be. Sure a prestigious school need not deal with students who don't want to practice that is a bit ridiculous but I think that their teachers should have good experience with dealing with students who don't want to practice so they can know how to push their own highly talented students boundaries. If you can make someone who resists improvement better imagine what you can do with someone who always follows you all the way? I assure you most of the top professors of the best schools in the world would simply pull their hair out over a student who doesn't practice smile But what does that mean about how well they know human nature and what real change can make in the students they teach?

I hate the idea of prestigious schools and teachers who only take the talented, they protect their image that they produce only good musicians but in reality they only know how to choose good musicians (which is a billion times easier). It is a lazy way to maintain reputation, seriously I am amazed by teachers who successfully train the average student to a high level (or close to their potential), it is so obvious to me this is a much more impressive teaching feat.

From a teaching perspective if one knows how to motivate the undisciplined student and make real changes to their work ethic when dealing with a disciplined student who seriously wants to learn you can also make real changes in them too. The resistance for change is the same no matter what degree you are looking at, I find no difference in the beginner student who doesn't want to practice to the advanced piano student resisting changes to their musicianship. The problem I find with many well known teachers is that they merely trust their students will do everything they say, they don't know how to support that change, they believe if they make the student aware of it that is enough, it is not enough unfortunately as we are emotional humans who need all sorts of support. I noticed with my new transferred student the lack of "how to go about doing it" direction and simply a lot of "what to do" and in indifference if a student doesn't follow. Not good teaching IMO.

You can crush a students potential if you make them just feel failure for not following your directions instead we need constantly support their efforts through failure and puzzle out what is holding them back with them. I am a little unusual in the way that I am concerned if my students succeed with everything, it makes me think I am not pushing them enough or being too easy. In our lessons we don't learn as much from success but rather their challenges and difficulties. I find students make most change when things are a little challenging and not just a walk in the park. This kind of experience is not so obvious when you deal only with talented hard working students and I think is quite detrimental to the overall development and musical path that the teacher/student relationship will ultimately go through. My work is seriously cut out for me with these hard working talented students because I am trying to find what is their weak point. It is easy to spot an undisciplined students bad attitude towards practicing but severely difficult work to train that away, with talented students it is just the same though it may be tougher to spot their failings but it is no less difficult to make a change in them.

I like training discipline with youngsters, I like seeing them go from floundering about whenever they want to to taking an interest to become more organized. When I teach piano to early beginners it like teaching a very advanced student a difficult piece.... but sometimes even more challenging!! To teach an undisciplined beginner has got to be the most problematic student to deal with and to improve them certainly stretches the resource of any skilled teacher.

One might question what is the point in teaching such difficult students, those that don't seem to want to learn or practice on their own? First and foremost making changes in youngsters early on has far reaching effects to the rest of their life, I have seen several examples of this over the years personally, that is what excites me the most. I also believe that from these type of students I have learned the most about teaching, a great deal about balancing patience and pressure, not too much patience that you are too soft you will have zero result out of problematic students, but not so much pressure that you become some dictator figure that quashes all individuality. Those who are highly trained can hold close many ideas and are very unwilling to "sacrifice their babies" if you too don't make them feel comfortable about changing it. "Sugar catches more flies than vinegar" as the saying goes and in terms of teaching I think you need problematic students to be able to understand this through and through.

I like to get my students to be honest with themselves and that is not easier the better you get at music though many teachers simply don't care to test this in their students or not. The teachers themselves can be blind to the fact that all the information they pass to their student is going in one ear and out the other. They fool themselves in believing that just because it is covered in lesson it is now known. This is the assumption of mass classroom teaching all the time since there is no time to go to every student individually and ensure they fully know what has been taught. Students even become untruthful to themselves to such an extent that they believe they understand what has been taught just because it has gone through their head once or twice. I already wrote earlier about being honest which I think is quite important here too.

Teaching piano for me is not only about learning about music and how to play the piano but mastering oneself. It has a lot to do with attitude towards work, honesty and discipline as well and this to me has far reaching effects in students not only in the study of piano but life itself. Too many clever advanced students fool their teachers that all their attitude towards work, honesty and discipline is top notch, it is not, we are not perfect humans and we all need pressure to improve. A lazy teacher who has a highly talented student simply throws work at them and it all gets solved the teacher doesn't bother pushing the students boundaries in other areas because the music is just flowing out faster than the majority of their students. This is a disservice for the talented student imo, the teacher should be able to challenge them just like they challenge an undisciplined beginner to start practicing in a more consistent, structured manner.


"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: keystring] #2847925
05/13/19 10:17 PM
05/13/19 10:17 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,954
Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by keystring
A general view:

In this teacher forum, by definition there are teachers.The nature of the work is that you tend to work in isolation. Each person therefore has the skills and knowledge one needs in this endeavour, and has then built up experiences, found solutions, has expanded what they originally knew, through their work. Some will know more than others. Many will know "differently" from others. Some participants who are not piano teachers may also have things of value to bring to the table. That's the first premise.

In PianoWorld there is a general atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation of one another. It is probably a hidden convention. Each person is aware that beyond his own view / knowledge / experience, everyone else has the same. Obviously a junior teacher in his first year of teaching will not have the same rich background as the senior teacher with 30 years .... but there will also be more than one such senior teacher, and some of the more junior may have more then their own share of wisdom. This absolutely must be kept in mind.

If you come here in the guise of a professor lecturing to students, where you possess all the knowledge and the wisdom of experience to assess it, while they have none, then you are out of sync with this forum,and with the nature of being among peers. If you have not grasped that ideas here are a thing to be examined from all angles, new ideas arising from them, but also other ideas and experiences joining in because of this rich mix of peers - then you have not grasped the essence of this place. If you are in a mindset of either being listened to and followed, or else debated ...... as though there were competitions or power struggles, then you're out of sync. This last view will also cause responses to be seen differently than they are, through the filter of debate, and re-interpreted that way. I've seen that happen, including in regard to some of my posts. It's the main reason why I stopped participating.

I have probably written in "longhand" what others have done through the word "co-operative".

I think you've nailed it, keystring. And you've been a trooper in this thread.

I've been on other forums and each one has its own feel. I love PW because of the general respect people have for one another. It's something that is assumed, rather than some places where it's assumed you're an idiot until you prove yourself worthy of respect. Still, those forums have been helpful too because they are filled with professionals who are knowledgable. As long as you admit you're an idiot, they will actually engage you in discussion and realize that perhaps you're not an idiot, and suddenly you're pals.

However, if one such person came on here and didn't bother to see what kind of place this is, I think they'd put themselves in opposition to many people right out of the gate. I think that's what has happened here. Best not to assume the forum will adjust to you. It's fine to be non-conformist, but that also means you will find opposition in most places, and the thrust of your post will go unnoticed as a result. If the goal is to communicate, then communicate. That means being understood as much as it means divulging information.


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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2847928
05/13/19 10:37 PM
05/13/19 10:37 PM
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Posts: 184
West Australia
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How are you going to judge what goes unnoticed or not? Just because people respond this does not mean that things are being noticed, there are lots of people reading threads who do not post, that is the vast majority of users here.

I post inviting people to respond or not, the communication is left open for people to engage if they wish, nowhere have I stopped this from happening, if we disagree that is fine like I said there is no need to agree. So I have no idea why you guy are again posting irelevant issues in this thread, not that I mind, bump this up as much as you like. Cooperation is well encouraged, many of you who are asking for it here now are those who have posted unconstructive critique on this thread calling what I have posted all sorts of things, so perhaps it is good that coorperation is talked about now, lets see some action instead of just words now. Feel free to coorperate and discuss things about the content of the OP or other posts RELEVANT to it.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/13/19 10:43 PM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2847930
05/13/19 10:46 PM
05/13/19 10:46 PM
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Posts: 5,444
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I certainly don't "hate the idea of prestigious schools and teachers who only take the talented..." because I enjoy the result. I enjoy listening to world class musicians just as I enjoy seeing the accomplishments of world class athletes.

I also firmly believe that chumps like me are entitled to enjoy making music and moving around in the world and playing games at our own level of clumsiness and incompetence.


Learner
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: malkin] #2847962
05/14/19 02:09 AM
05/14/19 02:09 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by malkin
I certainly don't "hate the idea of prestigious schools and teachers who only take the talented..." because I enjoy the result. I enjoy listening to world class musicians just as I enjoy seeing the accomplishments of world class athletes.

I also firmly believe that chumps like me are entitled to enjoy making music and moving around in the world and playing games at our own level of clumsiness and incompetence.

I can see that there is a limited amount of resource to teach at certain schools so that is why they may narrow severely the bottlehead of accepted students though I think that there should be more of a focus on teaching "lesser academic but highly creative" musicians within top class schools for two main reasons. Probably most importantly is that there are many musicians who would have liked to have higher education but were unable to keep up with the demands/deadline so they fell through the cracks. This might limit the type of teachers we see in other schools, where some might be perfect for a job but unable to attain it because they could not complete a degree in a certain manner, what we have are teachers who are highly academic and not necessarily highly creative.

I see this problem also in other occupations for instance Anglican priests who must have completed a degree at university to be able to lead a church, there are many who have a calling for such work and would do so well because of how intergrated they are with their community but are unable to do it because of the academic hoops they are unable to jump though. The same I see with some aspiring music teachers, they would work perfectly with a classroom and really are keen to do work here, I hav emet some who have created their own schools and teach their syllabus which are quite creative, intelligent and inspiring, yet they were unable to complete a degree at university because they were unable to jump through certain academic requirements.

Secondly for teachers themselves of prestigeous schools many of them simply real with the top % of talent that they miss out on a lot of issues which challenge much lesser students. I do understand the joy a teacher gets from dealing with highly talented students who play at a high level and who train very hard because compared to lesser students they are easier to deal with.Yes there are other difficulties we may face with top talent but from my experience they pale in comparison to the "others". I think valuable training comes from teaching "lesser" students and only focusing on the high achieving talented misses out on this. I think helping these highly creative students to be able to control the academic side of things would help create more well rounded musicians out of them, also exploring how to push their creativity to the limits without academic shackles holding them back may prove highly rewarding.

I can only talk of my own experiences working with transfer students who came to me from "highly respected" teachers in my area who charge a lot of money for lessons and only take in certain students. From reading the journals of these students and the works they have gone through and how they were taught, I can see it is good though it is not always that exceptional, you would think it would cover all corners of a musical journey to create a well rounded student but often I see it hasn't done this. These students usually had no creative control over their musical journey, they usually had not learned to be creative beings but clever students who can pass grades. When they come to me it is often to escape the academic system, to me they usually are lost puppies without much understanding of the landscape of repertoire out there and the paths we can take in music, some have ideas what they would like to do but their choices have been strangled by their previous teachers who demanded a certain regieme. Prestigous school, teachers, they teach often to get good marks in tests/exams and win competitions, but do they have the time to deal with the individual journey into the various music pathways? It is the system itself which needs to change, it is a shame it probably wont for a long time. Passing grades and competition are elements still so ingrained in our education system. I think teachers of top schools can sometimes be so caught up over grades that the individual journey of each student is lost. There is that deadline to deal with which strangles creativity. Would be good to have these schools teach outside of "the system" it would produce interesting results as some of the the highly creative would not fall though the academic cracks.

I teach a number of highly creative students who lack a lot in other aspects of their skills which would make them fail at univeristy quick smart. They lack discipline, they are loose canons, they are talent uncontrolled, I spend years trying to build up these gaps and the results are often quite encouraging (though of course not all can improve a huge amount even with a few years). I can see the resources of prestigeous schools may lack being able to help these kind of students but they certainly should do more research into how it can be done, then they will not miss out on these creative geniuses that might be out there but who fear the academic system for all sorts of reasons.


Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/14/19 02:14 AM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848013
05/14/19 08:30 AM
05/14/19 08:30 AM
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Blimey - this thread.... shocked sleep eek

Last edited by fatar760; 05/14/19 08:31 AM.
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: fatar760] #2848020
05/14/19 08:42 AM
05/14/19 08:42 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
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Originally Posted by fatar760
Blimey - this thread.... shocked sleep eek


Unfortunately, I agree...


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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848030
05/14/19 09:22 AM
05/14/19 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
...loose canon...


This is what you get when the binding breaks on a big fat complete works edition.


Learner
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: malkin] #2848040
05/14/19 10:03 AM
05/14/19 10:03 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
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Originally Posted by fatar760
Blimey - this thread.... shocked sleep eek

Some riddle post? :P 42?

Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by fatar760
Blimey - this thread.... shocked sleep eek


Unfortunately, I agree...

I wonder what there is to agree about.

Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
...loose canon...


This is what you get when the binding breaks on a big fat complete works edition.

Yeah though it doens't make sense to what I actually wrote if you think that. Pianoworld doesn't allow editing after a certain time so I can't correct errors, oh well, that is the nature of this forum so people should be used to errors you'd hope, at least they will need to practice reading past it all.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/14/19 10:05 AM.

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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848042
05/14/19 10:16 AM
05/14/19 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
...loose canon...


This is what you get when the binding breaks on a big fat complete works edition.

Yeah though it doens't make sense to what I actually wrote if you think that. Pianoworld doesn't allow editing after a certain time so I can't correct errors, oh well, that is the nature of this forum so people should be used to errors you'd hope, at least they will need to practice reading past it all. [/quote]

It's a joke: a story with a humorous climax.

It occurs to me that a loose canon might be something from Gödel, Escher, Bach.


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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: malkin] #2848045
05/14/19 10:43 AM
05/14/19 10:43 AM
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Virginia, USA
Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
...loose canon...


This is what you get when the binding breaks on a big fat complete works edition.


+1

And then I found 5 dollars. (explained later)


gotta go practice
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: malkin] #2848046
05/14/19 10:45 AM
05/14/19 10:45 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,300
Virginia, USA
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TimR Offline
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TimR  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,300
Virginia, USA
Originally Posted by malkin

It occurs to me that a loose canon might be something from Gödel, Escher, Bach.


Highly recommended, by the way, excellent book, and on my list of books every educated person should someday read.

Although, admittedly it is not as accessible as many on my list.


gotta go practice
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848052
05/14/19 11:11 AM
05/14/19 11:11 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Lostinidlewonder  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Here are some ideas on one way you can help students understand how good they are at the piano and where to improve/build in a general sense. What is written here is in general form, of course the individual must know themselves to see where they perhaps fit inbetween the descriptions below, also this is only one way to measure there are others too.

So what was is there to measure ability at the piano? It is not necessarily measured by the amount of music memorized or even the difficulty of the music one can play although these are good indicators. A reliable reflection of ones ability is the rate in which they master their music. High Quality and Quantity is a reflection of an advanced piano ability.

Quality and Quantity but produced without mastery.
What if there is Quality and Quantity but is produced with inferior technique and/or with poor musical expression? One can argue that you can always improve on how you play a piece, but there is a certain level that one can reach where their ability starts to entertain most people. But what if you do not play at this level and that people who hear you play cannot stand listening to you? Certainly if one has the ability to learn music at a fast rate the can now start to sacrifice rate of learning and start developing expressive/interpretive musical ability.

Quality and Quantity but produced with mastery.
Pianists who learn their music fast and produce it with very high musical quality are certainly in the advanced region. Someone who has an encyclopedic memory of all piano styles and can sight read almost everything with great expression would be considered a grandmaster of piano. Advanced pianists have to make improvements and important decisions with their Quality and Quanitity output to further develop themselves towards the ideal grandmaster state.

Quality or Quantity alone restricts your musical development.
Many people who consider themselves advanced pianists consider themselves so because of how well they can express their quality. They do not worry about how long it takes for them to learn a piece so long it is done right and played the way they want it to. This is a big insecurity that needs to be overcome to produce greatest musical improvement. One will have to sacrifice fine tuning musical expression and start simply memorizing their music faster.

Simply learning a lot of music but playing them without mastery will hinder your technical and musical interpretation development. As you get older you physically may not be capable to deal with technical inefficiencies, one has to develop an efficient effortless technique that can last a lifetime. As musicians we should be interested in presenting our music in a musical way, people are not just interested in the notes, but the way in which the notes are expressed. As a musician you look very limited if your “musical talk” is simply dictated without expression. You also seem limited if you look very tired or your body moves inefficiently as you play the piano.

One may also learn a lot of easy music in a fast rate (this fast rate depends on the exact difficulty of the pieces learned). In this case they should aim to increase the difficulty level of their music to improve the quality of their pieces in terms of their difficulty level. This will not require them to slow down on their Quantity output, rather the tools used to produce their Quantity will be tested upon more difficult quality work grounds.

Striving for balance in Quality or Quantity.
There is a balance of Quality and Quantity that needs to be struck up if one wants to achieve an advanced level. If one gives bias to one or the other they will limit their lifetime musical development. To achieve balance we need to sacrifice our effort we are comfortable with and focus on the other side which we have been neglecting. We simply must act against what we are giving bias to. Once a balance is somewhat struck up then we can aim to increase both together, however as the difficulty level of Quality increases it naturally slows down the output of Quanitity, that does not mean that the Quantity rate has slowed down, the tools are simply used in more difficult grounds which take take more work to complete.

Lacking in both Quality and Quantity.
If you cannot play any concert standard pieces and you learn your easier music at a slow rate then you are lacking in both Quality and Quantity. A beginner would be someone who learn easy music but it takes a long time. Of course the intensity of beginners vary, if someone struggles with one handed pieces then they are a very early beginner, it depends on the pieces you play and the length of time needed to learn them.


A 4 year old for example would get away with performing "easier" pieces in concert than a 20 year old. So this means that the quality of a young child is different to that of an adult. Also quality level changes depending on your your physical makeup. I doubt a 4 year old could play a piece that requires large intervals correctly because their hands couldn't reach what is asked for. Adults who can barely reach an octave perhaps could also get away a lessened "Quality" standard but some that are advanced learn to deal with their size and can still produce the illusion of controlling positions which are impossible for their hands.

Improvement to sight reading skills is essential to develop an efficient learning rate. However how we use this sight reading is important. We cannot be slaves to the sheet, every time you read you are encouraging your muscular memory to associate with what we read. How does it feel when you play this phrase of music you are sight reading?
The more and more you sight read that passage the less you have to read to consciously tell your hands what to do. We can simply skim read the passage and our hands and ears control the rest. You can immediately sense this process, the brain making new connections which can happen with all ages. I find as you get older you make connections to what you did before more than make new connections, but our brain is constantly learning something new.
Our sound memory is immense, some of us simply know what the right notes should sound like, there is no logic statement for it, we simply can hear it in our minds eye. The same applies for muscular memory, I do not believe that with age you can lose or be unable/restricted to learn new movements of the hand. Our conscious memory (Sight reading skills and logically observing a phrase that we read and transferring it to an action in our hands) can only be strengthened with age as we can draw from years of experience.
If this experience has not been acquired then I would say the older student has a more difficult challenge ahead of themselves. They have to get through more work with less time which produces a difficult learning curve. However older students often have a good understanding life skills such as discipline and hard work. This can prove a major advantage over a young student who has no discipline but soaks up knowledge like a sponge. It is like the turtle and the hare fable smile Slow and steady will always win.
As the adult improves they also know how to use past knowledge to help them, the child usually does not associate it with past experience in such logical terms, they just "feel it". But the adult observes everything they do, this allows them to control their musical quality and quantity more directly with good instruction. The adult may also pick up sight reading skills easier than the younger student and be able to approach it with more focus and discipline.

A complete approach to memorizing your music is required if you want to maintain it your whole life. Of course I cannot say that a good approach will cure against brain diseases that might rob you of mental capability, though there is that story of a man with the worst case of amnesia who can still play piano so music does last a very long time even in damaged brains. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO-3Ruw61Sg
It certainly helps I believe, making new connections constantly is important to keep our brains healthy. It is complicated activities that keeps the brain working, in piano we have the Conscious (sight reading, logical statements, pattern observations etc), Muscular (hands memorizing a group of notes with a particular movement of the hand) and Sound (using the sound in our minds eye to aid our decision making with our muscular memory) memory always working together as a whole.

I believe that being an advanced musician is also defined by the music you have already memorized and play at concert standard. So an older student who has a large repertoire might be excused to learn any new material and merely sharpen the huge amount of works they have already learned. But to keep the brain active and working you must learn new material and make new connections in the brain. Neurologists who study brain exercises note that repetitive work in grounds that are familiar to us (like crosswords) is not as beneficial to the brain as working in situations which require us to strategically approach a constantly changing situation.
Someone who trains their brain to work at an advanced musical rate will be able to encourage the brain to maintain this rate even in older age. It may slow down, but we never work at maximum effort every day of our lives anyway. As you get older you may even have more time for yourself and thus your discipline towards your music may increase. As you get older you may also learn new tricks and understand how your own brain works so that you can learn things faster. If we find ourselves memorizing our work through brute force then we will find that as we age and our brain slows down, we cannot deal with this inefficient approach.

Someone who plays the piano very well but does it without any discipline would admit that the music they produce is second rate. They will not admit that the work they produce is the best they can possibly do because they know they have not worked the best they possibly could. I don't think that we can ever admit that the work we produce is the best we can do, we will always be insecure with how we play when comparing it to what is the "ideal" sound in our minds eye. I believe someone is limiting themselves if they approach music without discipline and without regard to the rate in which they learn. Although they may produce wonderful works their output is very slow and thus they are limiting themselves and others of the wonderful music they could be producing!

A lot of people are undisciplined in their approach to music, I know this very well as a music teacher! It is the keystone to someones progress, as a teacher I find that I am unclogging this problem in younger students much more than anything else. They can learn all these efficient ways to learn their music and it will increase the flow of their learning rate but if they have no persistence to their approach it their progress merely leaks out. Likewise if a student works hard at their music but refuses to improve their approach to learning their music they will founder and take the long way around. Many teachers work on simply Quality in a student and forget about the Quantity so it is not always the students fault.

Sometimes we like to study pieces that takes us a long time and to which there is a slow learning curve. I believe this is a slow way to approach your musical study. You should be learning more easier pieces than one large difficult piece. The process of learning is no different in an easy piece than in a difficult piece, the technique and what the fingers have to do is more difficult but the way in which our brain learns music is the same in all instances. We must practice this learning multiple times and as many times as possible instead of simply focusing on "difficult" pieces.

As you improve the pieces that might have been difficult for you 3 years ago now are a normal level for you. Then you can go ahead and learn these efficiency and with control. This is why Quality and Quantity is a reflection of an advanced ability at piano learning. As you heighten the bar which you consider "difficult" music you are improving yourself as a musician. If when you play you consider much of what you play difficult, then you are somewhat lacking in your abilities.

I believe as we get better at the piano we realize how far we actually have to go, "We know we don't know." As opposed to the others who simply "Don't know that they Don't know." We are forever reaching for that ultimate rate of learning, so that all those challenges become a routine mastered as fast as possible.


"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: malkin] #2848063
05/14/19 11:41 AM
05/14/19 11:41 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 333
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline
Full Member
Dr. Rogers  Offline
Full Member

Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 333
Texas
Originally Posted by malkin

This is what you get when the binding breaks on a big fat complete works edition.


Originally Posted by malkin

It's a joke: a story with a humorous climax.


+1 for one of the funniest jokes I've read in a long time, and another +1 for the Star Trek IV reference!


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] #2848107
05/14/19 02:50 PM
05/14/19 02:50 PM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
Full Member
Lostinidlewonder  Offline OP
Full Member

Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Here is a case of an autistic/fragilex student I had the pleasure of teaching, I think he was a good case for determining how to build up a student who pretty much cannot comprehend the vast majority of what you would normally use to build a student. All students are like this in a much much lesser form, not all tools we use can build them up as we would with others, this case is an extreme case which makes it very obvious. This was the most challenging student I ever had the joy to teach.

The boy is nine years old and has only recently learned to say a few words. In our first lesson I treated him like other low functioning autistic children I taught, setting him up to succeed only, constantly approving of his attempts, never letting him feel like he has done anything wrong and trying to calculate constantly that I do not distract him (use pencil to point for example, I caught myself doing it as I do with most students and he touched the pencil and got totally distracted lol) At the end of the first lesson he was looking at me, smiling, waved goodbye which I was very touched and surprised to see. I personally find building a relationship where they feel safe is the first most important step. All of this is pretty much the same for any student but often at a much lesser degree.

I managed to get him to notice the two and three black notes, how pedals work and their effects of the inside of the piano, how loud and soft the piano can go, where high and low notes are etc. I even dismantled some of the piano, slid the grand piano action out and showed him how it worked. He was extremely fascinated, actually I have never really done this for any other student and I'm sure many have never seen it done before but I have no time to do such things for other students, for this special needs student it seemed very appropriate though. I managed to get him to repeat one, two then three different notes in sequences for me and he could repeat it after some effort after a few weeks of lessons. I have to stand back and look at this student in a different light that others. Where some students want to play composed pieces which sound nice it seems to me that child just wants to see what a piano can do, get to know it as an object itself. I showed him also how to play thirds and he was doing it all over the piano. He liked to see a single white note space in between notes, that pattern intrigued him somehow.

I love the idea of using image art to accompany the teaching. I used dark cloudy storms and put that at the bass of the piano and I used bright sunny pictures at the very top, I allowed him to play around with the connection between the image and sound with random chord clusters he made around those regions, he seemed pleased that the dark sounds were like a grumbling storm. I also use blocks, I think will be a wonderful tools as one of his favorite toys are just those. I wonder how to use them so not to distract him, I had to ponder over that and then find a way to test it out. The result was that it distracted him too much if I used them as a means to find particular notes on the piano to play, the blocks themselves posed too much of an attractor for his attention and encouraged actions outside of music. I ended up using the blocks and hiding them inside the piano in certain places and asked him to find them, I would say there was a block near the high sounds of the piano and he would be drawn to look somewhere to the right, I said I put a block on the pedal and he would find it also, put one next to one of the sound holes in the metallic frame and he would find it etc etc. So I could use it for non piano playing education and make it more fun for him which I thought was fine rather than me just saying to find particular parts without those blocks. Though of course he would play with these blocks once they were found but that was ok. This made me think about how I should attract my "normal" students to certain details we learn.

I agreed very strongly in trying to ascertain a doable repetitive pattern in his learning routine then copy it as much as needed and attempt to amplify it. This is something I found common in my other autistic students, we had to find a routine in their learning and stick to it religiously. But those students could speak and give me feedback, with some fragilx students they can be very delayed in their verbal capabilities, so I found myself trying to interpret his body language and vocal sounds, I am very grateful his mother sits with us in lessons, she interprets for me constantly, a very caring and understanding young woman. She also tells him to concentrate and listen but in a nice way, you can see he loves her very much and listens to her. This makes me think about how we listen to feedback our other students parents/guardians give us, sometimes we can be too quick to dismiss things said to us because we think we know what's happening, sometimes they are not very involved in their childs study at all, perhaps that is perhaps problem since they don't have someone to watch over them, although of couse it is not always possible to fix this situation (some parents/guardians work very hard, have many children etc etc)

I see intelligence in this student but it is severely trapped, I certainly do not believe that he is lost and unable to ever demonstrate it. But thinking waaaay outside of the box will be a requirement to nurture his attempts to improve and take chances. Outside of the box means seeing his education with the piano as a tool for other learning skills such as understanding the routine of a lesson with a teacher. For him the routine of walking into the studio and making his way to the piano (sometimes he would see something in the room different and go investigate, I remember one day I put some new candles on a table and he was drawn to it for a few minutes, nothing would break his attention from that), giving his books to the teacher (although sometimes it wasn't given to me he had to be guided to hand it to me always as a part of his routine), listening to a teacher (following very basic instructions which required his mum to help a lot, she was a big part of his comfort and confidence), sitting still (or being encouraged to sit at all!) and controlling his body to make sound on the piano (extremely challenging to the nth degree), most importantly being curious and enjoying the sound that comes from the piano, feeling safe with someone who is trying to teach him skills, not being afraid to give things a go without worrying about what others think etc. These fundamental learning skills I find are more important than learning to play the piano with this young chap, the piano is just a tool to practice these. But as a musican I still wonder how can I meet this boy somewhere in the middle, where we do what he needs as a learning fundamental and where we teach him about producing forms of music itself through the piano.

I was told by an autistic therapist that many low functioning autistic students can learn how to play music but the skill can very easiy be totally lost and you have to start again and again and again from scratch. As a teacher I feel scared and bewildered how to teach a student like this who can literally forget everything. Maybe I have to not expect what I want but instead enjoy the process of constantly repairing and setting foundations. It's very confusing for me because I have never really experienced anyone like this! He was really most extreme case I ever dealt with but he taught me a great deal about my normal functioning students too. We only had half a year of lessons and then they moved away so we didn't get much further than what was described, it was a very playful lesson and made me think, life really is playful. I watched this video not long ago and it made me think about this boy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBpaUICxEhk&fb= He certainly played with the piano in his way, he didn't work it.


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