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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: AZNpiano] #2854856
06/02/19 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano


Originally Posted by dogperson
In addition, this student has been taking lessons 3 months. I would not expect she would be in a 2A book.

That does sound like the kid is being pushed ahead too quickly. Slowing down might be a good idea, just to get the basics covered in a more thorough fashion.

But progress is very hard to gauge and standardize. I used to be able to get kids to sonatinas by the end of year two. Now my most advanced students get there after three insufferably slow years. At one point I thought kids are just getting dumber and dumber.



Do you have any idea why this has changed?
Are these slow kids younger when they start taking lessons?
I have seen this in recent years. Some seem to think it is a necessity to study at the age of three to become a successful musician someday.
...whereas I think, come on, let these babies get rid of their dipers first. There still is plenty of time after kindergarten.

Or is this phenomenon age independent?

Last edited by Pinkiepie; 06/02/19 09:22 AM.
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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: AZNpiano] #2854866
06/02/19 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
So you are paid by the parents for almost nothing?!
Pretty clever! grin

My biggest battles are with the clueless parents who are completely "hands off" at home. If they don't remember to do anything I tell them to do, then how do they expect their children to do what I tell them to do?



Maybe they expect the following:
We do not take lessons, so why should we do all the homework? grin

I would say it depends mainly on the age of the student. The younger he is, the more he needs parental support and the less you can achieve on your own as a teacher.

But it's nice to tell parents what to do ... my daughters teacher never does that. She probably expects me to know anyway. But I am not a teacher. There is a big difference between playing the piano (even if it's good) and knowing how to teach it (properly).


Last edited by Pinkiepie; 06/02/19 09:49 AM.
Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Pinkiepie] #2855272
06/03/19 05:58 PM
06/03/19 05:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinkiepie

Do you have any idea why this has changed?
Are these slow kids younger when they start taking lessons?
I have seen this in recent years. Some seem to think it is a necessity to study at the age of three to become a successful musician someday.
...whereas I think, come on, let these babies get rid of their dipers first. There still is plenty of time after kindergarten.

Or is this phenomenon age independent?

I started a thread on this topic a few months back. The general consensus is that children are getting busier and more distracted.

Some kids are clearly ready for piano lessons at age 4, but I have beginners that start after age 8. Very little difference between the two. The older beginners might understand me better verbally, but they certainly don't play any better.

I think the good kids do get better and better. But the gap between them and the rest of the kids is getting wider and wider. I am basing my opinion on having to judge and evaluate hundreds of piano students in California every year. The amazing kids are still there, playing some mind-blowing stuff at a young age. But the great majority of piano students now are mediocre at best. Part of the problem might actually be bad teaching, which is rampant in my part of the world.


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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: AZNpiano] #2855352
06/04/19 02:48 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano


Some kids are clearly ready for piano lessons at age 4, but I have beginners that start after age 8. Very little difference between the two. The older beginners might understand me better verbally, but they certainly don't play any better.


I think, that might be true in some cases...
But if you look at the average child, there is a mighty difference between four and eight year olds. It is not without reason that the school beginner usually starts at the age of 6-7 years.


Of course, there are exceptionally talented kids.
Nevertheless, I do not understand why they have to take lessons at such a young age.
Anyone who has learned an instrument seriously, knows that this also requires (regular and sometimes even hard) work. Does this have to be done by a child at this age?

And if that's not my goal, what is wrong with the common playgroup?

But I'm generally not a fan of early (earlier, earliest!) education. Usually it's the parents who want to profile themselves at the expense of their kid`s childhood.


Of course it is different if it is the express wish of the child to take lessons.

But most children at this age do not know what that really means...



Last edited by Pinkiepie; 06/04/19 02:56 AM.
Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: AZNpiano] #2855359
06/04/19 03:35 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
[quote=Pinkiepie]
I think the good kids do get better and better. But the gap between them and the rest of the kids is getting wider and wider. I am basing my opinion on having to judge and evaluate hundreds of piano students in California every year. The amazing kids are still there, playing some mind-blowing stuff at a young age. But the great majority of piano students now are mediocre at best. Part of the problem might actually be bad teaching, which is rampant in my part of the world.



Yes! That makes sense.

Another problem could be taking lessons for wrong reasons.
Like my daughter's teacher told me, some parents really seem to think that learning an instrument works just the same way as attending dance classes (for example): an effort once a week is enough.

Or, as I said, it is not the child who wants to take lessons, but his parents.


In that case, it is not surprising that the children do not perform well.

Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Pinkiepie] #2856822
06/09/19 02:06 AM
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[u][/u]I spoke to a number of piano teachers recently when searching for a suitable teacher for my child. I raised the question of textbooks used and answers reflected exactly what this forum’s opinions are, even though I’m in Australia. About 3/4 use Piano Adventures, 1/4 use Alfred.

I never used to think of this because our current music school uses its own published textbooks. One very knowledgeable private teacher has seen the music school’s textbooks before and said “they’re rubbish.”

I went through his textbook and didn’t recognise anything wrong, though I’m not a teacher. But he isn’t taught what many of the symbols mean, like slurs and staccato. The teacher mentions it, asks them to try, they can’t do it, then he says “ok” and moves on with the lesson without trying it again because he has no time to teach it to 6 kids individually. He symbols remain in later lessons but the kids all ignore them. My wife says this is good because the kids will pick it up eventually when they’re older; I think it suspiciously looks like poor teaching method.

I’ve heard that John Thompson is the world’s most published piano textbook now because it’s become the standard in China

Last edited by Mariner; 06/09/19 02:07 AM.
Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Mariner] #2856897
06/09/19 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Mariner
I’ve heard that John Thompson is the world’s most published piano textbook now because it’s become the standard in China

It's very possible that 30-40 years ago, Nikolaev was the most published piano textbook, because everyone in the former Soviet Union used it as the standard.

(I bought a Russian-language copy of Nikolaev for my wife as a present and she was very happy to see it again after all these years and was able to immediately able to still play a few of the pieces from memory.)


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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Mariner] #2857074
06/09/19 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Mariner
I spoke to a number of piano teachers recently when searching for a suitable teacher for my child. I raised the question of textbooks used and answers reflected exactly what this forum’s opinions are, even though I’m in Australia. About 3/4 use Piano Adventures, 1/4 use Alfred.

You also need to realize there's "old" Alfred and "new" Alfred Premier.

I'm not surprised by your findings, since those two publications are huge. The methods used by teachers often are dictated by what is easily available.

However, just because piano teachers are using Piano Adventures or Alfred Premier, it does not necessarily mean they know about intervallic reading. I get plenty of transfer students who bring to me those books, and then they can't even read steps and skips. Another common problem is that students ask "What position is this?" If they can't find the starting hand position on their own, then good luck getting them to read ANYTHING later on.


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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Pinkiepie] #2861314
06/21/19 03:10 PM
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Hi again!


In the meantime, I have been able to convince the teacher to switch to Piano Adventures. My daughter is about to finish Level 1.

Now I'm wondering how to proceed to level 2, which is divided into two sublevels (A and B).

Are you going through all 2A stuff or are you just picking out a few? Or do you use A and B simultaneously? The pieces sound great, but the difficulty level is hardly progressing. Maybe a tiny (infinitesimal) bit at the end of book B....seriuolsy, what is the point of staying in five-finger position for soooo long?

My daughter already knows eigthnotes and played in D-major before (with fingers crossing over/under). She still plays scales and (Cross-Hand) appregios.
The only thing that is really new for her is playing in A major.

Despite of that I am considering to let her complete the whole level (successivly). I dont want her to develope any gaps.
On the other hand I am litte concernd of slowing her down withouht any need.

I'm just not sure what's best in this situation.

Of course, I've already talked to the teacher ... but she's (still) unfamiliar with PA and after all, I was the one who recommended this method to her. So I am feeling as if I have to make the decision (which overwhelms me quite a bit).

So...what shall I do?
Any help is highly appreciated!

Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Pinkiepie] #2861327
06/21/19 03:46 PM
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Piano Adventures does offer an accelerated version. It works better for older beginners or REALLY talented, younger beginners. I once made the mistake of using that book with a 9-year-old beginner who really should have gone with the regular 2A/2B progression.

There is a point to staying in the 5-finger position: Transposition. Before you teach 6th, students should be really fluent in reading all intervals up to the 5th.


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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Pinkiepie] #2861338
06/21/19 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
Hi again!


In the meantime, I have been able to convince the teacher to switch to Piano Adventures. My daughter is about to finish Level 1.

Now I'm wondering how to proceed to level 2, which is divided into two sublevels (A and B).

Are you going through all 2A stuff or are you just picking out a few? Or do you use A and B simultaneously? The pieces sound great, but the difficulty level is hardly progressing. Maybe a tiny (infinitesimal) bit at the end of book B....seriuolsy, what is the point of staying in five-finger position for soooo long?

My daughter already knows eigthnotes and played in D-major before (with fingers crossing over/under). She still plays scales and (Cross-Hand) appregios.
The only thing that is really new for her is playing in A major.

Despite of that I am considering to let her complete the whole level (successivly). I dont want her to develope any gaps.
On the other hand I am litte concernd of slowing her down withouht any need.

I'm just not sure what's best in this situation.

Of course, I've already talked to the teacher ... but she's (still) unfamiliar with PA and after all, I was the one who recommended this method to her. So I am feeling as if I have to make the decision (which overwhelms me quite a bit).

So...what shall I do?
Any help is highly appreciated!



I think you should realize that you're now being the back-seat driver, and that's never a good thing - unless the driver is incompetent (in which case you should take over the steering wheel and push the driver out of the open door.......).

My parents did me a big favour when I was a kid by washing their hands completely of my piano education (well, they couldn't put even a fingertip into the pie anyway, because they knew as much about music as I did about string theory then wink ), and my teacher did all the running - giving me the books she wanted me to use, the pieces she wanted me to learn, the scales & arpeggios she wanted me to master, the theory she wanted me to grasp, everything. I did OK........


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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: AZNpiano] #2861344
06/21/19 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
Hi again!
Are you going through all 2A stuff or are you just picking out a few? Or do you use A and B simultaneously? The pieces sound great, but the difficulty level is hardly progressing. Maybe a tiny (infinitesimal) bit at the end of book B....seriuolsy, what is the point of staying in five-finger position for soooo long?

My daughter already knows eigthnotes and played in D-major before (with fingers crossing over/under). She still plays scales and (Cross-Hand) appregios.
The only thing that is really new for her is playing in A major.

Despite of that I am considering to let her complete the whole level (successivly). I dont want her to develope any gaps.
On the other hand I am litte concernd of slowing her down withouht any need.


Why the rush? If she's getting everything with no difficulties, then she will master the pieces quickly and move on. As long as the music is interesting and she is enjoying it, there is no harm. You're more likely to cause problems by skipping ahead. Getting bogged down because a proper foundation hasn't been laid is much more frustrating than any perceived slow-ness.

Originally Posted by AZNpiano

There is a point to staying in the 5-finger position: Transposition. Before you teach 6th, students should be really fluent in reading all intervals up to the 5th.


This. Students really need to develop good reading and logical fingering habits within the 5 finger patterns in order to be comfortable with those larger intervals and chords later on.


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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: AZNpiano] #2861372
06/21/19 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Piano Adventures does offer an accelerated version.


Thanks for the hint. I've heard of the accelerated book before ... but I've only seen sample pages so far.
What is the main difference between these books and the basic method? Are they using different pieces, or only less repetition?


Quote

It works better for older beginners or REALLY talented, younger beginners.


To be honest, I do not consider my daughter extraordinary talented.
Maybe good average. Her strength is the ability of practicing regularly without complaining.
And she does what she is being told to. That makes it very easy to work with her.


Quote
I once made the mistake of using that book with a 9-year-old beginner who really should have gone with the regular 2A/2B progression.


Anyway, how do you find out, if the regular books suit a kid better?

I am so totally clueless (…about that! Not about everything ^^ )


So, you do think, the (slow) concept of this level works out well, especially on the long term?
The kids are not getting stuck in five finger positions?


Quote
There is a point to staying in the 5-finger position: Transposition. Before you teach 6th, students should be really fluent in reading all intervals up to the 5th.


I get that, but Intervals up to the 5th are the topic of level 1...and 6ths will only be introduced in 2 B.


Actually I like the construction of the 2B Book ...appregios make easy pieces sound quite fancy.
And the pieces finally move out of five finger jail. In baby steps though, but that is probably just my personal impression.

That is why I considered skipping 2A and go straight to 2B.
But I have concerns and wonder what would be worse. Holding her back, or missing something potentially important (even if it is just the boring repeating of 2ths to 5ths...).


Edit:
@bennevis and candywoman:
I have only now read your answers.
Thanks, your point of view helps a lot (and calms me down a bit).

Last edited by Pinkiepie; 06/21/19 06:31 PM.
Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: bennevis] #2861388
06/21/19 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis


I think you should realize that you're now being the back-seat driver, and that's never a good thing - unless the driver is incompetent (in which case you should take over the steering wheel and push the driver out of the open door.......).



Well ... how do you say: Oops, I did it again

Seriousy, I think you are right, I am far too involved into the teaching process...but I cant even tell if this is only my fault (caused from impatience, control mania, or anything else similar bad eek).

I would not go so far, calling the teacher incomptent...I just dont like her teaching style very much.
(Although I am feeling quite bad saying that. I do appreciate her as a person.)



But there are so many (really! important) things that do not seem to interest her as much as me.


I just don`t know how to solve this problem. A teacher change is not feasible (currently) and so I feel almost forced to compensate for a little

Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: pianist_lady] #2861396
06/21/19 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by pianist_lady
[quote=Pinkiepie]

Why the rush? If she's getting everything with no difficulties, then she will master the pieces quickly and move on. As long as the music is interesting and she is enjoying it, there is no harm. You're more likely to cause problems by skipping ahead. Getting bogged down because a proper foundation hasn't been laid is much more frustrating than any perceived slow-ness.This. Students really need to develop good reading and logical fingering habits within the 5 finger patterns in order to be comfortable with those larger intervals and chords later on.


Ok, thanks for saying that!

I also feel better about not skipping anything, but let her go throug the whole stuff.
Although slower in this way, it is also more thorough. And I do like profoundness smile

Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Pinkiepie] #2861881
06/23/19 03:14 AM
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I think you should let the teacher make the judgment call. It's impossible to make a diagnosis over the Internet like this.

In the past, I have switched kids up or down to different methods. I try to customize the learning for each individual student and I try not to worry about how certain kids compare to other kids. It's an exercise in futility and frustration, really.


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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: AZNpiano] #2861900
06/23/19 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I think you should let the teacher make the judgment call.


I doubt that will happen.
That would of course be the simplest solution, not least for me. I really wish she was a teacher to whom I could leave this decision with a clear conscience.
That was my ambition and true desire in the beginning. I would love it if the circumstances were like this.

But she does not know anything about PA, nor does she care about strong note/intervallic reading skills like me. Her teaching ideas are completely different from those recommended today. Rather obsolet in my opinion.

Lack of alternatives, I have to deal with it. At the same time I'm too concerned to just let it go...so here I am, feeling compelled to teach her myself, though I never wanted to do that crazy




Last edited by Pinkiepie; 06/23/19 05:43 AM.
Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Pinkiepie] #2861903
06/23/19 05:51 AM
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Why are there no alternative teachers?

Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Pinkiepie] #2861906
06/23/19 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I think you should let the teacher make the judgment call.


I doubt that will happen.
That would of course be the simplest solution, not least for me. I really wish she was a teacher to whom I could leave this decision with a clear conscience.
That was my ambition and true desire in the beginning. I would love it if the circumstances were like this.

But she does not know anything about PA, nor does she care about strong note/intervallic reading skills like me. Her teaching ideas are completely different from those recommended today. Rather obsolet in my opinion.

Lack of alternatives, I have to deal with it. At the same time I'm too concerned to just let it go...so here I am, feeling compelled to teach her myself, though I never wanted to do that crazy




As it appears you really cannot give up your own "teaching role" with regards to your daughter, there is only one viable solution - teach her yourself. Seriously, you cannot have a situation where a parent thinks she knows better and is unwilling to let a teacher teach. It's your child who will suffer. From the way you have been going on about it, I very much doubt that a teacher who is signed up to your ideas about PA etc will fare much better either. You'll almost certainly find 'fault' with that teacher sooner or later.

As for your difference of opinion about the way she should be taught, what materials should be used etc, just remember - 'obsolete ideas' had been around for a long time. How long has new-fangled ideas been around for, and where is the research which shows they are actually better? In my profession (where BTW, you cannot have more than one person 'directing the show' because lives will be lost - and I make sure everyone knows that), I've seen new 'trendy' (even sexy) ideas come.......and go. After leaving far more serious consequences than just the piano education of a child.


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Re: Piano Town or Adventures? [Re: Mariner] #2861919
06/23/19 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Mariner
Why are there no alternative teachers?


Long story short, there are no (qualified) private teachers in our area and just this one music school my daughter is already attending.

In the neighboring town there is a conservatory for very talented students. But that would mean a lot more driving (for me) and probably more pressure (to perform) for my daughter.

I might consider that in a few years.
After it turned out that my daughter wants to give the piano playing as much meaning as it needs.

But not now. She is still too young to really understand what that means. And I do not want to overload her with obligations.

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