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Impatient teachers
#2913230 11/17/19 06:00 PM
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I am not an advanced student of piano at all,and I’m not young nor rich,and music lessons where I live are incredibly expensive-on average seventy dollars an hour. I understand that teachers need to charge this rate because many of them are struggling students and the cost of living is impossible here.
But I did find a teacher I can afford and I had my second lesson with him today and I felt he was over and over feeling frustrated and impatient with me. I don’t think a teacher should be impatient or frustrated with a student of any age,we all know adults who quit music as a child because of monster teachers. I got to the point in my lesson where it was on the tip of my tongue that he needs to calm down.i think the issues he felt frustrated with were all valid,but I don’t learn well with impatient teachers. So what do you do? I’m going to try one more week and if need be speak with him. Again I think his frustration is valid as I kept making the same mistakes and continued to play too fast when he told me to slow down. But I don’t know if it is me or him and I don’t want to quit without giving him another chance. I have known teachers throughout my life,albeit rare,who never lose it. I’m not gifted or brilliant,just an ordinary person who wants to play better. But how do I know if I’m not being too sensitive? He means for me to improve,he’s just somewhat frustrated.

Thoughts please?

Last edited by alans; 11/17/19 06:04 PM.
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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913234 11/17/19 06:08 PM
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I certainly would talk to him if it occurs again: tell him you understand his frustration and you are frustrated as well because you want to follow directions and improve. Let him know his visible frustration makes it more difficult for you. You don’t mention what happened in your first lesson so I’m assuming all was ok

I agree that a teacher’s attitude affects us but they really are human, too. If this just happens occasionally, I would suggest trying to be understanding that he may have had a very bad day. If this is frequent, that would be very different


"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
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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913239 11/17/19 06:18 PM
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Maybe he's frustrated because he lacks the tools needed to help you.

My teacher could tell me a million times to slow down, but when he taps or counts or plays along with me I actually do slow down. It;s much less frustrating for both of us.


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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913241 11/17/19 06:20 PM
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You may want to start out your lesson talking to him about what happened this week. You can put it in a way similar to this:

"When you said, "____" last week, it made me feel hurt, as though I'm not measuring up to your standards. But I am trying my best, I've just never had piano lessons so I am very new to this. I ask that you be patient, and I will try to listen better."

I know what you mean when I ask students to slow down, they often don't. It is actually a skill to be able to conceive music at different tempi. You build that up over time. Usually when a student doesn't slow down when I ask, I don't take it personally, but I demonstrate to them exactly how slowly I want them to go. Then they are usually able to do it.

If this occurs again, ask your teacher to demonstrate for you want they want you to do. But if he gets short with you again, it's possible he's just not a good teacher for adults.


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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913243 11/17/19 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by alans
I don’t think a teacher should be impatient or frustrated with a student of any age...
Thoughts please?

Exactly,

If you were a good pianist, you would not need him. For adults, learning to play the piano can be frustrating and tough so we need some TLC from our teachers. Also some musicians become teachers, not by choice but because they need money.


Last edited by Serge88; 11/17/19 06:25 PM.


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Re: Impatient teachers
Serge88 #2913258 11/17/19 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Serge88
Originally Posted by alans
I don’t think a teacher should be impatient or frustrated with a student of any age...
Thoughts please?

Exactly,

If you were a good pianist, you would not need him. For adults, learning to play the piano can be frustrating and tough so we need some TLC from our teachers. Also some musicians become teachers, not by choice but because they need money.



I know ‘good’/professional pianists who continue lessons: some regularly and some take a few only prior to a big concert. Concert pianists can still participate in Master Classes.

Here is a link to one taught by Barenboim to young concert pianists

https://www.forte-piano-pianissimo.com/DanielBarenboimMasterclass.html

Obviously, their lessons are at a different level than yours or mine, but they’re still lessons


"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: Impatient teachers
alans #2913315 11/17/19 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by alans

Thoughts please?


if the teaching studio isn't a safe place to make mistakes, (doesn't matter how many or how often), to ask sill questions, (doesn't matter how many), then where is?

I hope this teacher works out, but I found that once the implicit safety of the studio is questioned/broken then its game over.


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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913320 11/17/19 11:28 PM
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This is not a difficult one for me. Your teacher is impatient and frustrated on your second lesson? Save your breath and your money. Find a better teacher (or at the very least one you work better with).

Last edited by AndrewJCW; 11/17/19 11:33 PM.
Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913327 11/17/19 11:58 PM
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An impatient teacher is an impossible combination. Student is required to find another teacher; and him in his turn is recommended to change profession!

Re: Impatient teachers
Morodiene #2913407 11/18/19 07:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene

"When you said, "____" last week, it made me feel hurt, as though I'm not measuring up to your standards. But I am trying my best, I've just never had piano lessons so I am very new to this. I ask that you be patient, and I will try to listen better."


I see that someone has studied assertive communication! I find that to almost always be the best approach.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Cedar Park, TX
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Re: Impatient teachers
Morodiene #2913422 11/18/19 09:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
"When you said, "____" last week, it made me feel hurt, as though I'm not measuring up to your standards. But I am trying my best, I've just never had piano lessons so I am very new to this. I ask that you be patient, and I will try to listen better."

We used to call this formula: "active listening." There were a lot of business seminars on it and how we should not say what the other person did to you but rather using the "when you did XXXX, I felt XXXX" formula. So instead of "you hurt me," more like what you said.


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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913423 11/18/19 09:31 AM
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That's a tough situation to be in. If I were you, I would ask myself if the value of studying under this teacher will benefit my musical goals.

If the answer is yes, then I would work extra hard and prepare for each lesson and get all the knowledge I can at each session. For me that's the working relationship of student & teacher.

I too have had very strict & unyielding instructors over the years, but they have also made me the best student & knowledgeable in my area of study.

The key for me is if the instructor actually has any worthy knowledge to pass along. We don't have to like each other, but if they can't explain the concept or demonstrate the technique when I ask questions, then that's when I decide to move on.

Good luck and hope that helps.


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Re: Impatient teachers
Morodiene #2913452 11/18/19 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Maybe he's frustrated because he lacks the tools needed to help you.

My teacher could tell me a million times to slow down, but when he taps or counts or plays along with me I actually do slow down. It;s much less frustrating for both of us.

Originally Posted by Morodiene
......I demonstrate to them exactly how slowly I want them to go. Then they are usually able to do it.
If this occurs again, ask your teacher to demonstrate for you want they want you to do. But if he gets short with you again, it's possible he's just not a good teacher for adults.

My thoughts--the above two posts go to the heart of the matter. Your teacher should explain to you what she wants you to do and if that is not sufficient, then she should come at it from a different direction, both in words and in a physical demonstration, such as counting the beat at a slower rate or demonstrating it herself. You should not have to ask your teacher to do this, but perhaps it would help to remind the teacher.

All of this is said with the caveat that if the impatience on the part of the teacher is a rare occurence, then ignore it; we all have bad days. As you've had only two lessons with this teacher, and the problem was only with the second lesson, maybe you need to give it a few more weeks. It can take weeks and months to get a really good feel for how well the relationship is faring.


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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913690 11/19/19 06:48 AM
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Originally Posted by alans
Thoughts please?

Come to PCA! This site has many elaborate tutorials for pianoplayers on many levels. There is a beginners' course, a program for intermediate players, tutorials for advanced players; there are lots of videos discussing technique - everything from the correct posture to all aspects phrasing, there is a scale course, and much more. Apart from the main teacher who makes the tutorials, there is also a feedback teacher, and every week you can submit a video with a piece from one of the tutorials, and you get feedback, sometimes in writing and sometimes as a video. The quality of the feedback is very good, and both teachers are always friendly and patient.


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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913721 11/19/19 08:26 AM
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Surely the teacher should explain things based on what you CAN do, and demonstrate the various steps you need to progress to whatever it is you need to be able to do.

Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913807 11/19/19 12:43 PM
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Thank-you everyone for your support and ideas. I decided to give a different teacher a try and then choose. The first teacher kept repeating my name more and more angrily as if I was a misbehaving child. I’m sixty and have suffered through enough impatience in my life. This teacher only teaches kids and I think his repeating my name over and over again is the way old skill teachers taught students.

Simon,louder-Simon-louder-Simon. It’s an insistent impatience on their part. I feel bad for the guy as he sees himself as a professional teacher but I can’t save the world. I also feel sorry for the kids he teaches. Can you imagine being in a lesson and the instructor repeatedly calling your name with increased impatience..
You are all very wise and kind here.

Last edited by alans; 11/19/19 12:45 PM.
Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913896 11/19/19 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by alans
Thank-you everyone for your support and ideas. I decided to give a different teacher a try and then choose. The first teacher kept repeating my name more and more angrily as if I was a misbehaving child. I’m sixty and have suffered through enough impatience in my life. This teacher only teaches kids and I think his repeating my name over and over again is the way old skill teachers taught students.

Simon,louder-Simon-louder-Simon. It’s an insistent impatience on their part. I feel bad for the guy as he sees himself as a professional teacher but I can’t save the world. I also feel sorry for the kids he teaches. Can you imagine being in a lesson and the instructor repeatedly calling your name with increased impatience..
You are all very wise and kind here.


Yeah ... That behavior would be an immediate NO for me. I'm too old for that ... stuff ... laugh Good luck with your new teacher!


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Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913903 11/19/19 04:35 PM
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Your story reminds me of a bad experience with my first (professional) driving instructor. He kept getting angry because I didn't do what he asked or expected. Needless to say, it wasn't due to any lack of goodwill on my part. I just had difficulty remembering all the things I needed to pay attention to, and sometimes it was just a matter of interpreting the instructor's directives correctly.

As an instructor, this person should have realized a student may forget or misunderstand things. Demonstrating what he expected would have helped much more than yelling, like he kept doing.

I think your first teacher sounds a bit like my driving instructor. It's his job as a teacher to understand, or at least not to get angry over a student's difficulties. Being a teacher myself (albeit not a music teacher), I'd also advise against treating or making adult students feel like children.

I hope you can either get your first teacher to accommodate your expectations (which are 100% reasonable, but might need to be stated clearly), or have more luck with the other teacher.

Re: Impatient teachers
alans #2913939 11/19/19 05:41 PM
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This thread vividly points out that "teaching" is a gift, a talent, an ability that includes way more than just factual knowledge. Thus just because someone can play the piano is absolutely no guarantee whatsoever that that person can teach others how to play the piano.


Piano teacher.
Re: Impatient teachers
TheophilusCarter #2913958 11/19/19 06:32 PM
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Originally Posted by TheophilusCarter

Yeah ... That behavior would be an immediate NO for me. I'm too old for that ... stuff


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