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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
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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
Boston 118 PE

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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
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Working On
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Bach Inventions
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"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
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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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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
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Working On
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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.


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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.


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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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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
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