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Re: question on teachers
scirocco #3028597 09/24/20 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by scirocco
Unfortunately music is not really taught that way (presumably because the teachers all learnt as kids, just teach the way they were taught and see no reason to change.)

You really think there is just ONE way to teach children? A good piano teacher will cater to the needs of the individual student, regardless of age. Right now I'm teaching music theory to a bunch of little kids. I have to revise my tried-and-true methods because these kids are seriously, seriously mentally challenged. The only way some kids learn is rote memorization. They are incapable of seeing patterns of any kind or following a series of steps. The only way they can do math problems is to memorize the answers--forget about the process!!

Originally Posted by scirocco
You might want to google Michael New on Youtube. He has a series of videos for adults where he goes through a lot of the very basic keyboard patterns and rulesets. The comments are full of people saying "why did no-one ever explain this before?"

I get those comments all the time from Transfer Wrecks. The problem is bad teaching. It's everywhere.

It is not an adults vs. children problem. For every god-awful adult student, there are dozens and dozens of god-awful kids. I think some of the problems I'm seeing in children today have been exacerbated by the fact they haven't had actual schooling in six months. It's like rotten brains.


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Re: question on teachers
AZNpiano #3028604 09/24/20 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
It is not an adults vs. children problem. For every god-awful adult student, there are dozens and dozens of god-awful kids. I think some of the problems I'm seeing in children today have been exacerbated by the fact they haven't had actual schooling in six months. It's like rotten brains.
Thank you for this!

Re: question on teachers
keystring #3028649 09/24/20 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
It is not an adults vs. children problem. For every god-awful adult student, there are dozens and dozens of god-awful kids. I think some of the problems I'm seeing in children today have been exacerbated by the fact they haven't had actual schooling in six months. It's like rotten brains.
Thank you for this!

I think a lot of adult students are under the impression that, since they are older and "more experienced," their learning process would be faster than children. I had one such adult student. He only wanted to pay for 30 minutes of lessons, every other week. And he cancelled many lessons. Meanwhile, his lessons are loaded with pieces I did not assign. He wanted to venture out on his own and learn the next piece in the book. He thinks this will save him money?

I've seen all sorts of students. Some are massively talented, they can cover four levels in one year. Some are so slow, they took three years to get to book 2A in the method books. The only thing that separates these people is intelligence. More specifically, musical, linguistic, and spatial intelligences. People who are lacking in any of these areas will have to work harder.

It has NOTHING to do with age.


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Re: question on teachers
Manne janne #3028652 09/24/20 03:40 PM
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Ironically, adults can often display much less maturity than young children. Adults can ignorantly have much more untamed egos and unjustified self confidence.

After all, it's rare to find young children who seriously believe they know better than trained experts in any subject but it's all too common in adults. Who needs dedicated schooling and decades of research/experience when you have 10 minutes on google.

Last edited by rkzhao; 09/24/20 03:42 PM.
Re: question on teachers
rkzhao #3028658 09/24/20 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Who needs dedicated schooling and decades of research/experience when you have 10 minutes on google.

I've been reliably informed that Dr Google has a century of amazingly diverse medical experience in everything from mad cow disease to Ebola to COVID-19, and has a few hundred medical degrees from all the top medical schools and about a thousand PhDs from all the best universities in the world (from deepest darkest Sahara to deepest coldest Antarctica). thumb

Unfortunately, that good doctor was unable to cure my common cold (caused by a coronavirus)........


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Re: question on teachers
rkzhao #3028660 09/24/20 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Ironically, adults can often display much less maturity than young children. Adults can ignorantly have much more untamed egos and unjustified self confidence.

When I was doing my student teaching, my master teacher told me the hardest kids to teach are the children of teachers and school administrators. These adults can find faults in everybody else's children except their own.

My absolute nightmare of nightmare student in my public-school days was the son of a school principal. Her son can do no wrong. He's probably in jail somewhere by now.


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Re: question on teachers
AZNpiano #3028701 09/24/20 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Ironically, adults can often display much less maturity than young children. Adults can ignorantly have much more untamed egos and unjustified self confidence.

When I was doing my student teaching, my master teacher told me the hardest kids to teach are the children of teachers and school administrators. These adults can find faults in everybody else's children except their own.

My absolute nightmare of nightmare student in my public-school days was the son of a school principal. Her son can do no wrong. He's probably in jail somewhere by now.

And in my line of work, the hardest adults to teach can be "teachers."


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Re: question on teachers
malkin #3028735 09/24/20 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
And in my line of work, the hardest adults to teach can be "teachers."

Tell me about it!!


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Re: question on teachers
Manne janne #3028749 09/24/20 10:11 PM
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For me, it's difficult to teach the children of teachers because everything needs to be explained to them. They don't seem to operate on intuition or curiosity.

Re: question on teachers
TimR #3028755 09/24/20 10:35 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
. . .
At the end of the day I was feeling I must have been doing okay, because she and I were basically in sync with everything, but apparently there was a failure to communicate, or remember, or something.

Most likely, there was a failure to _listen_, on the part of your students, during your regular sessions.<g> (Or maybe I should say, to _hear_.)

Workshops with outside instructors are _special_, and attention is very high.

Last edited by Charles Cohen; 09/24/20 10:36 PM.

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Re: question on teachers
AZNpiano #3028757 09/24/20 10:55 PM
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Well, that seems to have been a waste. No interest in scales themselves, it seems. Just which group(s) to bash. Sad.

Re: question on teachers
keystring #3028766 09/25/20 12:01 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Well, that seems to have been a waste. No interest in scales themselves, it seems. Just which group(s) to bash. Sad.

I think you should start a new thread if you want to discuss scales, but we've done that many times in the past. There's nothing new to say.

Meanwhile, I don't see anything wrong with the bashing.


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Re: question on teachers
dogperson #3028775 09/25/20 01:01 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Is there a necessity of memorizing a gazillion fingerings for scales if you look for the FINGERING pattern: thumb never on s flat/sharp and long fingers on flats/sharps. Doesn’t this always work without memorizing?

Exactly. I actually think that this is all that the OP was after. I remember starting to learn scales and being daunted by the triple whammy of scale patterns, fingering sequence and differences between both hands. I would have been greatly less intimidated if someone had simply said to me:

"You're going to learn scales and the fingering layout can seem arbitrary and hard to remember. But most of the beginner scales will start on white notes and for these the pattern is easy. Moving out from the centre of the body in either hand, the pattern is just 123 cross 1234 and repeat. Use the same keys and fingers and crossing points in both ascending and descending directions. If you have reached your final octave moving out from the centre of the body use 5 for the last note. Two exceptions; scales starting on F have a different RH pattern and those starting on B have a different LH pattern. Black note start scales are a bit trickier but don't worry about them for now."

That's the adult way of learning. Understand the big picture, then do, in that order. Understand a pattern, a ruleset and its exceptions and the whole thing immediately simplifies down. In particular, people in the numerate and reasoning professions will have spent thousands of hours thinking in this way in their work, and if they are enabled to learn music like this it will be easier for them than learning by rote.


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Re: question on teachers
scirocco #3028781 09/25/20 01:43 AM
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Originally Posted by scirocco
Originally Posted by dogperson
Is there a necessity of memorizing a gazillion fingerings for scales if you look for the FINGERING pattern: thumb never on s flat/sharp and long fingers on flats/sharps. Doesn’t this always work without memorizing?

Exactly. I actually think that this is all that the OP was after.... .


No, this was absolutely not the purpose of the OP’s thread. If you think that, go back and read the early parts of this thread.


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Re: question on teachers
AZNpiano #3028851 09/25/20 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Well, that seems to have been a waste. No interest in scales themselves, it seems. Just which group(s) to bash. Sad.

I think you should start a new thread if you want to discuss scales, but we've done that many times in the past. There's nothing new to say.

You could also start a new thread if you want to discuss bad students or bad teachers. Same thing. I put something on the table that arises from the original topic, and feel it's useful and might even be interesting. It would be nice to see thoughts on at least some of those ideas.

I do NOT think there is "nothing new to say" btw, because I've been reading this thread for about 11 years, and some of what I've written, I have not seen discussed in my memory. Also, new people always join. For example, the teacher who was in a quandary about the student who found good personal fingering but which might get marked down, that was about 11 years ago. The broader implications that I just mentioned were not discussed at the time.

Anyway, it's out there if anyone is interested.

Re: question on teachers
Manne janne #3028855 09/25/20 08:11 AM
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Returning to the topic I think it's worth mentioning that knowing these fingering patterns is only helpful in the very begininning, when someone just starts to play scales. Later it will still be necessary to memorize which finger plays each degree of each scale. Really good sight reading is impossible without that.

It's somewhat like a circle of fifths - it's good to know about it in the beginning and for theory, but practically it's useless, because practically you need to recall a key much faster, in a split second, and imagining the circle is just a needless step that will slow things down.
This is also why it's best to play scales in the chromatic order and not ordered by a number of sharps/flats.

Re: question on teachers
scirocco #3028940 09/25/20 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by scirocco
"You're going to learn scales and the fingering layout can seem arbitrary and hard to remember. But most of the beginner scales will start on white notes and for these the pattern is easy. Moving out from the centre of the body in either hand, the pattern is just 123 cross 1234 and repeat. Use the same keys and fingers and crossing points in both ascending and descending directions. If you have reached your final octave moving out from the centre of the body use 5 for the last note. Two exceptions; scales starting on F have a different RH pattern and those starting on B have a different LH pattern. Black note start scales are a bit trickier but don't worry about them for now."

You seriously think this makes learning easier?

BTW, scales that start on black keys are easy if you know what you are doing. The patterns are much clearer than C Major.

For my advanced, non-testing students, I start with B Major (for teaching movement), then the scales starting on black keys.


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Re: question on teachers
Iaroslav Vasiliev #3028941 09/25/20 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
Returning to the topic I think it's worth mentioning that knowing these fingering patterns is only helpful in the very begininning, when someone just starts to play scales. Later it will still be necessary to memorize which finger plays each degree of each scale. Really good sight reading is impossible without that.

And then, after you get past the intermediate piano repertoire, you have to be able to change the standard scale fingering to suit the context of the passage.


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Re: question on teachers
AZNpiano #3029115 09/25/20 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
And then, after you get past the intermediate piano repertoire, you have to be able to change the standard scale fingering to suit the context of the passage.

Just so. In fact even before then:

I’m playing Scarlatti F minor sonata K481, it’s not an advanced piece but I don’t consciously think of the scale fingering while playing.

I think using standard scale fingering familiarises you with the scales, then you just go ahead and use that familiarity. After all no pieces are in e.g. A melodic minor or C# harmonic minor.


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Re: question on teachers
AZNpiano #3029450 09/27/20 02:12 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by scirocco
"You're going to learn scales and the fingering layout can seem arbitrary and hard to remember. But most of the beginner scales will start on white notes and for these the pattern is easy. Moving out from the centre of the body in either hand, the pattern is just 123 cross 1234 and repeat. Use the same keys and fingers and crossing points in both ascending and descending directions. If you have reached your final octave moving out from the centre of the body use 5 for the last note. Two exceptions; scales starting on F have a different RH pattern and those starting on B have a different LH pattern. Black note start scales are a bit trickier but don't worry about them for now."

You seriously think this makes learning easier?

BTW, scales that start on black keys are easy if you know what you are doing. The patterns are much clearer than C Major.

For my advanced, non-testing students, I start with B Major (for teaching movement), then the scales starting on black keys.

Agreed. I find some kids struggle with C major because they are used to C-D-E-F-G being 1-2-3-4-5 or 5-4-3-2-1 and so that is what feels intuitive to them. "Flat" keys use a much more intuitive pattern. As a matter of fact, my 8-y-o just the other day figured out D flat major correctly on their own, hands together at a fast tempo, and was playing it for fun - I was surprised because I knew their teacher has only assigned B flat and E flat so far, but they were able to transfer the same pattern to a different black key, finding it obvious where the thumbs went.

This kid learns scales easily because they were part of piano from the very beginning - there wasn't this scary moment of "Now you have to do this hard thing called scales." It was the same for me. I remember doing what they did - C major with the fingering of CDEF in the left hand 5-4-3-2 and then GABC in the right hand 2-3-4-5 all the way up, and then G, F, D the same way. So the kid gets used to quickly moving up and down the keyboard in the correct rhythm and steadiness without the awkwardness of breaking things up with the thumb. Even a raw beginner can do that, and then after a few weeks or months, they can learn the standard fingering.

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