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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
I think some teachers forget that they are civil servants, they often think that they are above that "servant" part. We are to teach for the best interests of our students and to help them with their desires. Too often you have teachers who simply want to shape a student in the image that they think is best not what the student wants. Those who get upset hearing this are too often unable to see things on terms of their students level and then help that student change over time, they have no capability to make the student want to change for themselves instead they want the students to change because of what the teacher wants and there lies a big difference.


And on the flip side, not every teacher is a good fit for every student. A teacher, like any other self-employed individual, gets to decide what kind of business they feel best running. As result, you have a wide variety of teachers to choose from - it just may take some time and trying out teachers before finding the right one for you.

I don't see how this is a flip side of what I was saying since I didn't mention that not every student is a good fit for a teacher, though what you are saying makes sense as a separate point. Most students a teacher will come across will be willing to submit to whatever the teacher offers though you will get the occasional ones who have specific needs, if a teacher can't deal with that then there is always time to learn to allow negotation in ones lessons.


It’s the flip side of what you seemed to be saying that a teacher must accommodate every student’s desire rather than teach what we feel is best. The flip is that teachers get to choose what kind of studio they run.

Last edited by Morodiene; 05/26/19 09:17 AM.

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I don't think teachers have to accommodate their student's desires. But, hopefully, when the teacher and students first meet they can see if the student's desires and teacher's approach are a good fit.

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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
I don't think teachers have to accommodate their student's desires. But, hopefully, when the teacher and students first meet they can see if the student's desires and teacher's approach are a good fit.


Precisely.


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
I think some teachers forget that they are civil servants, they often think that they are above that "servant" part. We are to teach for the best interests of our students and to help them with their desires. Too often you have teachers who simply want to shape a student in the image that they think is best not what the student wants. Those who get upset hearing this are too often unable to see things on terms of their students level and then help that student change over time, they have no capability to make the student want to change for themselves instead they want the students to change because of what the teacher wants and there lies a big difference.


And on the flip side, not every teacher is a good fit for every student. A teacher, like any other self-employed individual, gets to decide what kind of business they feel best running. As result, you have a wide variety of teachers to choose from - it just may take some time and trying out teachers before finding the right one for you.

I don't see how this is a flip side of what I was saying since I didn't mention that not every student is a good fit for a teacher, though what you are saying makes sense as a separate point. Most students a teacher will come across will be willing to submit to whatever the teacher offers though you will get the occasional ones who have specific needs, if a teacher can't deal with that then there is always time to learn to allow negotation in ones lessons.


It’s the flip side of what you seemed to be saying that a teacher must accommodate every student’s desire rather than teach what we feel is best. The flip is that teachers get to choose what kind of studio they run.

The flipside of what I said would be a teacher who wants to teach what they want and don't want to teach what the student desires or form them in a way to want to change themselves. It has nothing to do whether a student or teacher is fit for one another.


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Help me understand. This discussion is no longer about ideas about teaching and learning, it is now about whether a comment expressed "the flipside" of another comment?

Perhaps PW could add a new subforum where threads go to die when they degenerate into silly arguments like this.
It could be called the Nitpicking Rhetoric Forum.


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Originally Posted by malkin
Help me understand. This discussion is no longer about ideas about teaching and learning, it is now about whether a comment expressed "the flipside" of another comment?

Perhaps PW could add a new subforum where threads go to die when they degenerate into silly arguments like this.
It could be called the Nitpicking Rhetoric Forum.

It's about being accurate, you must have though it important enough to give it your opinion that it was silly which is silly in itself.


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I think striving for accuracy is admirable. But I also think that becoming the self appointed arbiter of pedantry is ridiculous.

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Who is a self appointed arbiter? If someone quotes me I will be as accurate as I want thanks.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/27/19 04:31 AM.

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When writing on a forum, it is a good quality to be able to sometimes just give up. It is not necessary to always have the last word. You can sometimes just think, I have made my point, that's it. smile

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Disclaimer: Not a piano teacher.

Aren't technique and interpretation intimately connected.

For example, for nearly all the pieces I'm practising at the moment, the refrain from my teacher and people here who have listened is I need to bring out the melody more. I can assure everyone what I'm doing right now is bringing out the melody to the absolute best of my ability.

What is lacking is my technique and skill at being able to bring out the melody. I can't properly give a decent interpretation to certain pieces of music until I have mastered this skill and more than anything else right now it is what I am working on.

What is the point of me arguing with my teacher about where the emphasis needs to go when my technique/skill at giving the correct emphasis is lacking. When I have learnt this skill well enough that I have flexibility to play the music with different interpretations, then I could perhaps discuss with my teacher about what interpretation to provide and even make my point by playing a small section how I feel it could be played. Whether I agree with my teachers interpretation or not at my current skill level it is kind of pointless.

I do understand your frustration, I am finding this skill so hard to acquire. Taking up so much of my energy and a considerable fraction of my practise time. Why is it so necessary. Well it is if I want to play well and give music my interpretation, what is the point of learning to play otherwise. I want to be able to give my interpretation to pieces, but I've just had to step back and accept for now that I need this skill first and follow the direction of my teacher. It is sometimes hard to accept, I want to apply my interpretation now, but my teacher wants to teach me the skills so I can apply an interpretation with the correct technique and skill.

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Originally Posted by Animisha
When writing on a forum, it is a good quality to be able to sometimes just give up. It is not necessary to always have the last word. You can sometimes just think, I have made my point, that's it. smile

Ironic post lol I like that.


Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
I think some teachers forget that they are civil servants...


Most music teachers providing private lessons in the US are privately employed; civil servants are public employees. Is that not the case in West Australia?

Civil servant, private sector servant, you still dealing with the public in any rate and you are still the "servant" job. Some teachers think they its all the other way around where by the nature of our work we should be serving our students and helping them not always in terms of our perspective but negotiated from their own. A teacher should help a student want to change not force the change and we should go through the journey to help them there. Of course there are teachers who don't want to and just want students who follow their set syllabus, most students are like this, but the OP is certainly not the normal student.


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@KevinM: you bring up a very good point about technique and interpretation being intertwined. I think of technique as a means of accessing any interpretation I wish to play - even changing it each time I play a given piece.

Last edited by Morodiene; 05/27/19 08:45 AM.

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Formerly, I had a job at a private school that provided behavioral treatment for students with autism. This kind of treatment is sometimes called Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and used a discrete trial format. Every so often a parent would express dissatisfaction with the treatment and request a different sort of treatment.

Being a private school, the center had the ability to communicate to parents that the treatment offered at the school is established and evidence based; the school would not change philosophy or methods and if they wanted something different for their child, they would need to go elsewhere.

Perhaps a simpler case is walking in to a Chinese restaurant and demanding to be served falafel. The restaurant chooses their menu. A patron who wants falafel needs to choose an appropriate restaurant.


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
@KevinM: you bring up a very good point about technique and interpretation being intertwined. I think of technique as a means of accessing any interpretation I wish to play - even changing it each time I play a given piece.


One day I hope to be able to do that. To have control of the various skills and techniques to gave the flexibility to apply different interpretations. Not just the one that is at the limit of my current ability. I will get there and I need more patience.

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That is understandable when teaching larger classes with multiple students as the time and resource for one on one specifically crafted lessons is severely limited. Though with lesson which are solely one on one teachers should be encouraged to have the capability to specifically craft a lesson to suit a particular students wants as well as their needs. Since this OP had specific desires I think it is totally fine for them to have such wishes and a caring teacher will be able to satisfy those wants as well as help open roads for them to grow in a "better" way also, but in the time of the student not specifically from the teachers timeline. In larger classroom situations this type of care is limited and of course certain teachers will not have the foresight to deal with such students, they of course do not represent the majority of students out there but we do have to consider what do we do with these unusual cases, to simply palm them off elsewhere imho is a failure on the teachers behalf not the students.

Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/27/19 09:26 AM.

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Originally Posted by KevinM
Originally Posted by Morodiene
@KevinM: you bring up a very good point about technique and interpretation being intertwined. I think of technique as a means of accessing any interpretation I wish to play - even changing it each time I play a given piece.


One day I hope to be able to do that. To have control of the various skills and techniques to gave the flexibility to apply different interpretations. Not just the one that is at the limit of my current ability. I will get there and I need more patience.


It’s an ideal that really has no end, so any progress made is good progress. I’m still learning new techniques and hearing new ideas on how to achieve them, but it is very easy to get caught up in the technique and forget the end result is interpretation. Just being able to play fast in and of itself doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll play expessively unless you apply that technique properly with the interpretation in mind, without having an image of what you’re trying to say.


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Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
Civil servant, private sector servant, you still dealing with the public in any rate and you are still the "servant" job. Some teachers think they its all the other way around where by the nature of our work we should be serving our students and helping them not always in terms of our perspective but negotiated from their own. .....

I understand what you're saying. The term "civil servant" can through people off, because it is a specific designation, and in fact, civil servants (government employees) are very limited in how they choose to do their work. What you're trying to say is that a teacher serves the student, his customer. I agree with that, but want to explore this further.

If I have a profession and am a professional, meaning I also have the knowledge and skills going with it, then it's my responsibility to apply this to my customer's benefit. Say I'm a house painter. My customer wants me to paint the outside wood siding using water-based paint because it's cheaper. I know that the weather will erode water-based paint; it must be oil-based paint. My knowledge and expertise supersedes my customer's wishes, because if I do what he wants, I'm causing harm he doesn't know about: his house will look horrid in a year, and he'll spend much more since the house will have to be repainted often. That is one scenario.

Again as a painter: My customer wants the house to be purple, and I hate purple. The customer's wish prevails over my taste. Or, the customer wants the house to be purple, but I'm a traditionalist, following tradition, and by tradition, siding has always been white or brown. Again, tradition has no place here. However, if tradition says outside siding should be painted with oil-based paint - that tradition is based on the harm water-based paint would bring.

The question then comes, which type of scenario do we have here?

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In regard to specialized classes for kids. I was once brought a child who was around 12 or 13, and would be going on to high school the following year. The child had been in Special Ed for a number of years, and was reading at a mid-grade 1 level when I tested him. As we worked, I discovered he could read big words but not bigger sentences. He tried to see the whole thing at once, almost as if in a panic. I found ways to address this, and the whole thing turned around. Within a few months, this child was reading at a grade 8 level.

This has made me wonder ever since. How is it that the Special Ed could not catch and treat this? Was it that they were locked in protocol that always treated things according to a certain roster of methodology? Were they locked into testing procedure - Myers Brigg or whatever - which prevented them from a more open-ended and broader way of observing and assessing? Was this a unique and unusual case?

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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Lostinidlewonder
Civil servant, private sector servant, you still dealing with the public in any rate and you are still the "servant" job. Some teachers think they its all the other way around where by the nature of our work we should be serving our students and helping them not always in terms of our perspective but negotiated from their own. .....

I understand what you're saying. The term "civil servant" can through people off, because it is a specific designation, and in fact, civil servants (government employees) are very limited in how they choose to do their work. What you're trying to say is that a teacher serves the student, his customer. I agree with that, but want to explore this further.

If I have a profession and am a professional, meaning I also have the knowledge and skills going with it, then it's my responsibility to apply this to my customer's benefit. Say I'm a house painter. My customer wants me to paint the outside wood siding using water-based paint because it's cheaper. I know that the weather will erode water-based paint; it must be oil-based paint. My knowledge and expertise supersedes my customer's wishes, because if I do what he wants, I'm causing harm he doesn't know about: his house will look horrid in a year, and he'll spend much more since the house will have to be repainted often. That is one scenario.

Again as a painter: My customer wants the house to be purple, and I hate purple. The customer's wish prevails over my taste. Or, the customer wants the house to be purple, but I'm a traditionalist, following tradition, and by tradition, siding has always been white or brown. Again, tradition has no place here. However, if tradition says outside siding should be painted with oil-based paint - that tradition is based on the harm water-based paint would bring.

The question then comes, which type of scenario do we have here?

If a student wants to do something that is unusual we need to advise against it though if they are very strong headed we must find ways to get through to them that the are not on the best path. This may indeed require that they experience for themselves the inefficient manner they want to pursue for a while and then once they have experience with it to show them a better way so then they can compare and agree which one indeed is better, this often can be done without a huge amount of time but we need to give them that space for experimentation if they are this type of student. If we cannot convince them which one is superior then it rests on our shoulders as a teacher to work out how to make them see the light and we need to make them see it for themselves not just merely expect they trust us as a teacher. The majority of students we come across will trust our experience and go with it that is what we mostly deal with. I am playing the devils advocate and considering those students who are quite unusual to the norm, who have unusual ideas which need time to untangle, a sensitive teacher needs to be aware of these situations and treat these type of students carefully even with our best students there can be issues which take time to untangle themselves, for instance a student who is petrified to perform for others but who plays brilliantly, how do you nurture confidence in them to perform for others? We must build up our students to a point where they can make these more permanent changes they can trust. The OP is obviously a different case to most and has specific requirements we are not their teacher but we should encourage this line of thought I described rather than tell them where they should be going instead.


Last edited by Lostinidlewonder; 05/27/19 12:52 PM.

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Originally Posted by keystring
...This has made me wonder ever since. How is it that the Special Ed could not catch and treat this? Was it that they were locked in protocol that always treated things according to a certain roster of methodology? Were they locked into testing procedure - Myers Brigg or whatever - which prevented them from a more open-ended and broader way of observing and assessing? Was this a unique and unusual case?


It could have been an incompetent teacher, it could have been an overworked teacher, it could have been that the student's level changed before he came to you, or the student might not have cooperated with his previous teachers.


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