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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849682
05/18/19 03:42 PM
05/18/19 03:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,146
Canada
keystring Offline
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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?

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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849688
05/18/19 04:11 PM
05/18/19 04:11 PM
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Posts: 5,444
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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.


Learner
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849695
05/18/19 04:44 PM
05/18/19 04:44 PM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 932
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline OP
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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
05/18/19 10:28 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 3,000
Florida
cmb13 Online content

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Florida
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.


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Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2849780
05/19/19 12:26 AM
05/19/19 12:26 AM
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 4,479
Finland
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outo Offline
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Finland
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
05/19/19 06:28 AM
05/19/19 06:28 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 4,300
Virginia, USA
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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.


gotta go practice
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850034
05/19/19 03:00 PM
05/19/19 03:00 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!



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.


Yamaha G2
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: pianoMom2006] #2850120
05/19/19 06:57 PM
05/19/19 06:57 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 5,444
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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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.


Learner
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850159
05/19/19 09:28 PM
05/19/19 09:28 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,954
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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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
05/19/19 11:44 PM
05/19/19 11:44 PM
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Hawai'i Island
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Hawai'i Island
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
05/20/19 11:14 AM
05/20/19 11:14 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 329
Texas
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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
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850529
05/20/19 07:53 PM
05/20/19 07:53 PM
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malkin Offline
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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.


Learner
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: ebonykawai] #2850554
05/20/19 09:44 PM
05/20/19 09:44 PM
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Posts: 372
USA
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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
05/21/19 01:53 AM
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Posts: 2,255
Toronto, Ontario
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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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
05/21/19 11:17 AM
05/21/19 11:17 AM
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 932
Niagara Falls NY
ebonykawai Offline OP
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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
05/21/19 12:08 PM
05/21/19 12:08 PM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 733
Sweden
Animisha Online content
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Good to hear Lisa that you feel better, and I hope you'll have a lovely summer.


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: ebonykawai] #2850921
05/21/19 11:52 PM
05/21/19 11:52 PM
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FLORIDA
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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


Doreen Hall
www.palomapiano.com
Re: Have you ever dropped a student..... [Re: pavane1] #2850953
05/22/19 02:55 AM
05/22/19 02:55 AM
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Toronto, Ontario
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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
05/22/19 03:17 AM
05/22/19 03:17 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,146
Canada
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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
05/22/19 08:45 AM
05/22/19 08:45 AM
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malkin Offline
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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.


Learner
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