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Have you ever dropped a student..... #2849439
05/17/19 11:31 PM
05/17/19 11:31 PM
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Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline OP
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for being nervous during lessons? This never occurred to me, and I was kind of upset when I heard this is a possibility. Why would anyone do this if the student is a hard worker, progresses well through pieces, does all homework, etc. I would think a memory lapse or losing your place is quite common for students. Any thoughts about this?


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849445
05/17/19 11:53 PM
05/17/19 11:53 PM
Joined: May 2013
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Florida
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I have not heard of such a thing. Unless it’s a high level university student going through an advanced degree that was not within reach, I would hope a teacher would help the student work through whatever issue caused the problem.

Last edited by cmb13; 05/18/19 05:03 AM. Reason: Poor first response

Steinway A3
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"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849486
05/18/19 05:21 AM
05/18/19 05:21 AM
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I am also upset to hear something like this, a teacher should help students no matter what, it is the teachers responsibility to help the students deal with their anxiety and vunerability. Discarding a student because of their nerves is an atrocious thing to do. I agree that some children are far too young to start and if they are super shy and wont listen to the teacher and cry for their parents with anxiety in these cases it makes sense to stop lessons and wait till they develop a little more. But if they are actually doing work in the lesson there is no reason to drop them, ridiculous imho.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/18/19 05:22 AM.

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all"
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849495
05/18/19 06:26 AM
05/18/19 06:26 AM
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Sounds like there's way more to this to be understood before one can offer a useful comment,

Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849525
05/18/19 08:55 AM
05/18/19 08:55 AM
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Niagara Falls NY
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It's actually an adult student. OK, it's me! I'm not at university level, just RCM grade 5 almost starting 6. I've only been with this teacher for 2 months, and have (I thought) been progressing well. I practice 2 hours a day, am playing solid repertoire (I'm actually working on a level 8 piece that's going very well), doing all my technical work, theory, sight reading too. Yes, I do have some jittery nerves during lessons, but I assumed that this is extremely common. I also send my teacher recordings when I'm in the polishing stage so she can hear that I can indeed play the pieces well. I'm very dedicated, I have an online teacher, too, I ask questions when I don't understand something, I follow directions, and I'm progressing really well (at least I'm very happy with how far I've come). But she commented at the end of my last lesson that she's not sure she can help me, and that I really need to tackle my nervousness.

I'm at a loss. Thanks for any input.


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: cmb13] #2849526
05/18/19 08:59 AM
05/18/19 08:59 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 939
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by cmb13
I have not heard of such a thing. Unless it’s a high level university student going through an advanced degree that was not within reach, I would hope a teacher would help the student work through whatever issue caused the problem.


I assumed this, as well! Now I feel under the gun to 'fix' what is wrong with me, and it has nothing to do with my technique. Seriously, I'm not that bad. I don't fall apart or anything, I just sometimes have a memory lapse or occasionally lose my place on the page. Doesn't almost EVERY student experience this??


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849538
05/18/19 09:26 AM
05/18/19 09:26 AM
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Florida
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Reposting part of what I sent by pm in case the teachers here can correct or add to it -

I think that pausing or having trouble playing through a piece is a skill that needs to be worked on just like any other skill. I too have this performance issue - it happens during lessons and during recording. During my most recent lesson I played terribly a piece I was able to play at home. My teacher has actually helped me with skills to overcome this, such learning not to stop no matter how bad the mistake. One tip is learning certain checkpoints such as what chord you are in, or nearby measures to jump to in an emergency. We worked on this specifically in preparation for my live recital in December, but it is not practical to do this for every small practice piece.

Another thing that helps is being able to play without losing your place - helps if you can play without looking down. There are threads about how to improve this, but for me nothing but time has helped. Time, practice, patience. I’ve gotten a lot better at this but it’s taken a long, long time.

You’re not supposed to play wrong notes, but you’re really not supposed to stop!!! It’s different when you’re practicing a small section, but if playing through, the beat must go on! Especially during a performance. Learning how to do this even in the setting of a mistake is the problem to solve.

An issue that I have yet to resolve, is what to do when you mess up so badly that your fingers are off and require complete repositioning that you have to look down for more than a glance to correct it. This is what I call a Fatal Error. How do you continue without losing the beat? That is something I have not yet figured out. Maybe keep playing the other hand, and pick up when you can? I don’t know. This too can be intentionally practiced, though.

Playing piano has become a passion of ours. To be made to feel like we’re not good enough to continue to work with, or uneducable, after 5 years of hard work, would make anyone feel terrible. I left my first teacher for a number of reasons, one of which was that no matter how hard I worked, he just made me feel like I couldn’t play fast enough, accurately enough or well enough. It was probably enough to make most people quit, but I knew I was improving, doing well, and still loved it, and from the forum knew that his quest for speed and accuracy at two years (at the time) on any given piece was not productive.

Finally, maybe you indeed misinterpreted the teachers comments? I would consider asking him/her to specifically help you with this issue. Maybe the answer is easier music, or learning techniques to combat the issue. I am working on two levels now - a reach piece with no expectation of playing through any time soon, and easier pieces to build skills and practice reading. If, on the other hand, the teacher meant it and has no solution to offer, maybe it’s time to find a different teacher. You have options - you’re the consumer here.

Let’s see what the experts say.
Teachers?

(Sorry for the length of this post)


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

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Working On
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Bach Inventions
Grieg Sonata - Andante molto

"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849549
05/18/19 09:52 AM
05/18/19 09:52 AM
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If a teacher is not competent to teach a student, the teacher should refer the student to another teacher.

The comment that she's not sure she can help you and that you need to tackle your nervousness is remarkable. That sort of edict is useless (won't improve the situation) and is counterproductive (likely to make a nervous student more nervous).

I suppose the grown up thing to do would be to ask her directly to help you work on the issue. I probably would just start looking for a new teacher.

There are teachers who will work with anxious students. I certainly have one.


Learner
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: malkin] #2849559
05/18/19 10:19 AM
05/18/19 10:19 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 939
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by malkin
If a teacher is not competent to teach a student, the teacher should refer the student to another teacher.

The comment that she's not sure she can help you and that you need to tackle your nervousness is remarkable. That sort of edict is useless (won't improve the situation) and is counterproductive (likely to make a nervous student more nervous).

I suppose the grown up thing to do would be to ask her directly to help you work on the issue. I probably would just start looking for a new teacher.

There are teachers who will work with anxious students. I certainly have one.


Thank you for this, I'm glad I posted about it instead of stewing in it. She did tell me last lesson to work on playing through and not stopping if I make a mistake. My last 2 teachers would usually stop me and correct me if I made a mistake, so this is something new for me. I can plow through, that's no problem. It's not like I'm panicking or anything, my hands aren't shaking, I just want to do my best.

I've decided to play slower and as carefully as I can during lessons, and I'm working on knowing exactly where I am in the music, so I can keep on track if I hiccup, I've just never had issues with making mistakes with past teachers, they would usually lighten things up by making a joke or something, or just saying "OK, just try again." These lessons are pretty intense, usually about an hour and 15 minutes, which is great but kind of mentally exhausting. I usually have a glass wine when I get home, LOL!! I am a serious student, though, so I appreciate all the work that happens in my lessons. I just feel kind of under the gun now. I really like this teacher SO much, I don't want to try and find another one. She's really, really good, IMO. The best teacher I've ever had. I just need to work harder..


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849561
05/18/19 10:24 AM
05/18/19 10:24 AM
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[quote=ebonykawai] But she commented at the end of my last lesson that she's not sure she can help me, and that I really need to tackle my nervousness.
I'm at a loss. Thanks for any input. [/quote
This is her shortcoming, not yours! And it might be that she just is insecure, and that your nervousness somehow elicits her insecurity in a way that is uncomfortable for her.
Find another pianoteacher, tell them about your nervousness and your experience with this teacher before you even start your first lesson. And then forget about her.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: Animisha] #2849574
05/18/19 11:04 AM
05/18/19 11:04 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 939
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by ebonykawai
But she commented at the end of my last lesson that she's not sure she can help me, and that I really need to tackle my nervousness.
I'm at a loss. Thanks for any input.

This is her shortcoming, not yours! And it might be that she just is insecure, and that your nervousness somehow elicits her insecurity in a way that is uncomfortable for her.
Find another pianoteacher, tell them about your nervousness and your experience with this teacher before you even start your first lesson. And then forget about her.


There's just such a shortage of good solid teachers here, it took me years to find her! My other teachers were certainly very nice and I also liked them, but they didn't impart all the knowledge that this one does. For instance, a few years ago, I was working on Chopin's b minor prelude and having some real issues pedaling it so that it was clear and not muddy, and my teacher at that time didn't offer any pedaling advice, just had me drop the piece until I learned to pedal better. From whom I was going to learn to pedal better, I have no idea!!! I did end up researching the piece and getting the pedaling down much better, but that teacher had no pedaling advice for me. My first teacher, going back 20+ years, was a lovely woman, I liked her a great deal, but she did no theory with me, never really taught pedaling very much, and threw me into really advanced pieces I had no right to even attempt because they were SO above my abilities at that time (eg. Solfeggietto when I was only working on Alfred's book 1).

I really don't want to try and find another teacher. I really, really don't. There has to be a way for me to do better in her eyes so I can feel confident going on. This has upset me, though, I won't lie.

Last edited by ebonykawai; 05/18/19 11:06 AM.

Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849578
05/18/19 11:21 AM
05/18/19 11:21 AM
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Florida
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No - you don’t need to work harder. You’re working hard already. It’s not a full time job. You have a family and other responsibilities, I’m sure.

And if you really like this teacher, you don’t need to change. And don’t worry about appearing better in her eyes either. If you knew how to do everything, you wouldn’t need a teacher. Feel confident. You’ve gotten this far, and will continue on. Progress, I’ve found, can only be measured in months to years.

What you need is for her to help you understand what she wants and for her to teach you how to do it, then practice it. As you know, learning to play piano consists of building about 2,400 different skills. Learn this one, check it off, and move on! It may take a few weeks, or even a few months, as most of these skills do. And do NOT feel bad about yourself. You should be very proud that you’re in the top 1% of adult piano students who have not quit, who have learned and accomplished so much. I have self doubt also. I’m sure we all do - we’re lifelong learners and perfectionists.

So please have a great weekend and let us know how it goes!!


Steinway A3
Boston 118 PE

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Working On
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"You Can Never Have Too Many Dream Pianos" -Thad Carhart
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849579
05/18/19 11:29 AM
05/18/19 11:29 AM
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Niagara Falls NY
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Thank you!!!!


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849581
05/18/19 11:31 AM
05/18/19 11:31 AM
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Of course it has upset you..., it would upset any of us. I would recommend that you not ‘try harder’ as that will not increase your confidence. Record yourself and don’t stop with a mistake; this can’t be done with every
Practice as you still need the good practice habit of scrubbing on the problems.

Intermittent to the scrubbing, just say to yourself ‘ok, I’m playing through this time’

Additionally what has helped my teacher anxiety was to change the way I view lessons: from ‘see how hard I’ve worked’ to ‘help me fix the problems/answer these questions’. I flag the measures where I need help and we start my lessons with just those: it could be fingering, pedaling, interpretation.... any problem. Then I might ‘play through’ a section or the entire piece, and we discuss what else my teacher notes. I consider her my mentor, with a brain to pick.

You hang in there😊😊🤪. Anything worth learning has bumps and not everyone is good at ‘ gentle’ communication. Hope you can find a way to make it work for you In fact, I honestly believe her comment was based on frustration because she feels like she may be making you more nervous than expected, she sees the potential and how hard you’re working, and wonders if somebody else wouldn’t make you feel more at ease than she does

My forum signature is ‘it’s ok to be a work in progress’ and that’s my new mantra


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

It’s ok to be a Work In Progress
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: dogperson] #2849601
05/18/19 12:11 PM
05/18/19 12:11 PM
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Posts: 939
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Of course it has upset you..., it would upset any of us. I would recommend that you not ‘try harder’ as that will not increase your confidence. Record yourself and don’t stop with a mistake; this can’t be done with every
Practice as you still need the good practice habit of scrubbing on the problems.

Intermittent to the scrubbing, just say to yourself ‘ok, I’m playing through this time’

Additionally what has helped my teacher anxiety was to change the way I view lessons: from ‘see how hard I’ve worked’ to ‘help me fix the problems/answer these questions’. I flag the measures where I need help and we start my lessons with just those: it could be fingering, pedaling, interpretation.... any problem. Then I might ‘play through’ a section or the entire piece, and we discuss what else my teacher notes. I consider her my mentor, with a brain to pick.

You hang in there😊😊🤪. Anything worth learning has bumps and not everyone is good at ‘ gentle’ communication. Hope you can find a way to make it work for you In fact, I honestly believe her comment was based on frustration because she feels like she may be making you more nervous than expected, she sees the potential and how hard you’re working, and wonders if somebody else wouldn’t make you feel more at ease than she does

My forum signature is ‘it’s ok to be a work in progress’ and that’s my new mantra


This is super helpful, thank you!! That's a good way of starting off a lesson, I'll do that next time. When I have to play a whole piece through the first time, it's intimidating for me. Breaking it down to problem sections first will give me some time to get comfortable, then maybe just play that section, or the whole piece if I've gotten to the end of it. Honestly, now that I think about it, that darn Bach piece is the only one where I tend to lose myself. It's just complicated. The other pieces I'm playing are much more straight forward. Bach screws me every time, LOL!!


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: Animisha] #2849602
05/18/19 12:11 PM
05/18/19 12:11 PM
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Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by Animisha
[quote=ebonykawai] But she commented at the end of my last lesson that she's not sure she can help me, and that I really need to tackle my nervousness.
I'm at a loss. Thanks for any input. [/quote
This is her shortcoming, not yours! And it might be that she just is insecure, and that your nervousness somehow elicits her insecurity in a way that is uncomfortable for her.
Find another pianoteacher, tell them about your nervousness and your experience with this teacher before you even start your first lesson. And then forget about her.

This is exactly how I see it. A teacher who cannot/will not help a student needs to recommend they find someone who can. Perhaps she's doing this, or perhaps it was said in a way that made you feel it was you who were at fault. Either way, it's time to find another teacher.

Don't take it personally - none of us learn everything from one person.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: dogperson] #2849604
05/18/19 12:16 PM
05/18/19 12:16 PM
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Boynton Beach, FL
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Originally Posted by dogperson
...
Additionally what has helped my teacher anxiety was to change the way I view lessons: from ‘see how hard I’ve worked’ to ‘help me fix the problems/answer these questions’. I flag the measures where I need help and we start my lessons with just those: it could be fingering, pedaling, interpretation.... any problem. Then I might ‘play through’ a section or the entire piece, and we discuss what else my teacher notes. I consider her my mentor, with a brain to pick.

+1

This is exactly what lessons are for - to show us what you're doing wrong so we can help you fix them. Don't try to hide the mistakes or the problem areas - show them to us! But I still am curious about why this teacher said what she did. Perhaps at your next lesson you can ask her why she said this, and let her know you are happy with lessons and your progress and that you really don't want to switch teachers. I think a conversation like this will be helpful for both of you to regroup and get back on the same page.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: Morodiene] #2849641
05/18/19 01:35 PM
05/18/19 01:35 PM
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Posts: 939
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline OP
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

+1

This is exactly what lessons are for - to show us what you're doing wrong so we can help you fix them. Don't try to hide the mistakes or the problem areas - show them to us! But I still am curious about why this teacher said what she did. Perhaps at your next lesson you can ask her why she said this, and let her know you are happy with lessons and your progress and that you really don't want to switch teachers. I think a conversation like this will be helpful for both of you to regroup and get back on the same page.


Yes, agreed! I'll bring it up next time. 😊 Thank you!


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: dogperson] #2849643
05/18/19 01:37 PM
05/18/19 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson

My forum signature is ‘it’s ok to be a work in progress’ and that’s my new mantra


Nice!
I like to say "incomplete mastery" for "work in progress."

As for "trying harder" it might be best to focus on the instructions given by the teacher and try harder to work only on that. Sometimes I end up down a rabbit hole because I've been trying to work on something other than the instructions given by my teacher. Not only do I not accomplish whatever wild idea I had in mind, but I also fail to accomplish the specific assignment he gave. Not a particularly good recipe for success.


Learner
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: malkin] #2849667
05/18/19 02:44 PM
05/18/19 02:44 PM
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Niagara Falls NY
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by dogperson

My forum signature is ‘it’s ok to be a work in progress’ and that’s my new mantra


Nice!
I like to say "incomplete mastery" for "work in progress."

As for "trying harder" it might be best to focus on the instructions given by the teacher and try harder to work only on that. Sometimes I end up down a rabbit hole because I've been trying to work on something other than the instructions given by my teacher. Not only do I not accomplish whatever wild idea I had in mind, but I also fail to accomplish the specific assignment he gave. Not a particularly good recipe for success.


The only assignment I have is to play through mistakes, LOL. Hopefully I can manage that! :P


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849682
05/18/19 03:42 PM
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A kitchen sink of thoughts, for you to rummage through to see if any fit, and anyone else to take off on. At random.

- An adult student who has played piano in some manner previously, is an unpredictable mix of unpredictability. Even if you had a teacher previously, you may not have been given the tools one might expect you to have for your apparent "level"; might have been mistaught some things; might have mislearned or misunderstood a thing that was taught; have holes in the darndest places and also abilities likewise.

- A teacher getting an adult student who is playing, say, "grade 6 pieces", may then (often will) assume that the student has learned everything that goes with that, and will therefore simply move "forward" from there. If you are missing some underlying things, you risk being forever caught out, with both of you mystified by this. (There are teachers who have figured this out, and won't be mystified because they'll check for it.)

- Adult students often tend to be too conscientious, try too hard, and they may have the wrong idea that they are expected to play extremely well every lesson. (Some teachers have the mistaken idea that the student is trying to show off or impress, while the poor shnook may simply be petrified that they'll be dropped for "not being talented enough".) The teacher-student relationship in music can be pictured as a carpentry apprenticeship. The apprentice brings in the chair he's been making, and the two of them look to see what needs to be fixed or refined, and how to do so. The chair is your playing, the skills, etc. and not you. If you both gaze dispassionately at it instead of you this can instantly remove dollops of anxiety!

- Some teachers may think the adult student's goal and role is to produce pieces, rather than acquire skills to produce those pieces, and you might end up with a chair-less (as per metaphor) situation that doesn't work that well.

- Some underlying skills may be physical technique, reading music in a real way, understanding the structure of your music so that you can have a sound strategy for approaching that music, having a good strategy for acquiring the technique needed in that piece, knowing how to divide up and approach a piece of music for practising it.

This last one is huge, which is why I put it in italics. It makes a world of difference in your results (from experience). Not all teachers actually know how to teach this, but quite a few of the better ones do. When I looked at some of your past posts, I found, for example, one in regards to a Bach piece. You didn't know how to approach it. More importantly, you were with a teacher and didn't know how to approach it ...... she (she? he?) didn't tell you, therefore, maybe assuming you'd know ......... hopefully NOT because she didn't have a strategy and thus know how to give it to you, though this does happen ... and you also did not know to ask.

Is any of this useful?

Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849688
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by Morodiene

+1

This is exactly what lessons are for - to show us what you're doing wrong so we can help you fix them. Don't try to hide the mistakes or the problem areas - show them to us! But I still am curious about why this teacher said what she did. Perhaps at your next lesson you can ask her why she said this, and let her know you are happy with lessons and your progress and that you really don't want to switch teachers. I think a conversation like this will be helpful for both of you to regroup and get back on the same page.


Yes, agreed! I'll bring it up next time. 😊 Thank you!


Maybe the teacher was feeling like "not a good teacher" for a moment and just blurted out a dumb comment.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849695
05/18/19 04:44 PM
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I'm going to keep going. Chances are, this whole thing will be cleared up next lesson. I know she has a ton of stuff on her plate, and it's spring, she probably needs a bit of a break just like I do at this time (I'm also a teacher, but at least I get summers mostly off; she doesn't). I was also mentally exhausted by the time Thurs. lesson time rolled around, so maybe I'm just making a mountain out of a mole hill. I've had a crazy past week and a half.

I really appreciate the input from absolutely everybody who chimed in. I'm very grateful to have you all as a sounding board. Thanks so much, everyone!


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: keystring] #2849767
05/18/19 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
A kitchen sink of thoughts, for you to rummage through to see if any fit, and anyone else to take off on. At random.

- An adult student who has played piano in some manner previously, is an unpredictable mix of unpredictability. Even if you had a teacher previously, you may not have been given the tools one might expect you to have for your apparent "level"; might have been mistaught some things; might have mislearned or misunderstood a thing that was taught; have holes in the darndest places and also abilities likewise.

- A teacher getting an adult student who is playing, say, "grade 6 pieces", may then (often will) assume that the student has learned everything that goes with that, and will therefore simply move "forward" from there. If you are missing some underlying things, you risk being forever caught out, with both of you mystified by this. (There are teachers who have figured this out, and won't be mystified because they'll check for it.)

- Adult students often tend to be too conscientious, try too hard, and they may have the wrong idea that they are expected to play extremely well every lesson. (Some teachers have the mistaken idea that the student is trying to show off or impress, while the poor shnook may simply be petrified that they'll be dropped for "not being talented enough".) The teacher-student relationship in music can be pictured as a carpentry apprenticeship. The apprentice brings in the chair he's been making, and the two of them look to see what needs to be fixed or refined, and how to do so. The chair is your playing, the skills, etc. and not you. If you both gaze dispassionately at it instead of you this can instantly remove dollops of anxiety!

- Some teachers may think the adult student's goal and role is to produce pieces, rather than acquire skills to produce those pieces, and you might end up with a chair-less (as per metaphor) situation that doesn't work that well.

- Some underlying skills may be physical technique, reading music in a real way, understanding the structure of your music so that you can have a sound strategy for approaching that music, having a good strategy for acquiring the technique needed in that piece, knowing how to divide up and approach a piece of music for practising it.

This last one is huge, which is why I put it in italics. It makes a world of difference in your results (from experience). Not all teachers actually know how to teach this, but quite a few of the better ones do. When I looked at some of your past posts, I found, for example, one in regards to a Bach piece. You didn't know how to approach it. More importantly, you were with a teacher and didn't know how to approach it ...... she (she? he?) didn't tell you, therefore, maybe assuming you'd know ......... hopefully NOT because she didn't have a strategy and thus know how to give it to you, though this does happen ... and you also did not know to ask.

Is any of this useful?

Useful to me. I have holes in my playing for certain. I’m playing pieces that are above where I should be and that is a casualty of this approach. I have recognized this for a while and realize I need to fill in the holes in my technique. It’s good to have a reminder if this every once in a while.


Steinway A3
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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849780
05/19/19 12:26 AM
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Sounds really unusual for a teacher to say.Your issues are common with adult students. Could it be that she actually did not say/mean that she does not want to teach you anymore, but that the nervousness is something she cannot really help you with but you need to work on it yourself by trying to play through and worry less about mistakes? I have had many discussions with my teacher about my perfectionism and how it negatively impacts my performing (while helping with practicing). I think we agree that the ability to brush off things while performing is not something that she can really teach me. How much I can go against my personality is something to be worked out between me and myself.

Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849838
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I wonder if it is possible for you to "reframe" the student-teacher relationship a bit?

It sounds to me like you are doing the correct things as far as practice, lessons, technique stuff, but you are investing a lot of your energy into pleasing the teacher, and setting up too much emotional power for her.

With children of course most or all the power is with the teacher. But serious adults become more of a team - the knowledge is of course with one side, but the relationship becomes more equal. That immediately removes some of the anxiety about doing well. You're two months in with this teacher? it's early, but this can be your goal.

As far as keeping going after a mistake or a total train wreck, I have found the congregational singing to help!, but it didn't reduce my level of nerves at all.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850034
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
I'm going to keep going. Chances are, this whole thing will be cleared up next lesson. I know she has a ton of stuff on her plate, and it's spring, she probably needs a bit of a break just like I do at this time (I'm also a teacher, but at least I get summers mostly off; she doesn't). I was also mentally exhausted by the time Thurs. lesson time rolled around, so maybe I'm just making a mountain out of a mole hill. I've had a crazy past week and a half.

I really appreciate the input from absolutely everybody who chimed in. I'm very grateful to have you all as a sounding board. Thanks so much, everyone!



I wouldn't take it personally. I'd imagine being a piano teacher takes incredible amounts of patience and she was probably having a bad day.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: pianoMom2006] #2850120
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Originally Posted by pianoMom2006

I wouldn't take it personally. I'd imagine being a piano teacher takes incredible amounts of patience and she was probably having a bad day.

I agree that it is best not to take it personally. However, since I'm basically a wounded child I probably would take it personally and would spend several hours crying in bed with the covers over my head.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850159
05/19/19 09:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
I'm going to keep going. Chances are, this whole thing will be cleared up next lesson. I know she has a ton of stuff on her plate, and it's spring, she probably needs a bit of a break just like I do at this time (I'm also a teacher, but at least I get summers mostly off; she doesn't). I was also mentally exhausted by the time Thurs. lesson time rolled around, so maybe I'm just making a mountain out of a mole hill. I've had a crazy past week and a half.

I really appreciate the input from absolutely everybody who chimed in. I'm very grateful to have you all as a sounding board. Thanks so much, everyone!

Yes! This is such a crazy time for teachers (as you know). By the way, I think it's great that you are taking lessons, and you should keep it up. Never let your own insecurities get the better of you! smile


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850184
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I'm so sorry to read this. I too have never heard of such a thing. I've heard of students being fired for never practicing, but not for being too nervous. I hope you can perhaps, as others have suggested, reset and regroup with your teacher. I'm not a teacher, but I'm lucky enough to have a very good one who has gone to great lengths to help me overcome lesson time nervousness. He even serves tea that we both have together as the lesson progresses. We're very, very fortunate to have a teacher of his caliber in a remote and dinky little place like this. All the best luck to you in your piano studies.

Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850366
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Oh, my...

Several posters, especially keystring and cmb13, have made great posts here. I don't have too much more to add to this thread, other than my moral support.

Lisa, I would encourage you to discuss this with your teacher. Don't leave this hanging - it could poison the teacher-student relationship. And, as you well know, we teachers are human too and sometimes (often?) err under pressure, exhaustion, etc.

I currently have a marvelous student who struggles mightily with nerves at lessons. I try very hard to keep the lessons as low-pressure as possible, and sometimes base my evaluations on home recordings rather than performance in the lesson. And sometimes I just have to back off a little and let them play - this student often plays better when I sit further away, or even get up and fetch a cup of tea or coffee. (Note to pedants: student gender intentionally obfuscated.)


Austin Rogers, PhD
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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850529
05/20/19 07:53 PM
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I'm actually doing better (sometimes) with nerves at lessons. A couple weeks ago, my teacher mentioned the recital, asking which piece I wanted to play first, and a couple minutes later, I noticed that I felt sick and my hands were shaking.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850554
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
It's actually an adult student. OK, it's me! I'm not at university level, just RCM grade 5 almost starting 6. I've only been with this teacher for 2 months, and have (I thought) been progressing well. I practice 2 hours a day, am playing solid repertoire (I'm actually working on a level 8 piece that's going very well), doing all my technical work, theory, sight reading too. Yes, I do have some jittery nerves during lessons, but I assumed that this is extremely common. I also send my teacher recordings when I'm in the polishing stage so she can hear that I can indeed play the pieces well. I'm very dedicated, I have an online teacher, too, I ask questions when I don't understand something, I follow directions, and I'm progressing really well (at least I'm very happy with how far I've come). But she commented at the end of my last lesson that she's not sure she can help me, and that I really need to tackle my nervousness.

I'm at a loss. Thanks for any input.


I've never dropped a student because of nervousness, and don't know of any colleagues who have. I think asking your teacher what was behind her thinking on that would be helpful.

I'm curious about this statement:

Quote
I'm very dedicated, I have an online teacher, too


Does the teacher you mentioned in your OP know about the online teacher you have? Maybe she thinks that person can help you more than she can? Do you have a very similar, or a vastly different, or somewhere in between, emphasis with your online teacher compared to your in-person teacher?

I'm wondering, also, if you experience nervousness when working with your online teacher?

You sound like a very dedicated student. I'm sorry you got the comment from her that you did, about "really need[ing] to tackle [your] nervousness." I don't see that as helpful. Hope you get some beneficial answers!

Last edited by Andamento; 05/20/19 09:52 PM.
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850578
05/21/19 01:53 AM
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Teachers sometimes say hurtful things without meaning to. But I think Andamento put a finger on it; our OP has 2 teachers, and this can seem like a threat to many a piano teacher. It's an unusual situation, and maybe it rattled studio teacher #1.

Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850711
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Thanks, everyone, I'm feeling SO much better about this. Re: my online teacher, it's Josh Wright and it's not really lessons, he has a VIP section where we can ask questions and request videos to help with issues we're having. It's a very nice resource, but nothing like having a live teacher to go to, really. It just gives me a different perspective, which often isn't isn't all that different. IMO, excellent teachers are all excellent, LOL.

Thanks again, I'm probably not going to chime in anymore for this topic. I'm feeling good moving forward, staying with this teacher and happy to do so. And it's spring, and I'm a teacher as well, so going a bit nuts finishing out my classes for the school year, and preparing my schedule for next year (yikes!). I'll have more time over the summer and will check in more once I'm freed up.

Thanks again, everyone! Cheers!


Lisa

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

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850726
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Good to hear Lisa that you feel better, and I hope you'll have a lovely summer.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850921
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Yes, I have. sometimes you just need to let go. I have found that this is the easiest way to do it.

https://www.palomapiano.com/blog-post/time-say-goodbye/

Best wishes

Doreen


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: pavane1] #2850953
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Wonderful essay, Doreen - thank you for sharing it! Yours is the sort of teaching attitude we should all aspire to owning.

Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850957
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That wonderful essay made my anxiety from past memories spike through the roof in less than a minute. This may be a nice contribution if the thread is about teachers frustrated by non-practising students. But when this thread involves adult students (already) being scared of being let go by teachers for not being good enough, talented enough, or other similar things we adults can come up with ...... Well, it doesn't really address those fears at all. It's about something else.

The OP sounds like she is practising like mad, overly conscientious, and still got scared through a probably careless remark by her teacher ........ apparently for being too nervous..

Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: keystring] #2851024
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Originally Posted by keystring
That wonderful essay made my anxiety from past memories spike through the roof in less than a minute. This may be a nice contribution if the thread is about teachers frustrated by non-practising students. But when this thread involves adult students (already) being scared of being let go by teachers for not being good enough, talented enough, or other similar things we adults can come up with ...... Well, it doesn't really address those fears at all. It's about something else.

The OP sounds like she is practising like mad, overly conscientious, and still got scared through a probably careless remark by her teacher ........ apparently for being too nervous..


I think the pavane1's essay is a response to the thread title rather than the thread.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: malkin] #2851027
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by keystring
That wonderful essay made my anxiety from past memories spike through the roof in less than a minute. This may be a nice contribution if the thread is about teachers frustrated by non-practising students. But when this thread involves adult students (already) being scared of being let go by teachers for not being good enough, talented enough, or other similar things we adults can come up with ...... Well, it doesn't really address those fears at all. It's about something else.

The OP sounds like she is practising like mad, overly conscientious, and still got scared through a probably careless remark by her teacher ........ apparently for being too nervous..


I think the pavane1's essay is a response to the thread title rather than the thread.


I agree with you, Malkin. I figured pavane1 posted the link to her article for that same reason.

Last edited by Andamento; 05/22/19 08:55 AM.
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2851030
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I know you said you were done with the topic but I'd like to share my experience. I had an excellent teacher who had a lot of knowledge to share and who helped me get back into piano. But her approach was always too blunt for me, and my feelings got hurt quite often. I stayed with her anyway for more than 3 years. Finally that student-teacher relationship was too much for me. I finally realized that all I cared about was pleasing my teacher at the expense of pleasing myself. When I practiced, I imagined my teacher in the background and thought about her approval or disapproval. And most of the time it was disapproval. It really messed me up.

So now I have a new teacher that I found after posting here on piano world!

When I think of him I smile! It took a change in my own attitude. I'm not so serious and even though I wish or dream I could be an amazing pianist, I'm much more content with my abilities and I'm so much happier with myself. He sometimes sits back during lessons and tells interesting and odd stories that help me relax. He's quirky in a sweet way. And yet I'm learning! I've learned to memorize a piece when that was a total impossibility before. He wants me to add in my own interpretations and to trust myself. The lessons seem like I'm not going anywhere or getting serious enough but I have learned a LOT and it's only been a few months!! I come in happy and I leave happy.

So, I actually would encourage a search for a new teacher. It's miserable to spend your energy and practice time worrying about what your teacher will think. When I practice now, and I think of him, I just smile. It's so refreshing.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: malkin] #2851284
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Originally Posted by malkin
I think the pavane1's essay is a response to the thread title rather than the thread.

I had not considered that possibility. Usually when answering someone's question, I'd think one wants to get some context first. But I can see how the title itself can be misleading.

Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2853915
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Hi ebony, not sure you're going to come back to this lol but want to chime in ~

It's so hard to know what's going on without having seen the actual interaction. Is it possible that she feels like she's not able to be a good teacher to you? But I'm not sure cause "tackle the nervousness" is coming across not tactful...

You're an adult, so you have more practice communicating than one of my students that I had who comes to mind...

She was very very nervous. It made ME nervous because I wasn't sure how to help her without feeling like I was hurting her feelings and messing up her confidence, which would make her play even worse. ...Because I'm supposed to be helping her! Perhaps you can reassure your teacher that you really like her and are finding lessons very helpful compared to your past experiences?


~piano teacher in training~
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