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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025249 09/15/20 06:19 AM
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Originally Posted by mizmar
What is left for a person to add when a lot of the "grunt work" of teaching is available from technology?

.
Technology, robot, computer that will control your playingin real time, point out mistakes, suggest methods of working on them, using display , joint play and live contact with hands and body.
Doesn't exist yet!

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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
Nahum #3025252 09/15/20 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by mizmar
What is left for a person to add when a lot of the "grunt work" of teaching is available from technology?

.
Technology, robot, computer that will control your playingin real time, point out mistakes, suggest methods of working on them, using display , joint play and live contact with hands and body.
Doesn't exist yet!


What I also gain from an actual teacher is the opportunity to:
- ask questions
-my teacher can discuss and demonstrate multiple ways to solve a technical problem
- my teacher can view my body mechanics and notice there is tension in my right shoulder
-help me choose new repertoire: I usually bring 3-4 potential new pieces to my lesson and we discuss
-real-time opportunity to explore fingering

I’m sure there is more


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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
Sidokar #3025283 09/15/20 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Sidokar
I think the OP raised 2 different points. One is about his poor experience with 2 teachers and the second is about the necessity or not to have a teacher.

As far as teachers, there are certainly more or less good people out there. And in fact, the match between the personality of the teacher and the student character and expectations is critical. For example if the student has little time or is a slow learner, a teacher that takes its time, is patient and not overambitious will work fine. Maybe that online sessions with regular feedback will work even better. That same teacher put in front of a fast learner, ambitious student who wants to progress fast and has enough time for it will be inadequat, unless he can change completely his teaching method (which is unlikely).

So thats why i think it is very difficult to find the proper match, even more so if one is concerned with the cost or is leaving in an area where there is little choice around. To a large extent, kids dont have that problem. They are just following a predefined path, with a given method and thats it.

I'm not sure I'm happy about this assumption that teachers of kids just go through a curriculum and don't adjust to the individual. That's not at all what a good teacher does - for adult or child. There are, however, certain things that if a person wants to be able to play a particular piece, then the teacher plans a path for that goal. Children often don't have goals and so we teachers have to take the lead. I've had adult students who don't have specific goals either, and so I take the lead and hope that in time they begin to define what they want. But just because a method book is used, does not mean we don't plan and adjust for the student.

Also to address the common recommendation for people to get a teacher on this forum: a good teacher can help one achieve their goal easier and faster. That does not mean that without a teacher a person can't achieve their goals, it just means that it will take longer and perhaps be more difficult. Recommending something that is the best solution does not mean it's the only way.


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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025287 09/15/20 08:49 AM
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I think at the end of the day, saying that teachers are obsolete is highly offensive to all teachers and all students with teachers. That’s a lot of people offended. It wasn’t even said as an opinion. It was stated as matter-of-fact.

I get that OP was just ranting about how he felt pressured to get a real teacher but when he did, his experience proved him right, that you didn’t need a teacher! I don’t think it was necessary to offend everyone else while trying to prove you were right.

About feedback...piano is not math where you read a book, work out the answers, look at the answer book and say, oooh, I got it right! There’s no feedback for self-taught online or book piano lessons. Not yet. Technology’s not there yet. Is your staccato short and crisp enough? Is your rhythm even enough? Is your legato smooth enough? Is your sforzando sudden and strong enough? Who will tell you? I guess you can be your own judge but I think people can see the shortfalls of that kind of personal feedback.

I’m not saying everyone must have a teacher. I don’t really care if some random stranger on the internet refuses to get a teacher. I know everyone has different goals. But just because you had a bad experience, it doesn’t follow that teachers are obsolete. That is so ridiculous it’s practically laughable.


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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
Qazsedcft #3025290 09/15/20 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m not sure where OP is located exactly but $50 CAD/hr is actually on the low side, unless he’s in a more rural area. In the Greater Toronto Area suburbs, for example, $60/hr is the standard “music school” price, whereas downtown Toronto teachers go for $80+ per hour. More highly qualified teachers have even higher rates. Mine certainly is a bit more expensive but she is invaluable to me.

To be fair, Toronto is quite a bit more expensive in general than Québec (both the province and the city). Whether that is considered "exorbitant" is more a question of personal perception and priorities, as you noted.

Yes, I agree. I recognized that and that’s why I specifically noted Toronto “suburb” prices (in addition to downtown prices), where I suspect the prices are closer to where OP is from.

But at the end of the day, I don’t think what OP paid, $50CAD/hr, is “exorbitant”. It’s just the average going rate in that market.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 09/15/20 09:04 AM.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025295 09/15/20 09:24 AM
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Alright I think it is the right time to formally apologize to all teachers on this forum.

I had no intention of being a jerk. I wanted to get something out of my chest as I was confronted with a very bad situation and I guess I wanted to get some validations or perhaps be shown alternatives. I guess I got all that and than much more. It is safe to say I should have done more research before seeking a teacher. It never occured to me that there could be "bad" teachers out there. It is now very clear to me that I might just have been unlucky. Or that I should have used a different approach in seeking the coaching I was looking for.

Truth be told I was very bitter and althought I tried to stay civile, I guess the bitterness got the better of me and I went full generalisation and made a bold and very bad statement. For that I'm very sorry. I don't even believe what I said. Wich makes it even more frustrating since I think I could have avoided it.

If anything, this discussion at least made me realise that perhaps I was not ready to find a teacher. And it was all in all a very interresting read. I don't particularly get offended easilly so I could filter the backlash. But it was a warrented backlash.

Oh and I wanted to add that even if I didn't get what I was looking for in the 2 teachers I was paired with, as individuals, they are both fine people and I allways treated them with respect. The mentorat I got from them was just not what I was looking for.

You all have a great day.
Regards

Last edited by mareg; 09/15/20 09:28 AM.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
WeakLeftHand #3025297 09/15/20 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
About feedback...piano is not math where you read a book, work out the answers, look at the answer book and say, oooh, I got it right! There’s no feedback for self-taught online or book piano lessons. Not yet. Technology’s not there yet. Is your staccato short and crisp enough? Is your rhythm even enough? Is your legato smooth enough? Is your sforzando sudden and strong enough? Who will tell you? I guess you can be your own judge but I think people can see the shortfalls of that kind of personal feedback.

So somebody should tell your staccato should be this or that?
It's always an interpretation of what is written.
When you are at that level of playing - maybe a teacher is a good thing though.

But what teacher do you need to get inspiration and motivation until that level?

I have classical pieces where conductors do symphonies and piano concertos very differently.

When is comes to classical pieces, there are most likely performers that have recorded a piece for you to like or not - to mimic or not. When you are at that level to reach perfection.

I've seen discussions where pianist analyze pieces and have contradictive opinion how things should be done. They performed a passage one way, then another - this on piano in this case - and it's about really fine nuances. I'd say discussion for snobs more or less. Majority of audience would neither notice nor care, most likely.

Piano concertos are among my favorites in classical music, and been to a bunch of concerts too. Dispite all training the pianist on one occation started playing completely off partiture, and even conductor and orchestra were all stalled and wondered what was going on.

So when it comes to performances, you probably need coaching no matter how how good you are technically. So there are so many levels that you need in the top layer of performers, handle nerves etc.

When a beginner worry about staccato this or that, he is no longer a beginner is my drift.

I think headroom should be kept high here and people express what they think and feel about things. Or this place become a place that is of no interest anymore.
- only ""get a teacher" is valid or somebody is offended?


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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025298 09/15/20 09:38 AM
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Mareg, I'm late in the discussion because I've been working round the clock. The first time I took lessons as an adult I was burned and I struggled through the situation for 5 years hanging in there. I learned things in the process and one thing I used to do more in earlier year on PW was to talk about the issue of finding a teacher. Like you, I started off thinking that if you hire a teacher, you will automatically get good guidance, and all you have to do is follow. The fact this doesn't necessarily happen never occurred to me. I questioned myself, because I stayed with the assumption of good and appropriate teaching.

- Not everyone who hangs out a teacher shingle, teaches well, or even knows how to teach
- There can be a switcheroo as soon as the student is an adult, because of assumptions of what adults want, "need", their nature etc.
- The question of working together, roles, etc. can be tricky and never addressed. The middle point however: the want, need, i.e. goal and what a goal really means however is the real stumbling block that tends to affect everything else.

That became my starting point. Whatever I "want to do" in piano, it comes down the underlying skills that I don't have, weak areas the teacher can see more than I - or prevent - knowing how to teach me these things, and daring to teach me these things without the fear I'll run away on them.

I discovered that getting this set up was a first hurdle. Taking the lessons, and them going smoothly finally after a few weeks of back and forth adjusting, is only the second step. What you wrote is unsurprising, and your emotional reaction is also natural. If you had high expectations and reality differed it can be quite a letdown. But two teachers - both at the same institution - does not portray a good picture about teaching in general.

A good teacher - a really good teacher - these are rare gems. (Teachers will also say the same about a really good student they can work with optimally - this has nothing to do with talent - same thing.)

Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025300 09/15/20 09:43 AM
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We live in a much different world compared to when I was a student in school (probably the case for many here). The amount of information available at your finger tips is insane. I did my undergrad and grad in Physics, but bailed after passing the PhD qualifying exam. I got tired of being a poor grad student and saw too many others leaving to go into software. I'm very glad I did!

During that time as a student, I can't tell you how many hours I spent in a library just looking for material. I lived in the library! Now if I had Google, YouTube? Wow ... I would have finished in a fraction of time.

You can certainly go find the piano material you need, but you'd have to question whether or not it is any good, just as if the teacher is any good. In my case, I use that material (and hopefully what I am picking it is good) to supplement what I learn from my teacher. More importantly, I get real time feedback from the teacher, something which I can't get online. I'm certain I wouldn't have progressed as much as I did without a teacher. But I can't make a blanket statement that everyone needs a teacher.

In the future, can AI/Machine Learning/Robots replace teachers? I think it will at least supplement. But not to the extent that I'd like to see it in my lifetime.


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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
AZNpiano #3025301 09/15/20 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Pardon me, but that sounds flippant. When you have read (I assume you read before answering) of the quality I've found in the subscription lessons, which also work well with independent learners, it makes little sense for you to advice a student to steer away from quality lessons.

Were you flippant? Or did you have good reasoning why free ones would be preferable? If so, can you explain that reasoning.

Free YouTube "lessons" are a better fit for the OP.

Students are not feet, and teachers are not socks. When you advise one student, you potentially advise all students, who will take away that free lessons are somehow better than lessons by subscription. Since you are a teacher and I'm writing as primarily a student, your word will tend to have more weight than mine. It suggests you dismiss the info that I just gave.

Someone who wants to learn, and can work independently, will be well served by paid subscriptions to lessons put out by a teacher. Every one that I subscribed to was done excellently, by an experienced, competent teacher. Some of these have 30 - 40 years under their belt. I have seen some of these on-line teachers fix weaknesses that a poorish local teacher had skirted around for years - you see the student's playing improve visibly.

If you argue against this, then either you know nothing about these kinds of lessons (and why should you?), or you are not really thinking of a student's best interests for learning. Yes, there are some good free lessons out there, but also a lot of bad ones. I would not recommend that over the other.

Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025303 09/15/20 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mareg
Alright I think it is the right time to formally apologize to all teachers on this forum.

I had no intention of being a jerk. I wanted to get something out of my chest as I was confronted with a very bad situation and I guess I wanted to get some validations or perhaps be shown alternatives. I guess I got all that and than much more. It is safe to say I should have done more research before seeking a teacher. It never occured to me that there could be "bad" teachers out there. It is now very clear to me that I might just have been unlucky. Or that I should have used a different approach in seeking the coaching I was looking for.

Truth be told I was very bitter and althought I tried to stay civile, I guess the bitterness got the better of me and I went full generalisation and made a bold and very bad statement. For that I'm very sorry. I don't even believe what I said. Wich makes it even more frustrating since I think I could have avoided it.

If anything, this discussion at least made me realise that perhaps I was not ready to find a teacher. And it was all in all a very interresting read. I don't particularly get offended easilly so I could filter the backlash. But it was a warrented backlash.

Oh and I wanted to add that even if I didn't get what I was looking for in the 2 teachers I was paired with, as individuals, they are both fine people and I allways treated them with respect. The mentorat I got from them was just not what I was looking for.

You all have a great day.
Regards
Thank you, I do appreciate it and know that you were upset by your circumstances. It is unfortunate, and believe me, I get more upset at every teacher that makes a bad name for teachers than you probably do. Please do not let this experience taint you though. You can learn from this and I'm sure you did learn some things of value from these people.

FWIW, I do think that alternative methods of learning are valid, if not ideal. But we often have to be pragmatic too. Best of luck on your piano journey smile


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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
Nip #3025306 09/15/20 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Nip
So somebody should tell your staccato should be this or that?
It's always an interpretation of what is written.
When you are at that level of playing - maybe a teacher is a good thing though.

[...]

When a beginner worry about staccato this or that, he is no longer a beginner is my drift .

Ok, not sure what I should make of this (complement or jab or neither) but I am definitely a beginner, having only 18 months or so of piano experience/lessons. But yes, my teacher helps me analyze any kind of staccato, legato or whatever other dynamic markings there are on the page, and helps me interpret it in a more “appropriate” way. For example, if a piece is called something like “Happy Fairies”, perhaps the staccato should be light and airy. And if the piece is called something like “Baby Elephant”, perhaps the staccato should be sturdier, but still light, like a hopping baby elephant. And it makes a difference; I can hear the mood of the piece change.

Staccatos and other dynamic markings are only one aspect that teachers can give guidance/feedback with; I cannot even begin to enumerate all the other aspects my teacher helps me with.

Well, all I can say is that my goal, and my teacher’s goal for me, is not just to learn how to play the right notes at the right time. Perhaps my teacher is grooming a snob? wink


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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
Morodiene #3025308 09/15/20 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I'm not sure I'm happy about this assumption that teachers of kids just go through a curriculum and don't adjust to the individual. That's not at all what a good teacher does - for adult or child. There are, however, certain things that if a person wants to be able to play a particular piece, then the teacher plans a path for that goal. Children often don't have goals and so we teachers have to take the lead. I've had adult students who don't have specific goals either, and so I take the lead and hope that in time they begin to define what they want. But just because a method book is used, does not mean we don't plan and adjust for the student.

Also to address the common recommendation for people to get a teacher on this forum: a good teacher can help one achieve their goal easier and faster. That does not mean that without a teacher a person can't achieve their goals, it just means that it will take longer and perhaps be more difficult. Recommending something that is the best solution does not mean it's the only way.

I would agree with you. The fact that teachers mostly follow a standard curriculum with kids does not prevent them from being sensitive to the individuality of their young students. Teachers are obviously not robots. But with adults there is a much wider spectrum of situations, character, expectations also. All this has already been discussed in this forum.

To be honnest, I dont think it is a question of time or difficulty, but a matter of profile of people and their objectives. What you say is probably and theoretically true in the vast majority of the cases, but not always. But I think before finding the right teacher, there can be also quite some time wasted either because the working style does not match, or the content is not there. That does not mean that the teacher is a bad teacher, but not all teachers are flexible or willing to adjust to the specific objectives of their student (and a number of students are not willing to adjust or comply with the directions of the teacher). There are plenty of cases on this forum where such problems have been reported, like the one of the OP. So there is no perfect solution, but I think that online teaching is certainly going to develop a lot in the years to come.

Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025309 09/15/20 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mareg
Alright I think it is the right time to formally apologize to all teachers on this forum.

I had no intention of being a jerk. I wanted to get something out of my chest as I was confronted with a very bad situation and I guess I wanted to get some validations or perhaps be shown alternatives. I guess I got all that and than much more. It is safe to say I should have done more research before seeking a teacher. It never occured to me that there could be "bad" teachers out there. It is now very clear to me that I might just have been unlucky. Or that I should have used a different approach in seeking the coaching I was looking for.

Truth be told I was very bitter and althought I tried to stay civile, I guess the bitterness got the better of me and I went full generalisation and made a bold and very bad statement. For that I'm very sorry. I don't even believe what I said. Wich makes it even more frustrating since I think I could have avoided it.

If anything, this discussion at least made me realise that perhaps I was not ready to find a teacher. And it was all in all a very interresting read. I don't particularly get offended easilly so I could filter the backlash. But it was a warrented backlash.

Oh and I wanted to add that even if I didn't get what I was looking for in the 2 teachers I was paired with, as individuals, they are both fine people and I allways treated them with respect. The mentorat I got from them was just not what I was looking for.

You all have a great day.
Regards

Wow! I’m so happy you made this follow-up post. We all get angry sometimes and say things we don’t mean. It takes courage and character to acknowledge your words were offensive. I really hope you luck and enjoyment on your piano journey, whether or not it includes a teacher. smile

As an aside, I’m also having some “issues” with a music teacher (not piano) and questioning if he is the right teacher for me, so this kind of thing happens all the time.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 09/15/20 10:13 AM.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025317 09/15/20 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by mareg
Also he often told me that piano was not the instrument to convey emotions/expressions. That things like the violin was the way to go for expression. This is one of my most cherished goal. To put a lot of expression and emotion in my playing.
Guess he never had to cry over a lovely melody played on a piano.

Don't listen to that kind of BS.

I do agree that people expect way too much from a teacher. A teacher cannot make your work go faster or be any easier. 99% of the work is your task and yours alone.
What a teacher can do is see you play and point out errors you otherwise might never have noticed.

Also a teacher can help tremendously when you encounter things/instructions you don't understand and don't know how to pull off on a technical level.

Last but not least, a teacher that knows you well, can advise you if a piece is too hard for you before you sink a ton of time into it.

Yes, they cost a truckload of money (I pay around 40€ for 1h per month split into 2 30 minute sessions every 2 weeks) but I do not want to tackle this without her.

Last edited by Granyala; 09/15/20 10:41 AM.

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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
WeakLeftHand #3025322 09/15/20 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Well, all I can say is that my goal, and my teacher’s goal for me, is not just to learn how to play the right notes at the right time. Perhaps my teacher is grooming a snob? wink

Seems like you and your teacher is a match to envie - inspires you by things you want to know. What I and some others are expressing is frustration not finding a teacher that is a good match for what we want to accomplish. Congrats. smile


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Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
mareg #3025324 09/15/20 10:57 AM
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Ok but the old teacher that Mareg had who spent lesson time talking about himself and dropping names. That is just not acceptable! Some old people love to talk and brag about themselves. They just go on and on and on.

Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
WeakLeftHand #3025330 09/15/20 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by mareg
Alright I think it is the right time to formally apologize to all teachers on this forum.

I had no intention of being a jerk. I wanted to get something out of my chest as I was confronted with a very bad situation and I guess I wanted to get some validations or perhaps be shown alternatives. I guess I got all that and than much more. It is safe to say I should have done more research before seeking a teacher. It never occured to me that there could be "bad" teachers out there. It is now very clear to me that I might just have been unlucky. Or that I should have used a different approach in seeking the coaching I was looking for.

Truth be told I was very bitter and althought I tried to stay civile, I guess the bitterness got the better of me and I went full generalisation and made a bold and very bad statement. For that I'm very sorry. I don't even believe what I said. Wich makes it even more frustrating since I think I could have avoided it.

If anything, this discussion at least made me realise that perhaps I was not ready to find a teacher. And it was all in all a very interresting read. I don't particularly get offended easilly so I could filter the backlash. But it was a warrented backlash.

Oh and I wanted to add that even if I didn't get what I was looking for in the 2 teachers I was paired with, as individuals, they are both fine people and I allways treated them with respect. The mentorat I got from them was just not what I was looking for.

You all have a great day.
Regards

Wow! I’m so happy you made this follow-up post. We all get angry sometimes and say things we don’t mean. It takes courage and character to acknowledge your words were offensive. I really hope you luck and enjoyment on your piano journey, whether or not it includes a teacher. smile

As an aside, I’m also having some “issues” with a music teacher (not piano) and questioning if he is the right teacher for me, so this kind of thing happens all the time.
+1.

If you do decide to look for a teacher again, try to find one that is not employed by a music school (by 'music school' I mean a commercial undertaking that is independent of the local school system). Though there are, I'm sure, many fine teachers in music schools, the schools typically charge a pretty penny for tuition but pay the teachers (their employees) not very much. That system doesn't always attract the best teachers. Again, there are certainly gems to be found in music schools, but it can be hard to sort them out.

One poster posited that teachers are only needed for the more advanced student. I disagree. It is the fundamentals that carry the load of all that follows. Beginners need the eyes and ears of someone who knows those fundamentals.


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Yamaha C3X
In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
pianoloverus #3025344 09/15/20 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
You had two bad experiences but that doesn't change the fact that the only way to get personal feedback is private instruction. Without that you cannot know what you're doing wrong. You do not know what you do not know. There are thousands of people who post videos on YouTube that are quite terrible, but I'm sure most of them don't realize that.

I suggest signing up with a teacher where you can quit after 2-4 lessons if necessary and that you interview potential teachers carefully to find out if your goals are compatible with their teaching.

+1

Just because you had 2 teachers that didn't work out, doesn't mean you won't find one that's great for you, who you connect with, learn a lot from, and enjoy. It took me 20 years to find my wonderful teacher!


Lisa

Playing RCM 8 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP & CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Re: Unpopular Opinion : Piano teachers (my honest experience)
Nip #3025356 09/15/20 12:39 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
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W
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W
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,450
Originally Posted by Nip
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Well, all I can say is that my goal, and my teacher’s goal for me, is not just to learn how to play the right notes at the right time. Perhaps my teacher is grooming a snob? wink

Seems like you and your teacher is a match to envie - inspires you by things you want to know. What I and some others are expressing is frustration not finding a teacher that is a good match for what we want to accomplish. Congrats. smile

Well, thank you. I clearly lucked out.


Kawai K-500
Casio PX-735 (in retirement)
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