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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2861631 06/22/19 11:20 AM
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It is still a thing to be aware of, in case it hasn't been mentioned by the teacher. If you sit too high your wrists might droop. If you sit too close they might also drop, or twist/kink, in order to make room. So awareness of height, distance, and body in general is a "thing". wink

Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin


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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2861650 06/22/19 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin

Oh... shocked
Something must be done about that...

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2861676 06/22/19 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin

Oh... shocked
Something must be done about that...


I’m thinking of a system of sensors arrayed around the pianist which will alert him or her to a drooped wrist, tension, awkward position, etc. A fire alarm could be triggered whenever poor form was detected.


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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2861679 06/22/19 12:37 PM
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To return to the original question - good teaching means that the teacher shows the student what his/her problem areas are during the lesson, and therefore what need to be practiced. There's no need for the teacher to keep telling the student stuff like: "Don't ever play the piece through from beginning to end every time, that's not practicing. Practicing means you work on the problem parts as slowly as you need to until you get it right." Unless, of course the student is very young or has no clue and doesn't understand that 'what needs to be practiced' means exactly that.

After all, even young children know the importance of doing things again and again until they are perfect (like walking, speaking, cycling, kicking a ball).

And it's always helpful to have a 'homework book' (or whatever you want to call it - 'practice book', 'play book', Teacher's Instructions Book, My Piano Book......) that the teacher writes in at every lesson, so that the student is in no doubt what needs to be worked on, and cannot come back to the next lesson claiming to have no memory of being told that he was meant to have practiced the RH quarter notes in measure 2.

The 'homework book' can include anything, including instructions like: "Count beats very time" or "Watch your wrists to make sure they don't droop" or "Make sure your LH 5 is always heard". Or even: "Don't stoop!". All that assumes of course that the child can read, otherwise a parent will have to help.

All teachers should observe how their students tackle a new piece (i.e. a piece that the student has never seen or heard before) from the beginning without 'help', after having taught them how to approach new pieces (- looking at the key signature, the time signature etc) in previous lessons. This seems so obvious to me - after all, the ultimate goal of teaching is to get the student to a good standard and able to learn new pieces properly by himself, independent of the teacher - that I'm amazed when I read that some teachers never do this.

Students who have been properly taught will not just know how to learn, but also how to practice, because one follows from the other.........


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2861685 06/22/19 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
If you sit too high your wrists might droop. If you sit too close they might also drop, or twist/kink, in order to make room.

Is drooping of wrists different than dropping? I started moving my bench higher because my wrists were too low (below level of keys). But it still didn't fix, so I moved it still higher. I didn't realize too high a bench causes drooping. Isn't this the same thing? I will try to lower my bench again and see if it fixes anything. Either that or else I'm going to go with braces on both wrists (joke)


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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2861831 06/22/19 08:30 PM
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I have had several students who, when playing the piano, "drooped" the wrist of their non-dominant arm.

In each case it seemed as though this was due to a lack of muscular strength in that arm because it was not used and worked very much in daily life. In each case, the wrist of their dominant arm exhibited no drooping when playing the piano.

Perhaps you have weak non-muscular arms? Do you work out? What does your teacher say about this wrist drooping problem and your seat height?

ps...you seem to do a lot at the computer...do you use a wrist support at the computer keyboard? If so, that could cause a lack of muscular strength and tone because the support block reduces the need for arm strength to keep the arm in proper posture.


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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2861837 06/22/19 09:32 PM
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This is my problem too, I droop my non-dominant hand’s wrist. My teacher has suggested trying to do everyday tasks, such as brushing my teeth, etc, with my non-dominant hand. This is hard to do!

Last edited by LarryK; 06/22/19 09:33 PM.

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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2861850 06/22/19 10:45 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Right now there is a discussion going on in the ABF, with a subtopic forming. One idea seems to be that the only thing that is important is the teaching itself, by a good teacher. That if the teaching is good, how a student practices doesn't really matter as long as the student puts in the hours.

What importance do teachers here put to a student's practising. THAT a student practices is a given, because that has often been mentioned. What about how they practice? Is good teaching already 90% of the equation?

I am not a piano teacher, but I have worked at a school. In the past (a century ago), teachers just taught, gave homework and checked that it was done. But during my lifetime, teachers have started to discuss with pupils/students how to learn, how to take on a certain task, how to memorise. And I think this is a very good development.
So Keystring, I think that even if the teaching is good, how a student practises does very much matter! For instance, mindless practice at a too high speed. You can put in so many hours and will get so little in return...
Apart from discussing how to practise, I think teachers also need to discuss what they teach and why. Not only teach a certain technique, but also explain why and in what situations to use this technique.


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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2861877 06/23/19 01:50 AM
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I would like to add to this that finding out which practice works best for this particular student should be part of the teacher's and student's joint endeavor.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2861892 06/23/19 03:56 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Pinkiepie
[Children of this age are often lazy.
My (four-year-old) daughter actually likes to play. But when I asked her last time to lift her wrist, she replied: You hold it for me!


An OT thought. Has your daughter's teacher talked to you about bench height and distance from the piano? If she needs to "lift" her wrist, are either of these things a factor?


Thanks, these are important hints.
But in her case, it's really laziness. I make sure that she sits correctly on the piano (height and distance).
Nevertheless, she often leaves her arms hanging and supports her wrist on the keyboard floor. It looks really funny.

But she can also do it right, if she feels like it.
I have stolen the idea of ​​forming a nest with the hands, in which a little bird sits and has to have space. She likes that a lot ... but apparently she has a macabre sense of humor. Everytime she flattenes her hands (on purpose btw), she wants me to make dying sounds .... (poor little bird frown ).

Last edited by Pinkiepie; 06/23/19 04:02 AM.
Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: Animisha] #2861962 06/23/19 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by keystring
Right now there is a discussion going on in the ABF, with a subtopic forming. One idea seems to be that the only thing that is important is the teaching itself, by a good teacher. That if the teaching is good, how a student practices doesn't really matter as long as the student puts in the hours.

What importance do teachers here put to a student's practising. THAT a student practices is a given, because that has often been mentioned. What about how they practice? Is good teaching already 90% of the equation?

So Keystring, I think that even if the teaching is good, how a student practises does very much matter! For instance, mindless practice at a too high speed. You can put in so many hours and will get so little in return...

It surely concerns not only the piano practice, but also studying in school, college, university and everywhere. First of all we need 'to learn to learn'. We need to learn how to approach every new topic, how to make conspects properly, how to find key ideas, what and how to memorize, how to apply theory to practice, how to review knowledge. But unfortunately there is no such subject in school called 'Learning'. Why?

Oh my goodness, how much time and knowledge I've wasted in my life not knowing how to learn properly...

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: LarryK] #2862073 06/23/19 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin

Oh... shocked
Something must be done about that...


I’m thinking of a system of sensors arrayed around the pianist which will alert him or her to a drooped wrist, tension, awkward position, etc. A fire alarm could be triggered whenever poor form was detected.


Best coupled with a pressurized seltzer bottle?


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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: ClsscLib] #2862080 06/23/19 05:14 PM
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Originally Posted by ClsscLib
Originally Posted by LarryK
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[It's a wonder I have any awareness left for the notes themselves as roughly 157.3% wink of my attention is spent on matters of pianistic form/technique! shocked cry grin

Oh... shocked
Something must be done about that...


I’m thinking of a system of sensors arrayed around the pianist which will alert him or her to a drooped wrist, tension, awkward position, etc. A fire alarm could be triggered whenever poor form was detected.


Best coupled with a pressurized seltzer bottle?


"...And what did he ask in return? Not much. In his own words, 'A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer down your pants.' "


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Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: Iaroslav Vasiliev] #2862144 06/23/19 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev

It surely concerns not only the piano practice, but also studying in school, college, university and everywhere. First of all we need 'to learn to learn'. We need to learn how to approach every new topic, how to make conspects properly, how to find key ideas, what and how to memorize, how to apply theory to practice, how to review knowledge. But unfortunately there is no such subject in school called 'Learning'. Why?

Oh my goodness, how much time and knowledge I've wasted in my life not knowing how to learn properly...


The International Baccalaureate (IB) has a compulsory subject on the theory of knowledge in the later years. I don't know what it teaches but it sounds interesting.

My son's primary school (following the IB program) is teaching maths completely differently to when I was a child. Children are encouraged to make mistakes, find their own methods to solve maths problems, and basically explore numbers. There don't seem to be 'right' or 'wrong' methods to get the answer, though the teacher will offer some kind of guidance along the way.

There would be ways to do this with music education too, I assume.

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: mostlystrings] #2862190 06/24/19 01:29 AM
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I'd like to thank the teachers who answered my question. The answers I got:
Originally Posted by mostlystrings
Putting in "hours of ineffective practice" would seem to defeat the purpose. "Bad practice" on the (likely six) days between lessons can wipe out whatever good teaching was received.

That's an important point.
Quote
Something I see often with children students is they get to a trouble spot, then start over from the beginning of the piece. .... To me, good teaching would be uncovering that this kind of practicing is occurring and addressing it.

So the poor practising can actually destroy what was taught. It would seem worse than not practising at all. And you're also taking a role as a teacher in checking and guiding that practising.

Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
IMNSHO, "good teaching" will include instruction on how to practice effectively. That's something I start teaching from the very beginning, stressing the need for practice to be focused and intentional. I always harp on good practice techniques, mentioning them again and again whenever I can tell they are not being used. (Experienced teachers can not only tell whether or not a student has practiced, but very often how they practiced. ..)

I was glad to read that.

Originally Posted by pianist lady
Exactly. So much of my teaching is devoted to leading the student through practice procedures. They don't always follow through at home, I think because it's human nature to always look for ways to cut corners and finish faster!
I wish my own teachers had helped me develop better practice techniques. As a student I had a lot of enthusiasm and drive, and accomplished a lot with brute repetition, which resulted in some bad technical habits that I later had to unlearn.

Another teacher who guides students in practising.

What you wrote about "finishing faster" --- as a student I found that in the long run, proper practice is "faster" but in the instant it may seem slower.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
In my experience, a student who is mindful and keenly aware during lessons CAN get away with very little or no practice at home. Such students tend to have a great memory and can pick up right where we left off the last lesson.

However, the majority of students falls into the category of mindless, brain-challenged, "why am I even here" bottom dwellers. No matter how much I stress the importance of practicing at home, they either:

1) don't practice at all, or

2) practice by playing the piece once from beginning to end.

I do give very specific instructions on how to practice, and many times I turn the entire lesson into a mock practice session

This post left me a little confused, maybe. You write about students who don't practise, or practise wrongly, your giving instructions but those instructions not being followed - but then there is also the mindful and aware student who doesn't need to practice, or only a little bit. I think I sort of get it.

The thing about this is, even if you are mindful and aware, don't things get into the body and nervous system through regular practice - and intellectual understanding doesn't do that?

But here too it seems that the student who don't do well are the ones who aren't practising or doing it wrongly.

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: ClsscLib] #2862254 06/24/19 07:35 AM
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Quote
Quote


I’m thinking of a system of sensors arrayed around the pianist which will alert him or her to a drooped wrist, tension, awkward position, etc. A fire alarm could be triggered whenever poor form was detected.


Best coupled with a pressurized seltzer bottle?


where can I sign up for your KIckstarter?

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2862391 06/24/19 03:43 PM
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A little late to the thread here, but, as a teacher, it is extremely important to me to pass along effective practice strategies to my students.

One of the things I encourage students to pay attention to is, well, how well they're paying attention during practice. smile If they find their mind wandering, they should take a break. Stand up. Stretch. Go outside and run around the house three times. Then come back in and sit at the piano again.

There are a whole bunch more practice tips I could list here, but I will stop for now. It does seem that a lot of my teaching centers on how to practice a specific section, or how to approach practice in general. (Try to get in your first practice session within 24 hours of your lesson. Read your assignment notebook [where I write specific practice directions]. Etc.)

Teaching them to be independent learners who can develop critical listening skills they apply in their playing between lessons saves a lot of repair work. That way lessons can be more proactive (preparing for the upcoming practice week), and not so reactive (fixing things that went wrong because of faulty practicing the week before).

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2862564 06/25/19 12:30 AM
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One of the methods I use is to tune the student’s smartphone to a video and place it on the left or right side of the keyboard ( or on both, if there are 2 smartphones) at such an angle that you can see almost the whole hand while playing. The student becomes an outside witness to what the hands are doing. And, of course, take a video of teacher’s hand for comparison.Main task: to constantly indicate the combination of what the student sees; and the accompanying sound effect.

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: Nahum] #2862688 06/25/19 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
One of the methods I use is to tune the student’s smartphone to a video and place it on the left or right side of the keyboard ( or on both, if there are 2 smartphones) at such an angle that you can see almost the whole hand while playing. The student becomes an outside witness to what the hands are doing. And, of course, take a video of teacher’s hand for comparison.Main task: to constantly indicate the combination of what the student sees; and the accompanying sound effect.

Are you saying that this is a thing for the student to practice at home?

Re: importance of teaching a student how to practice [Re: keystring] #2862822 06/26/19 12:56 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Nahum
One of the methods I use is to tune the student’s smartphone to a video and place it on the left or right side of the keyboard ( or on both, if there are 2 smartphones) at such an angle that you can see almost the whole hand while playing. The student becomes an outside witness to what the hands are doing. And, of course, take a video of teacher’s hand for comparison.Main task: to constantly indicate the combination of what the student sees; and the accompanying sound effect.

Are you saying that this is a thing for the student to practice at home?

Yes, of course: make a video in a lesson; and use at home. Having accumulated experience, the student can begin to use independently.

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