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Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
#2909582 11/08/19 02:03 PM
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Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!




Basically, the concept is:

Instead of focusing on the Fundamentals first, we should focus on "easy wins" early on in the learning process to build motivation, and come back to the Fundamentals later.

There seems to be VERY mixed reactions I get from teachers, what do you think?

Last edited by Zach Evans; 11/08/19 02:03 PM.
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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909590 11/08/19 02:25 PM
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I think it all depends on the student and his/her level of motivation, but for the average absolute beginner I would say yes, easy wins could be a great way get motivated.

I watched some of your videos, and while i love your enthusiasm and energy, for me there is too much talking in them about how, why, the past, and all kinds of things like that, I can't help to feel like "please get to the point and teach me something." But i still appreciate what your doing.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909591 11/08/19 02:27 PM
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Meh. I can see why he thinks it's important, not thinking you can play music and being bored with simple music are two big barriers to people learning piano - but they are essentially lowest common denominator problems that aren't very interesting to me. It's just marketing fluff. The real learning and real teaching starts once you get people past that lowest hurdle.

I think (or at least hope) the vast majority of people that say the can't or could never learn music/language/drawing/calculus/programming/whatever don't actually believe that, it's just a euphemism for saying I'm not interested in doing that, or can't be bothered, or don't have the time or energy. Which is completely ok. But of course you could if you really wanted to, if you got through school and learnt to read and write and do algebra you're perfectly capable of learning any number of higher skills.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909598 11/08/19 03:08 PM
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I do not think it solves any issues, it just delays the outcome. Motivation is not something that gets developed because you have made some small easy wins. At some point you will have to tackle the more difficult staff which will require hard work and dedication. if you do not have that in you, then eventually you will give up. That is true for just about any kind of activity. Now I never considered learning the fundamentals in any of my learning process as boring nor was I expecting that I would learn the topic fast and easily and without pain. But of course each person is different and I fully agree that some level of adjustment is good, and sometimes a quick and easy win is good for the morale to boost one up.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909603 11/08/19 03:34 PM
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Unless I'm wrong, the presenter of that TEDx talk (note the X) is the one who posted asking for comments.


Austin Rogers, PhD
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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
U3piano #2909608 11/08/19 03:48 PM
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Hey, thanks for the comment. And I appreciate the feedback. The hard part in teaching on YouTube is some people come in as complete beginners, and they need all the "prep talking", while others are more advanced and find it boring.

My take is give ALL the information, and just hope the intermediate players use the "skip ahead" feature to skip to the part that's more relevant for them!

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909609 11/08/19 03:49 PM
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I am not a teacher, but from what I have seen here, 90 days of practice is not the critical time point: it is when you realize that learning to play is a long-term goal and not instant success. You can take an adult who has been learning through copying synthesis notes, but when it is realized this will not get you very far, is when you need the motivation and the understanding there is a ‘beginning’ which may include music which is not always ‘fun’. There must be an understanding that learning is progressive and often slow.

I see the ‘secret sauce’ as just another type of substitute and a delay in starting. Your TED talk also doesn’t mention how and the time involved in playing all of these melodies or changing the bass patterns to fit the changes in the music. None of that is an instant process.


"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

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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909610 11/08/19 03:50 PM
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It's interesting and very much in line with an approach used in business / IT when doing projects. A long-term project can get little enthusiasm from those who are supposed to 'benefit from it' when nothing happens in the short / medium term etc. so 'quick hits' is the idea of delivering things early that give tangible benefits and generate enthusiasm which would otherwise wane in the long wait for the project to be delivered. 'Deliverables' along the way keep interest and enthusiasm going.

Yes, in my experience it can work very well, even if some of the things 'delivered' are really things that have been done earlier or are not really related to the work being done in the project.

Others don't agree with the approach, and it can lead to longer timescales because effort is diverted from delivering the main goals.

Last edited by petebfrance; 11/08/19 03:52 PM.

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Pete
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909611 11/08/19 03:51 PM
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A more honest title would be “Do you agree with my TED talk”. Since you are already marketing this approach to learning piano, why do you care about opinions from anonymous forum members. I only watched the first couple of minutes and got turned off by the marketing hype.



Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
AndrewJCW #2909613 11/08/19 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
Meh. I can see why he thinks it's important, not thinking you can play music and being bored with simple music are two big barriers to people learning piano - but they are essentially lowest common denominator problems that aren't very interesting to me. It's just marketing fluff. The real learning and real teaching starts once you get people past that lowest hurdle.

I think (or at least hope) the vast majority of people that say the can't or could never learn music/language/drawing/calculus/programming/whatever don't actually believe that, it's just a euphemism for saying I'm not interested in doing that, or can't be bothered, or don't have the time or energy. Which is completely ok. But of course you could if you really wanted to, if you got through school and learnt to read and write and do algebra you're perfectly capable of learning any number of higher skills.


I agree - the "real" teaching part does come after the first hurdle. That being said, if they never get past the first hurdle, they'll never get to the real teaching part!

For your second point, I agree to some extent - I think there are a lot of folks who say "I could never learn" when they just really mean "I don't want to learn". But I think there are ALSO a lot of folks out there who think they couldn't learn, or that it would be significantly harder for them because of their innate talent, which I think is 100% false.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909616 11/08/19 03:53 PM
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I think the video was entertaining but I think everyone is different in how they learn.
If it helps someone keeps wanting to learn I'm okay with it.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909620 11/08/19 04:01 PM
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For many adult beginners I completely agree this is a good approach because piano is so painfully difficult to learn at the fundamental level.

However for students who are eager and passionate about music, motivation is a given. For these students, fundamentals are the better path.


With new students Chopin was chiefly anxious to do away with any stiffness in, or cramped, or convulsive movement of the hand, thereby obtaining the first requisite of fine technique "souplesse" (suppleness). -- Carl Mikuli on Chopin the teacher.
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
PianogrlNW #2909621 11/08/19 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
A more honest title would be “Do you agree with my TED talk”. Since you are already marketing this approach to learning piano, why do you care about opinions from anonymous forum members. I only watched the first couple of minutes and got turned off by the marketing hype.


Exactly. It doesn't really matter what we think of your TED Talk since it's done.

Do you actually want comments or are you just trying to get views on your video?

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909625 11/08/19 04:11 PM
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I'm sorry, but this kind of 'motivational speeches' turn me off in a matter of seconds (23 exactly for this one).
And, isn't this advertising?


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909627 11/08/19 04:14 PM
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I checked back on the other forum. I got involved in several of your threads, and most of the time you did not respond to anyone after asking their opinions, or minimally. I'm afraid that answering "what do you think?" will go the same way.

I saw that I had made a comment to another thread, that you had opposed something you presented as negative, instead of just proposing your idea. The same here. You've got a nebulous "fundamentals" - which can be taught in many ways - as a negative thing that people don't want, and then propose this magical accompaniment which, in fact, contains some fundamental theory in disguise, as the solution to that. The first thing we'd have to look at is what "fundamentals" are, and how they can be taught.

Personally, your instant success version would be a turn-off for me. I don't like memorizing series of notes or series of anything, and I'm bad at it. I like knowing and understanding underlying patterns (that's your theory and fundamentals), playing and experimenting with them, creating through them. An instantly pretty song is not motivating in the least. If I had to do this, I might force myself in the hope that something real would come of it, but only because I love music - the demotivation would be great. For the demo: If you could at least play the bass softer to bring out instead of drowning the melody.

It's different strokes for different folks. I happen to love fundamental things - the real deal - a formulaic melody + I IV V block chord is just another version of the same. I find fundamentals and foundations to be fascinating. Insofar as your magical LH thing is, in fact, a code for underlying harmony, if I knew that - rather than having it an instant-success thing - I'd probably delve into it. It is the instant results aim that ruined lessons for me in my earlier experiences. It's how I'm wired.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Jytte #2909636 11/08/19 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
I'm sorry, but this kind of 'motivational speeches' turn me off in a matter of seconds (23 exactly for this one).
And, isn't this advertising?

Well, it is if there is a paid product/service involved. Still most TED Talks are not considered advertising, but I've personally never seen them promoted by the TED Talker themselves.

I don't know if Zach is counted as a piano teacher though. There is a special exemption for piano teachers to advertise on this forum. I remember seeing it over in the teacher's forum.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
enw10 #2909638 11/08/19 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by enw10
Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
A more honest title would be “Do you agree with my TED talk”. Since you are already marketing this approach to learning piano, why do you care about opinions from anonymous forum members. I only watched the first couple of minutes and got turned off by the marketing hype.


Exactly. It doesn't really matter what we think of your TED Talk since it's done.

Do you actually want comments or are you just trying to get views on your video?


+2

Please be straightforward: "This is my TED Talk, please watch it and let me know what you think" would be a much better approach.

Last edited by ShiroKuro; 11/08/19 04:43 PM.

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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909641 11/08/19 04:45 PM
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I didn't realize he was self-promoting frown


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909643 11/08/19 04:50 PM
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I'm not sure this is the right audience for your video, as most of us are looking for more traditional piano education. Good luck with your series.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909651 11/08/19 04:58 PM
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I have a couple opinions on this subject:

1 - Must it be an either/or thing? Success breeds success, but that can take many forms, and if it is as you are learning the fundamentals, then that is a good thing too, rather than a sidetrack/distraction thing

2 - Piano is fun, if you can do it. I have several adult students who would not be satisfied with spending time learning something considered an "easy win". You really have to know what your student wants and accommodate that.

3 - The objections you're talking about I haven't heard too much except "I never took lessons as a kid," but that is easily dispelled by telling them that I have had many adult students who have learned piano.

4 - The pattern you teach I would never give to a beginner due to the neural connections in the brain that need to be developed to each finger. That pattern would cause most students to have pain/excessive tension with their playing

Maybe it's just the kind of students that I end up working with, but most of them don't want the shortcuts, butt hey seek the independence of learning on their own. My job is to give them the tools, not short change them.


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