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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Moo :) #2909827 11/08/19 10:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
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.


Did you watch the video? I very clearly said that I also learned from a top professor on top of the YouTube learning.

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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Tyrone Slothrop #2909828 11/08/19 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
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


Yea I think a lot of folks aren't realizing the talk was meant for beginners - hence why it's in the "Adult Beginner's" forum. Of course if you're already an accomplished pianist for years you're not going to be impressed by a 9th chord arpeggio - but for beginner's looking to get off the ground it can be extremely motivating

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909831 11/08/19 10:10 PM
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You asked our opinions, and most of us were honest - which I think (?) is what you wanted. I watched another one of your videos. It's 9 minutes of hype and you finally get to the (useful) point at the end. I think I know what you are doing. It's a thing that one is told to do in sales: get people excited, make a vague promise geared toward emotion and then finally, at the end, say (a bit) what it's about. It creates sales for useless products. If you actually have something useful, you've turned off those who would work with what you have to offer before they ever get to it. The things you think we don't want, that you put at the end, is what some of us want, and the things you bring to the front are things many of us got burned on, and wouldn't want. This audience here is not "negative". You just haven't caught the vibe.

Just the titles on the bottom:
"become a piano "superhuman" .... I mean, seriously. superhuman? "dominate" piano scales .... BEST. Most of us are not teenagers. I'm in my 60's. Make no bones about it - I am super passionate about music. It's not the message: it's the delivery. It's not in sync with many of the folks here.

Another bit of feedback: You don't say much that is useful in these talks and videos. It's 80% excitement, 20% content. I want to get to the meat and bones. I've worked with various on-line teachers and programs, and choose the ones that have substance. Bit emotion just isn't the thing. I just listened to a video of yours: I think 8 minutes in you finally summarize 3 useful points (which good teachers tend to give - but good teachers are sadly rare), and the video could probably be 30 seconds long to give the essential.

You talk of open mind. One has to have an open mind FOR something. "excitement" doesn't bring me anything. The 3 useful points, if I didn't already know them - do. I can't do anything with excitement. Literally - I cannot DO anything with that.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909833 11/08/19 10:48 PM
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Zach, I just went to a video of yours, and I also went to PS where you presented the same thing under the name you use there, this time in the teacher forum. In the video, maybe 8 minutes in of a longer video, you give three principles (which I have from my teacher as well), the first two being:
- work in small time increments
- isolate and work on the most difficult thing.
I forget what the third one was. Had you started with those - they have substance - you would have gotten my interest. Well in fact I've been to your site in the past so I have some idea of what you teach. The substance is buried in there. The problem is the presentation and the location - the target audience here. Hype and excited emotional promises are common in sales of shoddy questionable products (used car salesman, magic weight loss pills, youth restorer) - if a product actually has good stuff in it, then burying it in hype is counterproductive. You'll get one audience that goes for that kind of thing. But you'll turn off another kind of audience - esp. those who have been burned in the past. This group here is not "negative". Many of us are just geared differently.

In the teacher forum on PS I see a deeper conversation; maybe because you assume the folks there know something, and you write on that level. Again, I saw substance. In responding to me, you didn't really say much about the nature of foundations or their importance. Maybe because I'm primarily a student. In the teacher forum you did talk about it.

fwiw, I started as a motivated, self-actualizing student in that first experience. In the long run, I lost motivation, and my eventual mood could be best described as despair. We need foundations and skills or it falls apart after a while. In the PS forum you talk about it being important to get past a bag of tricks. That has to come across.

(The PS discussion is worth reading).

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909834 11/08/19 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans
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


I think you may find it beneficial to find another target audience for your videos.



Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909836 11/08/19 11:10 PM
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To be perfectly honest Zach I do have issue with the miyagi video which was discussed before here. My teacher taught me to project sound whilst the keys by collecting fingers. The landing technique which I think you are demonstrating is also not how I was taught it. I however was not taught to do this not often and only if needed. Something like the start of Rach opus 3 no 2. da..da..DAAA...I really don’t think it is a beginner technique. I was never taught this as a beginner. I didnt get it until more recently. I think linking technique to producing sound is very hard and I thin these videos just confuse. Especially if it’s different to what I was taught.

That said I am not a teacher and do not have a music major so you may chose to ignore as you wish. The longer videos I watched 3 are better. The chord patterns are grear. I would like to learn the arpeggio run trick. However YouTube is hard to follow. Mary has a Little lamb which you had on your YouTube which was your basis of the Ted talk I got a little lost. I think would have confused a beginner. it would be hard for me to remember what you played though the idea I understood . Maybe sheet music would be helpful when you play or seeing the keys like this synthesia? thing.

I’m not the target audience but I would question how much a beginner can do from YouTube. Maybe some tricks but how will thry progress?

Last edited by Moo :); 11/08/19 11:15 PM.
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
PianogrlNW #2909838 11/08/19 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
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
I think you may find it beneficial to find a different target audience for your videos and sales pitches. Most of the forum members here understand the dedication and hard work involved in learning to play piano and are not easily seduced by quick fixes.

That's a fair comment, but ironic, as we are also in the midst of a 255+ post thread discussing how all learners are different and how this ABF forum is not friendly enough with those beginners who aren't part of the hivemind. 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909844 11/08/19 11:25 PM
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My teacher taught me to project sound whilst ON the keys by collecting fingers. - should have said.

Also we like a good argument on piano world forum. Hive mind is a particularly awesome phrase 🐝 🐝 🐝 .

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909845 11/08/19 11:28 PM
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You can say "OK Boomer" if you want, but I'm not spending 17 minutes watching your video when I could read a text in considerably less time.

Thanks Koombot for the Cliff Notes.

Based on this thread I have no interest in the TED talk. Post a transcript if you had something important to communicate.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
malkin #2909849 11/08/19 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
You can say "OK Boomer" if you want, but I'm not spending 17 minutes watching your video when I could read a text in considerably less time.

Thanks Koombot for the Cliff Notes.

Based on this thread I have no interest in the TED talk. Post a transcript if you had something important to communicate.

OK Boomer wink

Actually, I think your comment is rather brusque. I don't think it reflects the sort of person you've expressed yourself to be on here, so I'm going to assume we are seeing the "Annoyed Malkin."


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909858 11/09/19 12:18 AM
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Hi Zach, I think you make a lot of good points on how to keep a beginner motivated enough to keep playing. I think the success of this method depends very largely on the beginner's goals and ambitions.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your method is largely in favour of using motivation to ensure a person keeps playing. And you build this motivation by providing them with instant gratification by successfully playing something simple in a short amount of time. In my experience, motivation can help keeping interest in something, but it is a very poor substitute for discipline. I would always favour discipline over motivation in learning anything that requires building skill over long periods of time. I think motivation as a complement to discipline is a very good recipe for success. However, as a substitute, it's like a crutch. The moment motivation runs out, the person stops learning.

I enjoy taking up challenging tasks, and then putting in a lot of time and effort into the learning process. For me, the learning process is what builds up to the reward at the end. Without the hard work, I don't think the reward would be as meaningful for me. If I got instant gratification from the piano, I'm not sure that I would have kept up with learning it. There are far better ways to get instant gratification than learning the piano.

I'm only talking about myself, however. I'm not a teacher, so I can't comment on how well your approach would work for the majority of people. Your approach certainly is interesting, especially with the short attention span people have nowadays. I'm especially interested in how you arrived at the 90 day period. Is it through experimentation?

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Tyrone Slothrop #2909859 11/09/19 12:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by malkin
You can say "OK Boomer" if you want, but I'm not spending 17 minutes watching your video when I could read a text in considerably less time.

Thanks Koombot for the Cliff Notes.

Based on this thread I have no interest in the TED talk. Post a transcript if you had something important to communicate.

OK Boomer wink

Actually, I think your comment is rather brusque. I don't think it reflects the sort of person you've expressed yourself to be on here, so I'm going to assume we are seeing the "Annoyed Malkin."


Thanks Tyrone. You're right. Long day (week) of dealing with grumpy people. It is certainly time for me to step away from the electronics.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909869 11/09/19 02:05 AM
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Anything which gives beginners a bit of confidence and gets them playing is good. Having said that, I doubt the particular musical material discussed would have excited me had my teachers proceeded in that way. The only proof of it one way or another would be to see the outcome of its influence on a number of students. As far as the creative aspect goes, beginning improvisation and composition, I just don't think telling pupils what notes to play (almost all internet tutorials seem to do that) is any use because the problem concerns the "how" of playing, getting a natural flow going, rather than the what.

When I was young there was a thing called the Shefte method, which occupied a roughly similar position to these "easy" internet tutorials of today. Trouble was, almost everybody found it too difficult and those who did persevere all ended up sounding the same as a result of being told what notes to play. There used to be a chap on Pianoworld, Edward Weiss, I thought possibly did have a knack of facilitating creative playing in beginners, but he was criticised so vehemently he left. We have to be open to new ideas and look for the merit in them.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909898 11/09/19 05:57 AM
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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.


I think there is merit to the above statement insofar as it may get some people to become and stay engaged. I started out on YT and have gone on to weekly lessons. I do think there are some less linear/formulaic ways to learn an instrument or pretty much anything else.

Side note: I am averse to sales pitches---motivational speeches---hyperbiole--TED talks---"thought leaders" in general

The video is probably a very good sales tool for many. For me it did not resonate.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909908 11/09/19 06:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!

Zach, the opinions of most of the people responding were that the video was salesy and not geared towards someone who seriously wants to learn how to play piano. It also quite a while to get to the point; you lost me after the first 3 minutes.

I suspect with your catchy hook, some people may be intrigued enough to give it a shot, but I suspect few of those will continue for any significant amount of time, let alone enough time to advance to a decent level.

Originally Posted by Zach Evans

'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

Yet somehow, I'm not sure that you were truly interested in our options, as you have responded defensively to most that did not review the video favorably.

I also think that not coming right out and owning up to the fact that it was your video straight off was a turn off for a lot of us.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909929 11/09/19 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans
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

I just think that there are a lot of angry people out there. I also think that online it's much easier to say things that perhaps you'd be too ashamed to say to someone's face, or you would couch your words so that you don't say it in a mean way. Also, it's very hard to tell tone of voice over the internet, so sometimes the words come across one way when they're not.

I've known a lot of people in the professional classical piano and opera world, and there is a lot of abuse that goes on from an early age: parents forcing their children to excel at everything including piano so they can get in a top school, teachers walking all over their student's musical sensibilities because they obviously can't be worth more than the teachers (sarcasm), and the negative competition between peers for "being the best" all results in some very angry and hardened people. And then they teach, and pass that on to their students or to anyone that threatens (or perceives to threaten) what they've invested all their years of heartache into. It's hard to turn all of that around.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909931 11/09/19 08:08 AM
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If Zach were to literally do what he says in the presentation - delay giving foundations so that students can be gratified by playing something within a week so they get hooked on practising (such things), that would be problematic. If otoh he is actually sneaking in the seeds leading to foundations, and then brings these in, that is good. The actual problem is the presentation, which seems to suggest the former. Those who know a bit about learning to play an instrument will tend to be alarmed. If they know the 2nd version is what's going on, they (we) would be fine with it.

This premise: You have to get students hooked into practising regularly early so that they stick with it - that is a common idea among teachers, and you'll hear it often.

Secondly: Teachers will often indeed "sneak in" things like theory and technique while they seem to be giving "fun music", in order to get around the attitude of a common kind of novice. So this isn't bad either.

The problem comes when it appears to be "delayed foundations" - we'll worry about them later, first will have fun with some nifty LH pattern: what is presented. The positive things we would want are hidden in the presentation so we get the idea they aren't there.

Some of us have experienced a "no foundations" type of teaching. Then after a glorious fun start everything falls apart more an more, you get strange aches and pains, you suddenly start struggling - because you literally don't have a leg to stand on or an uncluttered floor to dance on. The presentation suggests something like that. The teaching probably is not like that. (I went to the site long ago). The problem is the presentation, for reactions here.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Zach Evans #2909935 11/09/19 08:22 AM
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Well, clicking on the OP's video brought me to a much more entertaining TED Talk 'recommended' by YT, which I watched all the way through - and learnt something from. (Amazing but true whistle)

Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuIlsN32WaE

Well, any video that combines chemistry, math, surfing and Bondi Beach is, IMO, worth watching. thumb

Unlike - sad to say - the OP's self-promotional, self-advertising puff of a video which turned me off in the first 30 seconds.....


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
keystring #2909937 11/09/19 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
If Zach were to literally do what he says in the presentation - delay giving foundations so that students can be gratified by playing something within a week so they get hooked on practising (such things), that would be problematic. If otoh he is actually sneaking in the seeds leading to foundations, and then brings these in, that is good. The actual problem is the presentation, which seems to suggest the former. Those who know a bit about learning to play an instrument will tend to be alarmed. If they know the 2nd version is what's going on, they (we) would be fine with it.

This premise: You have to get students hooked into practising regularly early so that they stick with it - that is a common idea among teachers, and you'll hear it often.

Secondly: Teachers will often indeed "sneak in" things like theory and technique while they seem to be giving "fun music", in order to get around the attitude of a common kind of novice. So this isn't bad either.

The problem comes when it appears to be "delayed foundations" - we'll worry about them later, first will have fun with some nifty LH pattern: what is presented. The positive things we would want are hidden in the presentation so we get the idea they aren't there.

Some of us have experienced a "no foundations" type of teaching. Then after a glorious fun start everything falls apart more an more, you get strange aches and pains, you suddenly start struggling - because you literally don't have a leg to stand on or an uncluttered floor to dance on. The presentation suggests something like that. The teaching probably is not like that. (I went to the site long ago). The problem is the presentation, for reactions here.

I don't think Zach postpones all the meat until later and initially, there is only dessert. For example, for the Miyagi technique, which despite Moo's bellyache about it, I think is a very good video on using arm weight and is edgy and engaging, he describes it as "the best piano exercise for beginners". Certainly this is in line with the Russian piano school's thinking - my wife learned arm weight and curved fingers as the first two things when she attended children's music school in Moscow Russia in the 80's. So Zach is not giving only candy and ice cream up front - he's including meat and veggies too.



I think though that the other members above have a point about Zach not being upfront in claiming ownership of the Ted Talk and about too much marketing zing.

That said, in general, this forum represents only a small cross-section of piano learners. My Millennial daughter who wouldn't be caught dead on any forum because it is "old tech" has no problem in hanging out on Reddit since it is more smartphone-friendly. The kids of a lot of the other members here are probably over on Reddit. I think Zach should definitely try rolling out his Ted Talk on Reddit's r/piano subreddit where there would be more Millennials and fewer Boomers, as the former group would find greater resonance in this video in general. I text messaged this video to my 20-something daughter last night and she watched it on her iPhone and definitely "felt it." "Almost" thought about learning piano. Almost. LOL.



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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk??
Morodiene #2909939 11/09/19 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Zach Evans

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

.....I've known a lot of people in the professional classical piano and opera world, and there is a lot of abuse that goes on from an early age: parents forcing their children to excel .....


These are probably the kind of people that Zach thinks he's encountering here, and probably encountered them while doing his degree. This is the ABF and if we had that kind of background, we wouldn't be hanging around here. No, that's not it.

The impression the TED talk gives probably does not represent what Zach actually does. He actually has some solid teaching that gives tools. The talk makes it sound like he doesn't. The excited hypy tone makes one expect the magic easy peasy cheap stuff that falls apart in a few months because there is no substance. In fact, the lessons themselves have substance. That doesn't come across in the talk.

I ended up in a devastating (for me) situation where I was zipped ahead with almost no foundations and some shortcuts that ended up being crippling - not knowing this was going on - which caused my ability to play to fall apart, for another instrument. I discovered later that it was lack of foundations - when I had taken lessons FOR those foundations - and that the months of daily struggle after it fell apart could have been avoided. I have fought for the idea of foundations because of what it did to me, and to others I ended up counseling from time to time so they could dig themselves out. So if somebody seems to be saying that they won't give foundations until (much) later - yes, that makes me angry. But it's not from "superiority" or elitism. It's because of a dreadful experience that lasted years. Morodiene, you have probably had to help transfer students who were in a mess due to such things. If so, you will be far from indifferent to such things.

If otoh someone said, "I'm going to give you foundations, but I'll sneak them in so you can keep on having fun" then my attitude would be positive toward it.

And then there is the question of what are foundations. Often they are presented as pieces and exercises (Hanon etc.) instead of actual things like finding your way around the keyboard, getting a feel for moving comfortably, recognizing your chords or whatnot. If someone says "I won't give foundations" but he really means "I won't make you play Hanon and endless scales", then a misunderstanding will occur.

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