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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: TimR] #2848565
05/15/19 08:23 PM
05/15/19 08:23 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
When I used to drive on the Autobahn we had a saying: If you see one Geistfahrer, dodge them and you're probably okay; when you see a hundred, there's a problem. Relevance to this scenario is obvious.

It's not often I learn a new German word. So it seems that a Geisterfahrer is someone who is driving west on an eastbound lane. Is there an English word for this?

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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: keystring] #2848585
05/15/19 10:07 PM
05/15/19 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by TimR
When I used to drive on the Autobahn we had a saying: If you see one Geistfahrer, dodge them and you're probably okay; when you see a hundred, there's a problem. Relevance to this scenario is obvious.

It's not often I learn a new German word. So it seems that a Geisterfahrer is someone who is driving west on an eastbound lane. Is there an English word for this?


I'd say "wrong way driver." I've also seen it hyphenated "wrong-way driver."

Wikipedia also refers to a colloquial term "ghost driving" but I've never heard that, and wouldn't know what it meant without context.

Last edited by malkin; 05/15/19 10:09 PM. Reason: added info

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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: AZNpiano] #2848598
05/15/19 11:40 PM
05/15/19 11:40 PM
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West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
marginalised perspectives

Yes, my perspective is "marginalized" because you write so many useless words, and my words get shoved to the margins. Is that what you mean?

Nope, I see marginalized perspectives on here people who respond offtopic and do not contend with the content of the work I am writing about. If you can't or don't want to deal with what I write you don't have to respond on this thread. Sure it takes very little knowledge and intelligence to argue about other things like the length of my posts or make guesses about me personally, but I wonder what the use of that all is? I've said many times it will not make me stop, it don't bother me, I find it funny that people who don't like this thread keep responding though.

Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
band of minorities

Look around, buddy. YOU are clearly in the minority.

Any of us posting on here are the minority, the majority are silent readers only. If the majority of pianoworld are people who merely write about things offtopic and cry and complain is that a good thing? I would hope you think that you are a minority when you do such things. I have had personal pms from people who are reading this thread telling me to continue as what they read from me is valuable, I also have had a number of users write on this very thread with appreciation, all of them outweigh the small number of vocal irrelevant replies to this thread, those who don't like this thread but can't seem to get away from it. Masochists?

Originally Posted by AZNpiano

Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
useful knowledge.

You may have "useful" knowledge (useful to whom, I don't know), but you don't know how to share ideas properly. Cutting and pasting ideas is _N_O_T_ sharing ideas. Drowning out people's advice is _N_O_T_ sharing ideas. Typing endlessly is _N_O_T_ sharing ideas.

Just because you don't understand doesn't mean much at all have you actually made any attempt to contented with anything I wrote and ask quesitons? I'm sure a grade 1 student also wouldn't understand what I write, I am writing this in a teachers forum where those who are here should be on average be accustomed to reading. If people don't understand thats fine I am not going to dumb things down or write less. I have interacted with anyone who has asked questions and given their own ideas throughout this thread, whether we agree or not is not an issue. Tall poppy syndrome could be an issue though when I post detailed posts, please don't feel threatened.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/15/19 11:47 PM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848609
05/16/19 12:35 AM
05/16/19 12:35 AM
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 184
West Australia
Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Building up work habits:

How difficult is it to start to do something every day that is out of your normal routine? Of the many students I have taught over the years I find that improving students work habits are one of the more difficult achievements. Students that work consistently make the most grounds. I find some just love the act of learning new things and mastering old skills, they are strongly knowledge/achievement driven. There are some who love music so much so that the passionate/spiritual connection they have with the music drives them to work hard at it. A few are motivated to do well because of the money/material they can make from it. Then there are some who are forced into a strict regime often set by the parents but of course not excluding the examination student or music major who must abide by a syllabus or just a personal drive.

I find that not all my students necessarily fall into ONE group or the other, there often is a combination of motivations encouraging them to work consistently, I find these ones make the best progress. As a teacher I can sense what motivations are more important to the student and often I need to make decisions as to whether or not they need to improve upon that or add to it.

For example: an excited student telling me that they need to learn a piece (which is too difficult for them) simply because they "love it". As a teacher in my mind I need to work out whether or not they are serious when they say they "love" the piece, are they really willing to work hard or do they just want to hack their way through it and have a brief messy affair with the piece? Often I will let the student learn the piece but it never becomes a main focus of the lesson, we will do bits and pieces only. If they are really serious they will learn easier pieces which will build them to be able to play the piece they love with less problems.

Some students are very determined though and insist in playing a piece too difficult for them so I take them through the process. A few times we have achieved wonderful results but most of the times they are left with difficulty upon difficulty and they cannot cope with the amount of practice/progress required or cannot deal with the slow learning curve. I find at this instance when they realize the work they love is too difficult/inefficient for them to learn they then need to have other motivations to learn, I am yet to find a student then being so stubborn to not take my advice to learn something easier which still interests them and build towards their goal. Most of the student "get it" that they need to build up to their goal and thus we change their short term source for motivation. As the teacher I allowed them to "test the waters" of the piece they love I showed them the amount of work required to do it service (or to play it at all!), once they realized they have been too ambitious they then make changes in what drives their motivation. I feel it is important that try first at least, I find most students need that, just to try it, fail, then work out how to get there with the teachers assistance. No longer are they simply playing to learn a piece they love, but they are excited as they work towards being able to finally play the pieces they love, there lies a big difference. It is not a good idea to keep it from them completely though, I have had transfer students who begged me to try a particular piece that their last teacher refused to teach them, it is just something that nags on their mind constantly. Even if their last teacher was correct in assessing that it was too much of a leap forward to try it we do have to get it out of their system and let them, I have actually been suprised sometimes by unexpected success, some actually get through tough pieces well as they stretch their capabilities, the majority of the times this doesn't happen but we have to test it out to see in what way it will build them up.

It is not surprising that I find that many young students like to get rewards, stickers or prizes! It is not bad to give these to your young students at least they get a sense of achievement and a sticker to a child is worth a lot don't you remember? But as they grow up this sort of thing gets old. I find after a while this system of giving rewards becomes less effective at motivating a student to do work, its "luster and shine" wears down. The student needs to find a stronger motivation to do well with their piano (or anything else for that matter). If I as a teacher cannot encourage the student to make that connection with their music then they will never progress. I still give presents to my older students when they complete some large project, exam, competition, performance etc these are not so much for motivating them to learn but as my token of appreciation for their achievement.

The cultural background and involvement of parents in young students is also an important factor determining work ethic. I think we are a reflection of our parents in some respect. My Chinese students for example are generally quite hard workers because many parents believe if a child is not working hard and sweating they are not working hard enough. I am half Chinese and from knowing many Chinese families of my own (and my students) I find that more Chinese kids are brought up with a more strict work ethic than Caucasian families on average. So because we see a lot of excellent Chinese musicians is not only because there are a lot of us out there but because of the pressure to achieve and work hard instilled at a young age. As teachers dealing with students who are not brough up in this way we can also build inroads into their work ethic, it is a very long processes though but sometimes if there is no support elsewhere in the students life to do such things it can be a real uphill battle. Setting them up to succeed is essential when building up work habits, small improvements which are doable and achievable and then building upon that ever so slightly over time.

One case which taught me a lot about building work habits was this one young girl I taught and before we started our first lesson her guardian took me aside and said that she was a problem child, very disobedient in the schooling system, is sent to headmaster often for bad behaviour, is in the child protection service, has many behavioural issues etc etc. I was told if she was abusive or rude to me to let them know immediately, they sat outside of the studio and waited for lessons to end. I knew immediately that this young child was used to failure, was used to being told "No! Don't!" etc etc. So I made it my goal not to say these things, give no negative feedback only positive, give her an experience that she never dealt with before. Only build her up and never break her down which was extremely challenging.

She was a crazy student at first, she spat while she talked on purpose to try and get a reaction from me, she would try to slam the piano lid down, she would contort herself on the piano stool and make all sorts of weird noises, all sorts of things to be naughty. She expected me in that first lesson to "tell on her" or to reprimand her as she was so used to but I didn't because I knew she was used to this kind of thing it would have no effect. I would only offer positive commentary and any attempt to do what I asked for on the piano was met with a lot of joy and positive feedback. I introduced lollies and stickers for her good work efforts, it made her focus a great deal though she would still play up now and then, I would still give her a reward at the end of each lesson and say she did very well even if I thought she could have done better. I had to be very aware not to give negative feedback because this child was so used to it and it has no effect anymore so I only gave positive ones even when she behaved badly or resisted a task I would say things and exaggerate positive feedback like "I know you are a good girl and can do it, you are really good at the piano! Some students can't do as well as you when they try this. " Where with a normal functioning child I may say things to challenge them like "You know one of my students much younger than you in kindergarten managed to do this, I wonder if you can do better?"

Being given only positive feedback to help build her work habits she transformed into something totally different over time. It also had effect on her normal schooling as her confidence was built up in her piano lessons and that she was valuable and worthy of learning. I never once told her off even though I could have done it hundreds of times though the way in which I told her off was more subtle and kind. I would start to challenge her more and more in directing her attention saying things like "I was very impressed with how you did this last week I wonder if you can do the same today?" "Oh that almost was as good as last week, lets try one more time" etc. Or when I gave her a reward at the end of the lesson I would say things like "You did very well today but you could have got a little more if ...... but don't worry next time you will do it I am sure!" The positive feedback still was related to her efforts and nothing externally. This all however had to be done carefully and mindfully, you have to know if what you are saying is penetrating into their mind or simply a comment that is in one ear and out the other. Her guardian was in tears one day telling me with how well she did when she played at a student concert at school and how much confidence it gave her and how surprised others were that she could do it. The postiive feedback for her efforts extended to getting it from other people also who appreciated her hard work.


"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: AZNpiano] #2848611
05/16/19 12:45 AM
05/16/19 12:45 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
marginalised perspectives

Yes, my perspective is "marginalized" because you write so many useless words, and my words get shoved to the margins. Is that what you mean?

Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
band of minorities

Look around, buddy. YOU are clearly in the minority.


So often the majority gang up against the minorities and should be ashamed of how they behave. Since this is the teacher's forum I guess I do not belong here and at the moment I am glad I do not!

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: outo] #2848613
05/16/19 01:00 AM
05/16/19 01:00 AM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,132
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Online happy
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Originally Posted by outo
So often the majority gang up against the minorities and should be ashamed of how they behave.

Ashamed???? You ought to choose your words more wisely. Just exactly what "shameful" behavior do you speak of?

Originally Posted by outo
Since this is the teacher's forum I guess I do not belong here and at the moment I am glad I do not!

Then why are you writing anything at all? Do you enjoy standing up for the minority, even when the minority is obviously wrong?

This majority/minority argument is a straw man.


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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: AZNpiano] #2848616
05/16/19 01:16 AM
05/16/19 01:16 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by outo
So often the majority gang up against the minorities and should be ashamed of how they behave.

Ashamed???? You ought to choose your words more wisely. Just exactly what "shameful" behavior do you speak of?

Originally Posted by outo
Since this is the teacher's forum I guess I do not belong here and at the moment I am glad I do not!

Then why are you writing anything at all? Do you enjoy standing up for the minority, even when the minority is obviously wrong?

This majority/minority argument is a straw man.


I only post on this thread because it seems to be ok to stray off topic and attack the OP for the WAY he writes instead of discussing his actual arguments and explanations. I do not have time to read all his posts, but I read enough to see it's not just mindless babble, but well thought ideas, whether you agree with them or not.. If people already decided his posts are not worth reading or discussing and the op's style really bothers then that much, why come here at all? Just do not click on the thread and let those people who want to continue the discussion.

If you really think everything posted here by others than op is just fine and good behavior, then I just admit I am lacking and do not understand some piano teacher's mentality.

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848621
05/16/19 01:51 AM
05/16/19 01:51 AM
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I have to agree, Outo. I haven’t been able to figure out why those who have no interest in LiW's posts don’t simply not bother with the thread. Why keep coming back? No one is required to read or respond and I do think there have been some unconstructive and rude responses.


April
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848628
05/16/19 02:34 AM
05/16/19 02:34 AM
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West Australia
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Critique is very very much encouraged but the type that doesn't deal with the information shared in a constructive manner is quite useless. I am not one to ever be bullied out of a forum post I've dealt with all sorts of people who try to supress those who are different from them online and in person, that is why perhaps these irrelevant posts are continuing as if it were a game to see who cracks first. In real life I have stood up to bullies and protected the weak many many times and thus became a target as well for their destructive behaviour, I welcome it, pick on someone who can stand up for themselves!

I wonder why some people try to strangle difference if they do not personally connect to it, coming from a pianoforum which is supposed to celebrate differences and creativity that is a real conundrum. Sitting in a room practicing piano is certainly a marginalized activity, playing piano is certainly not very popular these days, you would expect teachers and students of music would embrace what they percieve as different.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/16/19 02:38 AM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848828
05/16/19 01:26 PM
05/16/19 01:26 PM
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West Australia
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Using Kindness to build up.

Kindness is the currency of change and in lessons need to come from both how the teacher treats the student and how the student treats themselves. The teacher needs to be aware of the feelings they are generating in their students as they transfer change and knowledge over to them. The teacher also has to be aware of what the students think of themselves. We should avoid being harsh and stern with our students and I am sure we all know the teachers we came across who were authoritarians and scared you into education. We need to learn how to be soft and then a kind of firmness will exist in our teaching which is quite irresistible and causes great change. "Sugar catches more flies than vinegar." We also need to ensure our students don't feel negatively about themselves and help build their self worth and their confidence/pride in their abilities to learn.

We need to draw their attention to the steps of progress that they can achieve easily. It is very easy to overwhelm the students with the amount of improvement or work they really do need to go through. We need to provide easily achievable goals they can complete before our next lesson and we must ensure they are focused to solve these and know that it can be solved sooner rather than later.

"How" to achieve the small goals needs to be well understood because once there is confidence in the "how" then the work will be a lot easier and attractive for them and they will be encouraged to practice. Teachers aim to provide details that make personal sense to the student and is at their level as to "how" to improve, this makes the practice easy and doable and everyone likes activities that they can predominantly do successfully. We need to take time to go through their practice method to make sure they feel confident in the particular process of improvement that we prescribe them and what its purpose is and a sense of its timeline to completion (usually it should be completed in lessons from start to finish and then they merely have to continue that process on their own until the next lesson though for more experienced diligent students this process can summarized and specific points they need to be pay attention to revealed, then they can be trusted to work on their own). This will help us abandon ever saying to our students the generalized response "Practice hard" or "Give it time" which to me merely leave the students feeling uncertain and prone to brute force mindless practice.

As teachers we need to be a source of constant motivation and always present a belief in our students whether they win or lose. We need to be excited over the seemingly small wins that our students achieve, we need to modify our perspective to match how our student is seeing the work. We must be wary not to feel less encouraged by their seemingly small progress or poor progess, we need to be naturally interested in our students because we are seeing it from their point of view and we always want them to win, we are cheering them on. We need to also be a source of confidence, being always positive if they fail or do things poorly.

It is not a perfect world and all teachers have experience a situation where you will set some work which went well during lessons but then later on the student doesn't apply themselves. If a student struggles with practicing on their own we need to make things easier and easier for them so they get back into that realm of success and not break them down by mentioning their lack of practice. Just get on with the job and cheer them on, create an environment where they are set up to win.

We really need to remove from our vocab "You didn't practice enough" we may know very well that this may be the issue but we need to be kind enough to resist that kind of response, we need to be totally on their side. Some teachers may have "tongue in cheek" because they wonder how can we then get the students to understand practice is important if we don't pull them into line when they don't practice? As soon as we take out of our habits the need to critique their lack of practice we will then come up with more creative ways to help them and it always starts with us reevaluating and then setting them up to win. That is the kindness we need to use and its effect is much more powerful than a hardened approach.

We also need to be kind enough not to make them feel that we are "dumbing it down" for them. We need to constantly reassure them that if something isn't working or becomes too difficult that it is a normal situation for everyone and they should not think any less of themselves. I find though as students feel that we may be dumbing things down this can encourage them to work harder so that they can prove they don't have to do things that seem so easy. That gives us inroads into increasing the workload but we must ensure that they still feel confident with what we give them.

Some may worry that some younger students may become very lazy and simply wish to remain in this simple realm where they don't have much work and can complete it so easily. Sure a young students short term view may take advantage of this all but it will not last the long term, from my experience it never has unless I miss that they hate music and are forced into it which in that case your attention needs to work on that issue first. Don't fear that in the short term they may take advantage of it, let them feel like they are cheating the system and getting the easy way out, eventually that joy will vanish and you can slowly build up the amount of work they need to deal with without them really noticing it. We need to allow them that experience and then work with it and build up different attitudes. It is also good to negotiate with these type of students how much work they think they can get through, let them be a part of that process and build their expectations and confidence of what they truthfully can manage themselves. This also applies to adult students who may be negative about their capabilities.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/16/19 01:36 PM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: keystring] #2848900
05/16/19 04:00 PM
05/16/19 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by TimR
When I used to drive on the Autobahn we had a saying: If you see one Geistfahrer, dodge them and you're probably okay; when you see a hundred, there's a problem. Relevance to this scenario is obvious.

It's not often I learn a new German word. So it seems that a Geisterfahrer is someone who is driving west on an eastbound lane. Is there an English word for this?


Not that I know of. Surely it is more common in the US, where driver education is much less rigorous. But apparently it is common enough in Germany that it has a term, and in fact I've actually heard the warning given over the radio stations.

On the one hand the German drivers tend to be highly skilled, and on the other the Autobahn entrances and exits (where the heck is this Ausfahrt, anyway, and who would name a town that) can be confusing. I was reviewing expense claims from one of my German employees, and he had claimed 110 km more in one direction than the other, going and returning from training. He was a bit embarrassed to admit he got on the Autobahn going the wrong direction and had nowhere to turn around. Yup, been there done that.

My own story of confusion: I was totally lost in a maze of streets, until I saw one I recognized - Einbahnstrasse. That did not prove as helpful as I initially hoped.


gotta go practice
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: keystring] #2848901
05/16/19 04:07 PM
05/16/19 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by TimR
When I used to drive on the Autobahn we had a saying: If you see one Geistfahrer, dodge them and you're probably okay; when you see a hundred, there's a problem. Relevance to this scenario is obvious.

It's not often I learn a new German word. So it seems that a Geisterfahrer is someone who is driving west on an eastbound lane. Is there an English word for this?


Oh. and thank you for correcting my spelling. I think I had only heard it spoken and never saw it written, and didn't realize it had another syllable.


gotta go practice
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: TimR] #2848932
05/16/19 05:42 PM
05/16/19 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Oh. and thank you for correcting my spelling. I think I had only heard it spoken and never saw it written, and didn't realize it had another syllable.

Actually it's only because I had to look it up, and that's what came up under the Google suggestions. The question of equivalent term in English came naturally because my current profession is as a translator. You want every translation to sound as "native" as possible, while conveying the entire meaning, and if a concept does not exist in the other language / country it gets interesting. German may use a noun "Geisterfahrer" and a person may be convicted of being a Geisterfahrer" or maybe of 'Geisterfahrung" if that exists, but English might say "convicted of driving the wrong direction" and be more verb-oriented. Looking for equivalents becomes an ingrained habit.

The look at meanings of words also becomes philosophical, because you realize how much of this symbol system called words is tied up with concepts that an entire society holds, and whether this also influences thinking itself - chicken or egg.

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2848934
05/16/19 05:47 PM
05/16/19 05:47 PM
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Back to the thread itself, and the common OT of this thread:

I do not entirely agree with the Geisterfahrer concept, if it means some kind of common group-think. Forums do often tend to go that way. The trend over time is for their be commonly held concepts, philosophies, a kind of bland average. As a result, thinking and knowledgeable people gradually drift away. This kind of school-of-fish swimming does not appeal to me.

Otoh, if communicating, you must also put yourself into the mindset of your interlocutors so as to be understood. Conversation also has hidden conventions, and when they are not understood, you can get friction or just puzzlement. Going back to language: It is an imperfect and crude set of symbols together with patterns meant to convey the world and thought, which are much more intricate. It is surprising how much actually does manage to get conveyed, and sometimes it isn't. smile

Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: TimR] #2848960
05/16/19 07:04 PM
05/16/19 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR

My own story of confusion: I was totally lost in a maze of streets, until I saw one I recognized - Einbahnstrasse. That did not prove as helpful as I initially hoped.


Ah yes. I have heard stories of LDS missionaries canvassing on Einbahnstrasse!

We reached an equally incorrect conclusion while driving in Bulgaria, passing dozens of signs that said Varna, which we thought meant "Exit" or "East" but is in fact the name of a city to the east, requiring an exit of the freeway, so partial credit for decoding context at high speed and in Cyrillic.


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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: keystring] #2849036
05/16/19 10:16 PM
05/16/19 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring


I do not entirely agree with the Geisterfahrer concept, if it means some kind of common group-think. smile


Yes, I agree, and I was a bit less than explicit with that example.

Here's what I meant. If one of us is having trouble LiW's exposition of his "wisdom," it might be us or him. If you see one Geisterfahrer, you're not sure if you're the wrong driver or the other is.

If a large number of Geisterfahren appear, you have to at least consider the possibility that the fault might be yours. Similarly, if a large number of commenters find difficulty with LiWs presentation, he should at least consider the very very remote possibility that some fault exists in either his presentation or his content. Judging from the past 15 years of his posts on pianostreet, this is not just unlikely but impossible.

My biggest complaint about his posts on this thread is neither the length of his posts nor the inchoate nature of them, but the contempt he shows for the knowledge and skills of the regular teachers here. I have huge respect for the professionalism of the regulars here, and learn something every time I visit. I cannot comprehend coming here to instruct them as if they were children, it's unimaginable.


gotta go practice
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: malkin] #2849040
05/16/19 10:29 PM
05/16/19 10:29 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by TimR
When I used to drive on the Autobahn we had a saying: If you see one Geistfahrer, dodge them and you're probably okay; when you see a hundred, there's a problem. Relevance to this scenario is obvious.

It's not often I learn a new German word. So it seems that a Geisterfahrer is someone who is driving west on an eastbound lane. Is there an English word for this?


I'd say "wrong way driver." I've also seen it hyphenated "wrong-way driver."

Wikipedia also refers to a colloquial term "ghost driving" but I've never heard that, and wouldn't know what it meant without context.



Oh, NOW I get it. The google "ghost driving" is a literal translation of the German,


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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: TimR] #2849056
05/16/19 11:49 PM
05/16/19 11:49 PM
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Lostinidlewonder Offline OP
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Originally Posted by TimR
[quote=keystring]
Similarly, if a large number of commenters find difficulty with LiWs presentation, he should at least consider the very very remote possibility that some fault exists in either his presentation or his content. Judging from the past 15 years of his posts on pianostreet, this is not just unlikely but impossible.

My biggest complaint about his posts on this thread is neither the length of his posts nor the inchoate nature of them, but the contempt he shows for the knowledge and skills of the regular teachers here. I have huge respect for the professionalism of the regulars here, and learn something every time I visit. I cannot comprehend coming here to instruct them as if they were children, it's unimaginable.

You have no evidence that I have contempt for the knowledge and skills of other teachers here, that is an absolutely false and rather rude accusation. Quote me in one passage which supports this ridiculous claim. What are you doing doing on my thread if you disagree with it so? I know you are probably Tim from pianostreet also, are you hurt that I am now occasioning pianoworld? You do not engage on my threads on pianostreet but now on pianoworld all of a sudden? Is it because this is your private playground? Please! Thanks for keeping my post bumped up though, appreciated ^_^

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/16/19 11:51 PM.

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Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2849063
05/17/19 12:13 AM
05/17/19 12:13 AM
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What tools can we build up that are helpful for music development? Other than the relationship with the student which I have written about in detail several times I would like to list out other principles that should be built up at all levels of piano study. These points help develop the ability to formulate an efficient approach to musical study.

I: [Types of memory]
Identifying the three types of memory and knowing when one is using it.

Conscious: Visual and logical observations of the sheet music and keyboard that aid sight reading and encourage Muscular memory.

Muscular: Producing a group of notes with a relaxed movement of our hands.

Sound: How the sound in our minds eye effects muscular and conscious memory.

II: [Observing pattern]
See, hear and use pattern observation in music to improve sight reading, memory and performance of a score. How to one drill a passage of music mindfully instead of brute force repetitions. How to mark/highlight/color and section sheet music to highlight observations.

III: [Using building blocks of music]
Knowledge of the building blocks of music including; scales, chords and arpeggios and how to observe their pattern, shape,form and sound. How observing pattern allows us to learn more of the piece simultaneously. Here one can learn generic fingering ideas which can be applied to music or transformed slightly.

IV: [Listening to ourself and others]
Observations made when listening to how ourselves and others express music. How to listen, assess, take note of and make changes to what we are producing while playing.

V: [Hand movement and rest]
Understanding when the hand has to move and when it should remain about a single position. These can be considered as “Movement Groups”. Manipulations of controlled pausing in between movement groups to practice “difficult” sections. Coordination issues such as syncopation (x notes against y), rhythmic accenuation, phrasing etc. Studying the art of fingering and how to determine the best fingers to use in a given passage and reasonings for it.

VI: [Reading music]
How to read sheet music and how to make improvements to speed, accuracy and “difficulty” of what we can fluently sight read. The multiple ways in which you can study sight reading. This also closely studies the art of fingering as with good fingering reading becomes easier.

VII: [General knowledge of piano]
An appreciation of major classical composers for the keyboard (Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Liszt etc) and various piano styles (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Jazz, Blues, Ragtime etc). How a piano is built and functions.

VIII: [Discipline and organization]
How to increase your rate of learning, knowing ones technical/musical strengths and limitations, how to set long, medium and short term goals. Estimating the time it takes to memorize a piece and measuring/increasing your memorization rate.

IX: [Physical posture]
How one sits at the keyboard and the various positions for our hands given the musical context. What is an efficient technique and how do we improve our technical efficiency. The logic behind fingering choices.


Of all of these I feel that Disicpline is one of the hardest thing to develop because it asks you to change the way you live your life. I believe that discipline with respect to music is effected by your circumstances, your environment, your reason for life. Most people treat music as merely a hobby, a curiosity, something that is interesting to do to waste some of your time, they cannot connect to it and relate it to their life as a whole thus they will never approach it as seriously as they could if they changed the perspective of their life (this is of course may seem impossible for some people to even consider, they might have a family to raise, a high demand job etc etc).

Learning musical instruments clearly separates people depending on their discipline. Talent is not so important ultimately when studying music it is the ability to power ahead with persistence and determination that can make you a great musician. This means that everyone has to create a time table to work off if they want to approach their music seriously, music has to "hip and shoulder" a dedicated space into your daily routine not simply be fit in where it can.

We actively have to make a change to our daily routine to make a commitment to our music if we want to improve upon our disciplined approach. Too many people simply fit music in-between something or at the end of something, it takes a very low priority in their daily schedule. Many people would immediately improve upon their approach to music if they simply give it more importance to their daily routine. This is of course asking a lot for some people who would like to study music but lead very busy lives. You do not have to perhaps do it daily but give yourself some more time to it, stop just fitting it in comfortably when it suits yourself.

I find some people can never improve upon this because music is just not important enough for them. To some it is very important but they simply cannot deal with the amount of work that they have to get through to achieve the baby steps toward mastery. Some people need to understand how to dream, how to set goals, how to work towards something. Dreams need to be big, too many people forget how to dream, they forget how to excite themselves with great aspirations, they become pessimistic thinking about the work, about their failures, about the challenges that lie ahead, they "aim for the trees and hit themselves in the foot" instead of "aiming for the stars and hitting the moon". People worry themselves so much that they are not willing to risk to take the first step!

This is certainly a very interesting topic to discuss and I have learnt a lot of it from my father who is director of multi billion dollar engineering projects, the organization, goal setting, time management etc etc, extremely important tools which is multi disciplinary. I found it amazing how someone in engineering management can give advice on musical study and it certainly gave me an interesting perspective on musical study from another disciplinary viewpoint. A second source for inspiration was from Professor Fiona Walls from the Townsville University, who I taught for a number of years when she was professor at Murdoch University in West Australia (she does research on teaching and has published many papers). Our discussions on the need for actual world experience with a subject when teaching was invaluable. For example with students of piano you may be shocked to realize that many of them have never actually attended a piano solo concert. This is a big part of their education that is missing, people think that videos and recordings substitute this but it does not as our senses are effected differently in a live performance than in a reproduction. So I discuss a lot about experiencing music and attaching that to our disciplined approach to music. Go out and see art work, go out and watch live perfomers of all types, read about the history of the countries that the composers lived, go out into nature and see what inspired some musicians to write about certain elements of it etc etc. Actively making this a disciplined part of your approach to music will certainly boost your motivation to practice music more in your quiet private space.


Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/17/19 12:16 AM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Always build up, never break down. [Re: Lostinidlewonder] #2849064
05/17/19 12:16 AM
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If we are to discuss LiW online personality here, I must add that I have had my disagreements with him in the past. He's a stubborn one surely, but does not seem to be a kind that holds a grudge afterwards.

Sometimes this place (the forums I visit) shows a preference for similar minded people and also the discussion culture is more of the kind common in US. Since I come from a different background (as does LiW) I do not always feel like I belong. I just try to behave and not ruffle feathers too much... With more or less success wink

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