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Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
#2890507 09/15/19 02:32 AM
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After reading the last thread about how hard it is to get some kids to read music, I feel I need to start a new thread. In many of these sorts of threads there are contributors who say things like, "if you just have them sightread a lot of easy music"... that somehow the student will become curious and stop playing by ear or stop relying on the few physical clues a piano teacher may provide when she plays a phrase on the top part of the piano.

I wonder if some children really will never have the patience to read music. We know that sewing is actually not hard, yet very few people continue at it for lack of patience. And nobody is insisting that they have this type of spatial literary.

In many areas in life, we see when somebody is faltering and we say, this person is not meant to be doing this activity. Are we just beating dead horses when we try to get kids to read music for five years and they still never come back with a note read on their own?

Of course, we like to think we can teach anybody. And enough people keep comparing reading music to reading books. (The two are not the same because when you read words, you don't also have to negotiate the line or space you are on.) Most kids learn to read books, so why not music, the thinking goes.

Can we actually do harm to kids by teaching them for a lengthy time when they clearly have no interest nor passion for music? After all, they could be learning other things in that time.

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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2890530 09/15/19 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Can we actually do harm to kids by teaching them for a lengthy time when they clearly have no interest nor passion for music? After all, they could be learning other things in that time.

I beieve music helps with cognitive development and this is what many parents want for their kids even if the kids have no interest in music. Besides a passion for music can arise some years later, you can never know.

But certainly there is a point when music lessons become excruciating for a kid for some reason, and it may do harm.

Last edited by Iaroslav Vasiliev; 09/15/19 05:20 AM.
Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2890536 09/15/19 05:48 AM
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There are people who have inherent cognitive and/or physical limitations that make playing the piano and reading music very hard and also limit the future possibilities. I am one of those people. So what is the point in keeping at it? As an adult I can assess the pros and cons and make a personal decision on how much I want to invest in something that is always going to cause me frustration and disappointments. But had I been forced to continue as a child I think I would have suffered and it would have caused me to fail in other things too because of the continuous stress. So yes, I think some kids should not keep studying piano, unless they really want to.

Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2890539 09/15/19 06:21 AM
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As a teacher, I think you can certainly come to a point in which you say to the child and parents that you don't think learning to play the piano is the right thing at this moment. I think if you state it in a "not now" way, you still keep the minds of the child and the parents open to the possibility that they might play later - when they are more mature and motivated.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2890589 09/15/19 09:26 AM
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Based on my personal experience, my parents got me to a teacher at a young age (around 5). At the time I was curious but after 3 lessons mom decided that nobody in the family had the talent for piano and soon after the piano was out of the house. If me & my siblings had piano lessons for at least half a year, the situation may change. Coming from a non-musical family with parents who doesn't play an instrument regularly, they were open to the idea the kids try piano for a few lessons before deciding whether or not to move on. I actually picked up piano 3 decades later in my mid-30s. Circumstance changed and I would practice my keyboard almost every day of the week. In my younger days I dreaded music lessons and the hour of practice each day but now I enjoy every moment of playing.

In 1 case a friend got his son into a Yamaha music program. During the year, the mother accompanied the child to his lessons. After about 2 years the child quit. The mother thought that she was practicing more than the child. And the end of the year he was supposed to prepare for a recital. The parents thought that he was on stage making fun of himself than actually performing for the audience. The son is more interested in cooking and may actually become a chef and the parents had no regrets letting him quit piano.

Once I was at a birthday party. There were 3 kids in the family. All of them had piano lessons for at least a year. They were sitting at a digital piano with a piece of sheet music about 4 lines long. For more than an hour they tried to recreate the song but nobody came close to being able to learn the song. There were a few other people who took piano lessons but that was ages ago and their sight-reading skills was not very proficient so nobody in the room had very much talent for music. The father had lessons for a few years and hated piano. He wasn't too disappointed when his kids decided to quit music 1 by 1.

A lot of times the parents would push the kids into piano or violin but there would be hesitation and even resistance. In my case I was considered a slow learner in the past and the family wasn't too disappointed nobody in the family could play. That was over 30 years ago. Now I play with a music group in church regularly. Some people like myself would pick up piano playing later in life when ready. Having the talent or passion for music is not something a parent can push for.

Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Animisha #2890593 09/15/19 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by Animisha
As a teacher, I think you can certainly come to a point in which you say to the child and parents that you don't think learning to play the piano is the right thing at this moment. I think if you state it in a "not now" way, you still keep the minds of the child and the parents open to the possibility that they might play later - when they are more mature and motivated.



I agree with Animisha and would like to add that as a teacher it is perfectly fine to dismiss students for any reason. It could be that the chemistry doesn't click, or scheduling is difficult, or you want to have fewer students in your studio, or you want to concentrate on one level or type of student.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2890640 09/15/19 12:57 PM
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IMHO, a teacher should ask parents to stop only if the kid is anguish. 99% of young music students will not become a pro, music classes for them should be more of cultural and mental development, and source of fun.
If the kid enjoys music but does not enjoy staff, give them some time.
Not mentioning that we all know great musicians who couldn't read music through out their career.
Another option, of course, would be to change the teacher if there is no connection.

I am not a teacher, I am speaking from my past experience of taking classes during my elementary years - I loved guitar but was terrified by my teacher and his ways of teaching. He was concervatory tutor, who was probably great with adult students, but did not know how to teach kids IMHO.
And my recent experience as parent whose kids took guitar, drums, and piano classes, played brass in school, but only one of them continues singing in chamder chorus, tells me that teaching kids is rarely about growing a talent, it is usually about introducing them to the joy of producing and hearing sounds.

Last edited by VladK; 09/15/19 01:05 PM.

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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2890741 09/15/19 06:53 PM
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The same could be said about any subject area. Do kids really have to learn Algebra? Lots of people got by without learning any of those formulas. And having seen students in those remedial Algebra classes, I can safely tell you that math is too hard for them, and better time could be spent teaching them life skills and career/trade skills. I'm not sure if Civics and Economics are still graduation requirements for high school, but I can vividly remember when those required classes were preventing a number of students from graduating high school.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2890804 09/16/19 01:03 AM
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Not many parents would put their children through ‘Lang Lang’ style training. And even if they did I doubt it would produce many Lang Lang’s.

Children need to try different activities to find what they like. Even with music, they may prefer singing or drumming to piano.

Where does encouragement end and compulsion begin? It differs for each parent and child.

No easy answers.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
terentius #2890826 09/16/19 03:27 AM
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Originally Posted by terentius
Not many parents would put their children through ‘Lang Lang’ style training.


Sadly for the kids, probably still too many do. eek

Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
terentius #2890832 09/16/19 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by terentius
Not many parents would put their children through ‘Lang Lang’ style training.

This varies by culture. In some cultures, this would not be considered a problem.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
AZNpiano #2890833 09/16/19 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
The same could be said about any subject area. Do kids really have to learn Algebra? Lots of people got by without learning any of those formulas. And having seen students in those remedial Algebra classes, I can safely tell you that math is too hard for them, and better time could be spent teaching them life skills and career/trade skills. I'm not sure if Civics and Economics are still graduation requirements for high school, but I can vividly remember when those required classes were preventing a number of students from graduating high school.


Yes, there are school subject areas that are debatable as really necessary but the curriculum is set by state law. Taking private piano lessons is not legally required as an extracurricular activity. so a teacher has the option to drop the student.

Would you/do you ever drop a student who has no interest in taking lessons and who’s time would be better spent somewhere else?


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Tyrone Slothrop #2890891 09/16/19 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by terentius
Not many parents would put their children through ‘Lang Lang’ style training.

This varies by culture. In some cultures, this would not be considered a problem.



Agree with this.



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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Tyrone Slothrop #2890918 09/16/19 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by terentius
Not many parents would put their children through ‘Lang Lang’ style training.

This varies by culture. In some cultures, this would not be considered a problem.


Tiger moms are far from being extinct. Some cultures have higher percentage of them, and it probably correlates well with level of personal freedom cultivated there.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
VladK #2890920 09/16/19 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by VladK
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by terentius
Not many parents would put their children through ‘Lang Lang’ style training.

This varies by culture. In some cultures, this would not be considered a problem.


Tiger moms are far from being extinct. Some cultures have higher percentage of them, and it probably correlates well with level of personal freedom cultivated there.

Also probably related to how much a culture respects children as independent people, worthy of their own opinions, ideas, and desires, vs. being unformed clay to be shaped by the parents.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Tyrone Slothrop #2890991 09/16/19 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by VladK
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by terentius
Not many parents would put their children through ‘Lang Lang’ style training.

This varies by culture. In some cultures, this would not be considered a problem.


Tiger moms are far from being extinct. Some cultures have higher percentage of them, and it probably correlates well with level of personal freedom cultivated there.

Also probably related to how much a culture respects children as independent people, worthy of their own opinions, ideas, and desires, vs. being unformed clay to be shaped by the parents.


Exactly.
Many cultures have a pretty long list of things parents need to teach their children in order to be considered effective or competent parents. Prospective parents in those cultures are generally aware of the requirements going in to parenthood.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2891013 09/16/19 03:13 PM
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Tiger moms are not just cultural, but are hiding anyplace you might find a professional musician. I am not saying that all professional musicians had a Tiger Mom or a Helicopter Parent, but it is not necessarily tied to culture . Stories I have heard in my small sphere: A parent who measured the applause level at every competition and punished the child musician if it was less than the last competition. Another parent who encouraged the child musician to quit as there was a second rather than a first place competition win.

I’m sure there are more stories out there when someone knows you well enough to talk about it. It does leave a scar.
And these were both Heinz 57 cultures.

Last edited by dogperson; 09/16/19 03:15 PM.

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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Candywoman #2891048 09/16/19 04:25 PM
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Quote

Can we actually do harm to kids by teaching them for a lengthy time when they clearly have no interest nor passion for music? After all, they could be learning other things in that time.

Kids can also be harmed by being labeled a failure and being dropped by their teacher.


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Re: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Sweelinck #2891053 09/16/19 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Quote

Can we actually do harm to kids by teaching them for a lengthy time when they clearly have no interest nor passion for music? After all, they could be learning other things in that time.

Kids can also be harmed by being labeled a failure and being dropped by their teacher.


Doesn’t this depend on the level of the student’s enjoyment? If they are enjoying lessons and just horrible , I agree. But if they are miserable, they would be delighted to be freed.


"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: Is there no point we can say somebody should not take piano?
Sweelinck #2891162 09/17/19 01:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
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Can we actually do harm to kids by teaching them for a lengthy time when they clearly have no interest nor passion for music? After all, they could be learning other things in that time.

Kids can also be harmed by being labeled a failure and being dropped by their teacher.

It's a good thought.

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