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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909674 11/08/19 04:28 PM
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Little off topic, but found the most interesting part in the video what Zach tells about his background. He claims that he first studied piano for two years from youtube videos, got then accepted to college piano major program and graduated near top of the class. Learning piano that fast shows exceptional talent in music and very good learning skills. Based on this he might really believe that the rate of progress he's promising with his method is actually possible and it's not just over-optimistic marketing. If it was possible for him it's possible for others too.

People evaluating the rate of progress he promises should consider if you are a person who would get admitted to studying piano in college level after two years of youtube self-study, or not. If yes, then maybe his promises are valid.

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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
dogperson #2909678 11/08/19 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
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.


Of course 90 days isn't going to be an absolute constant for everyone. But I have seen some real results in terms of people that stay on after 90 days - almost all of them - vs people who quit earlier. If there wasn't some kind of "click point", you'd expect an even distribution even after the 90 day point, which I don't see.

I also think people are more similar than most think. The biggest difference from my experience isn't between someone who's "talented" or "untalented" - that creates a very small difference in two students. A much bigger difference comes from "this student actually practices consistently" vs "this student doesn't".

For your second point, I don't think it delays in starting - there are a TON of different skills you need to learn on piano. Learning a left hand pattern before other skills is just changing up the order to help you stay more motivated, the order doesn't really matter.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
keystring #2909683 11/08/19 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
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.


Yes I agree, you have to tailor it to the student. But based on what you said, I'm sure for your teacher you were an "easy student". Very self-motivated, already excited to learn, etc. I think for you, you'd have learned either way. But from experience I'd say that most people aren't like you, and it helps a lot to have that kind of motivation up front.

So I guess all in all, tailor it to the student. But if anything, error on the side of teaching some "fun stuff" at the beginning, that way "easy students" will learn regardless and "tough students" will be able to use the motivation.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909684 11/08/19 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans


I also think people are more similar than most think. The biggest difference from my experience isn't between someone who's "talented" or "untalented" - that creates a very small difference in two students. A much bigger difference comes from "this student actually practices consistently" vs "this student doesn't".

This is an excellent point. I've had "talented" students that don't work and waste it, and I've had "non-talented" student far surpass them in their work ethic.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Jytte #2909686 11/08/19 04:42 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).


I don't know what it is about the piano industry and the notion that you must talk as drab, boring, and monotone as possible to try and "sound smarter" or something...

I don't think there's anything wrong with actually being... I don't know... EXCITED to to teach and learn this amazing instrument

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909695 11/08/19 04:51 PM
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Zach, I'm twice your age (which isn't the problem), and I've had to sit through I don't even know how many of these motivational and peppy speeches in my business life, plenty to turn anybody off.
That's just me.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909698 11/08/19 04:55 PM
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I tend to believe that Zach's approach is correct. Every minute spent with the instrument gets you forward and motivating material keeps you sitting at the piano. Playing the secret sauce arpeggio makes you learn to move your fingers as well as playing method books. I don't get this mindset that it's so easy to learn everything wrong and get injuries and eventually fail miserably unless you follow ABRSM curriculum. Actually I don't even think starting with synthesia is that bad. The biggest hurdles in the beginning are anyway just learning finger independence and learning to play the keys with equal volume with all fingers, and learning proprioception to be able to keep eyes on the music while playing. These things just happen when you spend time with your instrument. It's OK to get there by learning the play music you like (by rote). If still after doing that for a couple months you are interested in piano then get the method books, learn to read music and continue from there. Going through the method books at that point is more satisfying since you can learn the pieces faster.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909700 11/08/19 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Yes I agree, you have to tailor it to the student. But based on what you said, I'm sure for your teacher you were an "easy student". Very self-motivated, already excited to learn, etc. I think for you, you'd have learned either way. But from experience I'd say that most people aren't like you, and it helps a lot to have that kind of motivation up front.

I became a "difficult student" for a puzzled teacher, and the depression that experience created, and frustration, were sometimes off the charts. I wondered why I was being "deprived" the fun interesting things, and in fact I was being "spared" what supposedly people hate. True fundamental things are magical mini-pills that expand in a gazillion directions. Meanwhile, lack thereof means eventually you founder and flounder, "mysteriously". And that happened to me too.

You haven't actually experienced the ways in which beginners can be taught, because you taught yourself. I reached the possibilities at one time. I followed what you did via your outline as Keystroke on PS, and elsewhere. The truth of the matter is that music is often taught poorly, especially at the beginning level. You are doing exactly what the excellent teachers try to do: plan fundamental theory somehow. You plant it via that magical little LH phrase which contains the seeds of harmony. In this, you are, in fact, addressing fundamentals and foundations.

The actual problem is probably how you are marketing or promoting / presenting it here, because most of the students here are not looking for shortcuts and quick fixes, and you appear via the presentation, to be promoting what we have sought to escape, when in fact, there may be something deeper in what you do.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909704 11/08/19 05:06 PM
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A few observations (as a noob):

I don't think saying that 'I've had lots of adult learners' will always be massively helpful. People tend to think they're unique and special in the same way that everyone rates their sense of humour as above average, so someone, particularly if they are struggling with something will look at other people and say 'Ah, but I'm different. I'm REALLY bad.

The whole thing with the Talk seems to be "In order to teach you need to keep your student motivated". which seems to be pretty obvious. The mention of flashcards also kind of caught my attention because they seem to be a much more common phenomenon in the US than the UK. I went through a 5 years Masters degree in chemistry and never once used them.

But yeah, keep your student motivated would seem obvious. I'm nowhere near qualified to comment on whether kicking off with this pattern would be a good idea, but assuming someone learns it, if they get loads of easy wins eventually their going to hit something hard. I struggled for days with a couple of songs in Alfred's AIO and nearly quit because I'd breezed through it up till then. What I found with those challenging songs was that I had previously gone far to fast. I was looking at learning songs rather than learning skills.

I mean if you want to give them easy wins you could have them level up and maybe have an achievement tree like minecraft or similar. That's not meant to be a slur by the way. Most of the achievements in games are there because getting it demonstrates a level of skill and understanding core concepts of the game. Something like (please don't shout at me) SimplyPiano, but with a teacher.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Koombot #2909713 11/08/19 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Koombot

I mean if you want to give them easy wins you could have them level up and maybe have an achievement tree like minecraft or similar. That's not meant to be a slur by the way. Most of the achievements in games are there because getting it demonstrates a level of skill and understanding core concepts of the game. Something like (please don't shout at me) SimplyPiano, but with a teacher.

What teacher? Is there feedback in this program?
Just asking.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909722 11/08/19 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans
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).


I don't know what it is about the piano industry and the notion that you must talk as drab, boring, and monotone as possible to try and "sound smarter" or something...

I don't think there's anything wrong with actually being... I don't know... EXCITED to to teach and learn this amazing instrument


I have grown to dislike TED talks. Always with the hype, like every TED talker has discovered something so monumental and revolutionary that they just have to share it with all of us! Lots of exclamation points!!!!! Endless enthusiasm for themselves and their grand idea that's going to revolutionize...well, whatever. It's frankly exhausting, and rarely actually inspiring...except maybe to the talker themselves or to neophytes who knows nothing about the subject. Same here with Mr. Evans. He has something to sell, and a TED talk is one way to go about it in our digital times. I find it disingenuous of him to solicit comments on the Adult Beginners Forum (the target for his sales pitch) rather than on the Piano Teachers Forum where he might actually get some full-throated criticism of his approach. Furthermore, this just sounds like a bald-faced sales pitch to me, which is disallowed on Piano World forums.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Jytte #2909725 11/08/19 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
Originally Posted by Koombot

I mean if you want to give them easy wins you could have them level up and maybe have an achievement tree like minecraft or similar. That's not meant to be a slur by the way. Most of the achievements in games are there because getting it demonstrates a level of skill and understanding core concepts of the game. Something like (please don't shout at me) SimplyPiano, but with a teacher.

What teacher? Is there feedback in this program?
Just asking.


I just mean like SimplyPiano and simialr apps give instant visual feedback when you hit notes at the right time and grade the overall peformance (3 STARS!). That's all. There's no teacher, which is bad as it can't give feedback on posture, etc.

What I was meaning was that if you are looking for easy wins you'd be as well taking achievements from videogames and adapting that to the fundamentals. The talk seems to be focused around giving people the easy win by giving them the secret sauce. Why not give them easy wins by giving them achievements like in video games. That's literally what they are there for: Easy wins. Nobody plays minecraft to punch trees, but you get a achievement for it because it's a skill you need to learn to understand the game. Sure you get them for doing incredibly complicated things in game, but at the end of the day they reward skill.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909747 11/08/19 06:14 PM
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It is a very good sales pitch. VERY. I am normally very cynical but even i was entertained and brought into the dream. If it does not break the advertising rule then I think think we should feel free to say our own views. it may help if you added what your teaching is other than being super motivated and knowing some skills. but claiming to be self-taught from youtube does not fly with me mr piano superman. when you you learnt music major and were classical trained from a top piano professor then dont downplay that. it is really significantt and it sounded to me like you pretend learnt yourself with youtube when you did not and had very good teaching.

Last edited by Moo :); 11/08/19 06:15 PM.
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Moo :) #2909752 11/08/19 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
it may help if you added what your teaching is other than being super motivated and knowing some skills. but claiming to be self-taught from youtube does not fly with me mr piano superman. when you you learnt music major and were classical trained from a top piano professor then dont downplay that. it is really significantt and it sounded to me like you pretend learnt yourself with youtube when you did not and had very good teaching.

You are not the target audience with your near performance diploma and umpteen years of classical piano training. I would not be surprised if the target audience of those looking for a faster way to learn this very hard skill of piano would be more attracted to Zach's self-learning than that he ended up at a good music school earning a music degree. That's because they aren't looking to get into music school. But the idea you might start from scratch, learn by yourself and become skilled enough in two years to be able to get admitted to a music school, now that's something they can get their heads around and get excited about - because Zach could be them.

You are not the audience wink


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909758 11/08/19 06:31 PM
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I may not be the target audience and yet I brought the dream. And the Miyagi technique is famous. I also would need at least 1000 highly caffeinated drinks to be this positive. But yes it does disagree a lot with what my teacher says so I cannot take it very seriously but it at least fun. I would still be interested to what the teaching program he is selling actual is.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909765 11/08/19 06:35 PM
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i'm not near diploma diploma standard and not had upteen years of classical training. sorry if i came off arrogant in the other post as it was not intended. its getting very fierce today. :0

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909798 11/08/19 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans
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?


I agree with what you said in your video, but then I am self-teaching rather than formal lessons pursuing a classical path. When I was teaching guitar a number of years ago, I found some interesting differences between teaching adults and younger folks.

Kids (teens, and a bit younger) would come to me usually with a tape (this was the early 80s) of some rock tune they wanted to learn. I would figure it out and teach them how to play the parts they wanted to learn. Their focus was on learning the tune so they could show it off to their friends.

Adults were quite different. They seemed all hung up on whether they had "Talent" because of that ugly myth that "some gots it, some don't" and if you don't, forget it altogether. I decided that the best way to get them playing was to give them some sort of "easy win". Then, they could feel that maybe they "gots it" and could proceed to learning something of substance. Without that little push, as soon as they hit any kind of even mild difficulty in their attempts to play, say a barre chord, they might decide they just didn't have what it takes and give up. It is really weird how these myths take hold and rob folks of the joy of music making. So, yes, I agree with your video.

Tony




Last edited by TonyB; 11/08/19 08:19 PM.

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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909806 11/08/19 08:53 PM
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I found the Talk interesting. There are so many different types of people, that respond to different types of "learning/teaching". We can all learn a little bit from each system. Even if it is just a different perspective.



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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Jytte #2909824 11/08/19 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jytte
Zach, I'm twice your age (which isn't the problem), and I've had to sit through I don't even know how many of these motivational and peppy speeches in my business life, plenty to turn anybody off.
That's just me.


'Well you must be one of the VERY small minority. If you look at the comments in the YouTube video almost EVERY single one is positive, and about how people love the energy.

I think there's just something about piano players on these forums that gets them in this snarky and negative mindset instead of having an open mind about things

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
AaronSF #2909826 11/08/19 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by AaronSF


I have grown to dislike TED talks. Always with the hype, like every TED talker has discovered something so monumental and revolutionary that they just have to share it with all of us! Lots of exclamation points!!!!! Endless enthusiasm for themselves and their grand idea that's going to revolutionize...well, whatever. It's frankly exhausting, and rarely actually inspiring...except maybe to the talker themselves or to neophytes who knows nothing about the subject. Same here with Mr. Evans.


I always wonder why there seems to be a high number of *vocal* negative classical pianists compared to pop pianists. I mean, wow what a sin, being EXCITED about what you are doing... as if you "should" be negative, boring and dull all the time.

I have a theory. And this doesn't apply to all classical pianists. In fact, I think it's a select, vocal minority, who have a very negative, snarky tone.

I think these people have practiced YEARS playing classical music, and they get pissed off when someone comes in with much less experience, and is outperforming them for gigs, and the people generally like their music better.

And these few negative, classical pianists just stew and stew in it, in this negative state of anger, and whenever they get a chance they just unleash their jealousy and anger out on whomever they get the chance to.

Just being honest

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