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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Zach Evans] #2910455
11/10/19 03:50 PM
11/10/19 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Ok yea, I'm realizing a few things. I think the biggest thing is there's just a miscommunication in the fact that, for one, the talk is meant mostly for beginners.

Two, it's not supposed to be a complete talk on "how to get good at piano" but rather a talk meant at taking one singular idea (using a quick win somewhere at the beginning of the learning process). This is very typical of the TEDx Talk format, where you have 18 minutes, and if you've seen other talks, the goal is to convey one single point, and expand on that point with stories, humor, and metaphor. I came in assuming people would know that, but there's no reason someone would automatically expect that straight away.

I apologize for any nastiness I caused, I did feel a bit triggered. At the end of the day we're all on the same team. We're all out here trying to learn, and help people learn to play this beautiful instrument and I think when you get a bunch of passionate people in the same place things can get opinionated, but hey at the end of the day we're all trying to do the same thing.

I think the toughest thing is to take criticism on something you put so much effort into. As I'm learning, it's a delicate balance between being thick-skinned, being humble enough to listen to the reasonable responses, and wise enough to identify the unreasonable ones. And then, of course, deciding what you take with you to your next video, and what you discard.

It looks like you have found a nice niche for yourself, so I don't think you necessarily need to change what you're doing. Best of luck!


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Zach Evans] #2910480
11/10/19 04:28 PM
11/10/19 04:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Ok yea, I'm realizing a few things. I think the biggest thing is there's just a miscommunication in the fact that, for one, the talk is meant mostly for beginners.

Zach, I wrote from the point of view of the beginner I once was. The problem was the format, what Ted wants, probably the buzz words they want to get views and so on. You do in fact give foundations, which you sneak into that very first thing you mention in the talk. The talk itself suggests that foundation are horrible things - and that is not what you do. When I had lesson first time round, it was "traditional" but somehow foundations were woefully lacking even after several years. So foundations became important for me, because the falling apart that happened was devastating and unnecessary. It is NOT what you are saying. Does this make sense? This is what triggered me.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Tyrone Slothrop] #2910522
11/10/19 05:59 PM
11/10/19 05:59 PM
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In the Ozarks of Missouri
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Peter Hontaru
Not really sure why there's so much hate on Zach. I never heard of him until now and maybe some YouTube suggestions/ads that only now I can kind of remember (super human thing rings a bell). The message quoted above pretty much explains everything.

You have to realise that literally everyone here would probably classify in the top 1% of "pianists", where in this instance, I define "pianists" as someone who told themselves "I want to learn the piano one day". Amongst those people (which are probably in the millions), everyone here would be in the top 1%.

His message is targeted to that other 99% (the people loving his enthusiasm, the simplicity, basically loving everything that the "1%" doesn't). Those are the people that walk by a public piano and pull out their phone to record because some random person plays Valse d'amelie very badly, not the people who have teachers and spend a significant amount of time on a niche forum amongst thousands of hours practicing 2 liszt etudes.

Remember, not everyone intends to play the hungarian rhapsody no2 or prokofiev sonatas or the whole WTC book from memory one day. If you do, get a teacher, you won't get there through a Youtube ted talk.

I am in no way biased to Zach's approach. Although I am a beginner still (<2 years and just about to take grade 5 so nowhere near advanced repertoire), I would not use any of his courses as they're simply not targeted to me. HOWEVER, if my cousin/mum/grandma/that friend of work/etc would come to me ask for advice on how to play piano, I would surely not recommend Josh Wright's tutorial on Chopin's Ballade no 3 (Josh being the type of person I would watch) but rather send them across to Zach. Again, not saying Zach isn't a good pianist. Having skimmed through this page here I can see that he studied with a top teacher at a musical school so that says a lot.

+1 to everything you said.

Originally Posted by Peter Hontaru
That being said Zach, I think it would've made life a lot easier for everyone if you posted all of that stuff quoted above in the first post rather than just say "what do you all think" and hope people will realise who your target audience really is and your intentions. Keep the enthusiasm up wink

And a special +1!



+2 to both points!


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Zach Evans] #2910528
11/10/19 06:12 PM
11/10/19 06:12 PM
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I agree with Peter Hontaru, I don't get why people here were so upset about Zach sharing his TEDx talk here. To me, it didn't sound like he was trying to sell something or get more viewers to his video. It looked like he is legitimately passioned about piano and he wanted to share what to him is a better approach for teaching and keeping students motivated. I watched the whole video and I can see that it can be appealing to a complete beginner, but it is not convincing to more experient players.

In my opinion, there is no "magic bullet" that works for motivating everybody, because people have different goals and are "hooked" into something for different reasons. I think having "easy wins" are important to keep motivation, but those should not be the same thing for everybody. I am mostly interested in classical music, that accompaniment pattern that Zach shows has no effect in me whatsoever. I much rather learn some easy Bach Menuet than to play simple melodies with that LH arpeggio.

I think a very good teacher is able to understand their student goals and come up with tailored motivation strategies to them, instead of having a "one size fits in all" approach, that only works for a certain niche of students and only up to some point. But I don't know, I can't relate to the unmotivated student, as I am highly motivated to learn. So to me it is more important to learn properly, even if that takes a lot of time. To me getting the "information" is more important than the motivation, as I already have that (otherwise I wouldn't bother learning piano). But even so, I think it is important to have those "easy wins" along the entire journey, as only working on challenging stuff can be very overwhelming. But those "easy wins" should be adapted to the student preferences, goals, and level. Anyway, that is what I think about Zach's approach, as he asked for our opinion.


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Zach Evans] #2910569
11/10/19 08:10 PM
11/10/19 08:10 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,966
New York City
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I haven't read all the posts so I'm commenting on just the first post. It's been so long since I started studying piano it's hard to put myself in the mind of a beginner whether adult or young person. But I think what the OP said makes sense.

OTOH I think it's possible that an adult would be patient enough to wait a little while before playing songs they enjoyed as long as it was explained to them that the wait wouldn't be too long and learning the fundamentals of playing piano would be beneficial and quicker in the long run.

I have a lot of teaching experience as a math teacher for 40 years and a tennis teacher for 10 years. I'm not sure there is any secret sauce for teaching algebra or geometry. It's far easier to motivate someone who is taking tennis lessons because they are mostly choosing to take lessons and they immediately get to hit balls.

The main point of my post is about what I've been doing recently which is teaching mental math and arithmetic tricks/shortcuts to a very smart adult who did poorly in high school math. I've never taught this before(it was his request) and didn't even know there were hundreds of books on this topic(just do a search on Amazon). I have to learn everything i teach him for the first time myself.

Most of the books start with the equivalent of a secret sauce in the first chapter, simple math shortcuts or tricks that anyone can learn quickly(multiply any number by 11, multiplying by 25 quickly, multiplying any close together two digit numbers in your head, subtracting two or three digit numbers quickly in your head, etc.) One book began by having the students try 20 problems in a two minutes and saying how after reading the book they could easily do them all correctly in that time(most people could only do around five correctly without learning shortcuts).

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Cocorbett] #2910578
11/10/19 08:39 PM
11/10/19 08:39 PM
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New York City
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Originally Posted by Cocorbett
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.
My guess is he was accepted to a piano pedagogy program, not a piano performance program.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: facdo] #2910598
11/10/19 09:30 PM
11/10/19 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by facdo
To me, it didn't sound like he was trying to sell something or get more viewers to his video. It looked like he is legitimately passionate about piano and he wanted to share what to him is a better approach for teaching and keeping students motivated.
I think it doesn't have to be a choice between the two reasons you mentioned and is probably both.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Zach Evans] #2910649
11/11/19 02:19 AM
11/11/19 02:19 AM
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 126
Romania
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Well, if you're doing it for fun, everything goes. If you expect to become some above average (not to mention top) pianist it ain't working. That's why none of the "1 year old Asian plays [insert something fast and horrible sounding here]" examples on youtube didn't become Lang Lang.

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Mosotti] #2910756
11/11/19 11:27 AM
11/11/19 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Mosotti
Well, if you're doing it for fun, everything goes. If you expect to become some above average (not to mention top) pianist it ain't working. That's why none of the "1 year old Asian plays [insert something fast and horrible sounding here]" examples on youtube didn't become Lang Lang.


Lang Lang can play fast and horrible too:

https://youtu.be/jVJyOaTYABI

Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Zach Evans] #2911486
Yesterday at 08:59 AM
Yesterday at 08:59 AM
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My teacher used that same approach with me. I was a 50+ year old when I began my lessons with her. For my first lesson, she asked that I bring piano music that I would like to learn.

On that first lesson, she started a music journal (notebook) for me and we went through the proper fingering for playing the scales. From the classical book I brought, she picked out my first piece. It was a 2-page Chopin piece and she patiently corrected me as I played through the entire piece. After an hour of lessons, I walked away feeling exhausted in a good way. On the way home, I marveled as to how much we were able to accomplish in an hour and the anticipation of practicing at home.

I had weekly lessons with her until I moved. I practiced every day and I remember how excited I was when I read my journal during the practice week and there was a 'good' commented in the margin! Later I had a feeling of dread when I saw 'good, play this for church some time'.

During this time frame, I too watched YT videos and joined this forum community. All these tools helped motivate me during my lessons and beyond.

'Easy wins' as you put it is a valid teaching method at least for me as a working professional, over 50 years old and with a full life outside of work & home. I had to give up some activities since my lessons were quite intense. We covered a new fingering exercise, music theory concepts and a new piece every week for the first few months. That tapered to every other week when she started asking me to memorize pieces too!

Thank you for sharing your TED Talk video and thank you for your desire to share your time & talent of music with others. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!


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Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? [Re: Zach Evans] #2911839
8 hours ago
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Hi Zach! A late answer.
Your approach wouldn't work for me as a new beginner. First of all, I would have had huge difficulties coordinating RH melodies with your LH sauce accompaniment. But most of all, I would suspect that I had come to a teacher who uses shortcuts, and I don't want that.
But then, I am one of those adults who has had no trouble at all to practise these first 90 days, and I don't need a teacher to motivate me. So I am not one of your target students. smile


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
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... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
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