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If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
#3028752 09/24/20 10:24 PM
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I find very few of my students actually ever "Play" the piano, in the sense that they get somewhere and feel like they're in command of the piano, and can find their way around a piano, and can improvise.

If my piano studio was compared to flight instruction, I'd say very few ever get off the ground, despite my best efforts at teaching. It's like they're stuck in ground school. If they do take off, there is no safe landing and no fuel to continue.

If I let go of fingering as a principle, I'm sure more of them could play around on the piano. But atrocious fingering would be the result, and impossible to correct in my opinion.

So I continue to plod away with them. I try teaching intervallic reading, explaining that thirds are from space to space. I try comparing the starting note to a note they have encountered in a beloved piece. I try describing left hand b as being above the staff, like a boat on water. I try to get them to circle all g's on the treble clef. Whatever I try, it takes them forever to learn to read music. How many times do they need to see a c below middle c? I show them the piece Two New C's long after they've learned it. I say all cows eat grass for the bass clef spaces.

To me, they seem as dense as doorknobs. When they leave the studio, I often comment to myself, "dense as doorknobs."

They have no curiosity, nor ability to start a piece on their own.

Any suggestions?

Last edited by Candywoman; 09/24/20 10:26 PM.
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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3028765 09/24/20 11:59 PM
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Is this observation pre-pandemic or post-pandemic? Or both?

I try to be compassionate with these "doorknobs" if they are pleasant kids who follow instructions. It's not their fault they were born this way. At one time my studio was filled with this kind of "doorknobs." We try to have as much fun as we can, even though I know they're not going anywhere.

Meanwhile, I transfer the attention and energy to the genius students. I still have 1.75 of them. I used to teach a LOT more of those.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3028857 09/25/20 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
I find very few of my students actually ever "Play" the piano, in the sense that they get somewhere and feel like they're in command of the piano, and can find their way around a piano, and can improvise.

It's unlikely you ever hang out on Adult Beginner forums, but something I've found interesting: Most will not say "I play piano." They say "I take lessons" or "I'm working on piano." That discussion has recurred many times, and it's a mindset thing that seems to happen. Personally I always said "I play piano, very badly." Even though my practice has currently shifted to other instruments, and what skills I had have faded, I would still say I play piano, even worse.


Quote
If my piano studio was compared to flight instruction, I'd say very few ever get off the ground, despite my best efforts at teaching. It's like they're stuck in ground school. If they do take off, there is no safe landing and no fuel to continue.

I think most of this is that children take piano lessons for their parent's reasons, and part of it is that it's taught a bit differently from other instruments.

But consider this. We make children take math beyond the arithmetic they'll need to make change, which they should learn in elementary school. I made my children take four years of math in high school. Very few of them will retain the higher levels, things like geometry, trigonometry, heaven forbid calculus. But even fewer of them would ever attempt to figure out something that required mathematical thinking. I think to 99% of people it's one of those arcane topics you have to learn that will never have any real world application, and maybe piano is like that too.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3028858 09/25/20 08:41 AM
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As I've never been blessed with false modesty whistle, I called myself a pianist when I could play my first original, unadulterated, unsimplified piece by a great composer - Mozart. (OK, he was only six when he composed it, but his name was still Wolfie, and he would be great.....).

By implication, it meant that I could play the piano after six months of lessons.

As to whether I was in "command" of the instrument then, well, I'm still working on it....... cool


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3028874 09/25/20 09:27 AM
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candywoman
It is difficult for me to understand your students as I always loved to play around with new music that was not taught in my lessons: pop, Broadway, other classics

The only (probably poor) suggestion I can make is to ask them if they have any favorite pop singer, find a couple of suitable level arrangements and present it for them to take home and play. They just need to see what fun it can be. If you can find a musical wedge, maybe the parents could purchase a related anthology to give them lots of new material.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3028907 09/25/20 10:57 AM
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I've done this, writing out arrangements of Beethoven's Fifth, Tacos, anything they like. They still need every note fed to them. I'm starting to think everything needs to be written larger.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3028943 09/25/20 12:53 PM
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I've always believed that being average equates to being second-rate. The average person is not athletic, the average person is not intelligent, and the average person is not musical. Quite frankly, the average person is a "doorknob".

So this then raises another interesting question in my mind for the teachers. Do you ever break the unfortunate news to a parent that their child is simply average?

Last edited by rkzhao; 09/25/20 12:57 PM.
Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3028945 09/25/20 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
I've always believed that being average equates to being second-rate. The average person is not athletic, the average person is not intelligent, and the average person is not musical. Quite frankly, the average person is a "doorknob".

So this then raises another interesting question in my mind of the teachers. Do you ever break the unfortunate news to a parent that their child is simply average?

Your definition of average is wrong. Doorknobs are two standard deviations below the mean.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3028946 09/25/20 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
I've always believed that being average equates to being second-rate. The average person is not athletic, the average person is not intelligent, and the average person is not musical. Quite frankly, the average person is a "doorknob".

So this then raises another interesting question in my mind for the teachers. Do you ever break the unfortunate news to a parent that their child is simply average?


You can be ‘average’ and still have interests that you want to pursue—- such as playing the piano😊
The majority of people in the world are ‘average’ but that is not the same as being a doorknob.


"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: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3028949 09/25/20 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
I've done this, writing out arrangements of Beethoven's Fifth, Tacos, anything they like. They still need every note fed to them. I'm starting to think everything needs to be written larger.

Tacos?

I wouldn't waste my time writing anything out. There is already a plethora of publications aimed at this group of students. I have about 30 of these books sitting on my shelf. About three weeks ago, I had to dig something out of my old Schaum books and let my doorknob play one piece out of it. The kid mastered it in three weeks, which is a record. He's been in the same book for about a year now and I can just see where his intelligence ran out.

Find something the kid will enjoy.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3028950 09/25/20 01:13 PM
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Time to recommend a book:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01KT104RI/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Available at your local library, or on Overdrive or Hoopla if your library is still closed.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
dogperson #3028979 09/25/20 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
You can be ‘average’ and still have interests that you want to pursue—- such as playing the piano😊
The majority of people in the world are ‘average’ but that is not the same as being a doorknob.

Of course, being average doesn't limit someone from pursuing hobbies. It might limit their progress but the pursuit itself is available to just about anyone.

Everyone has a different definition for what one would consider a "doorknob".

Throughout my life, I've learned to continuously lower my expectations of people's capabilities. At this point, I simply expect the average person to be a "doorknob". Sure there are people that exceed my expectations of them, but often there are just as many if not more that have demonstrated my expectations to be unreasonably high.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3028984 09/25/20 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Throughout my life, I've learned to continuously lower my expectations of people's capabilities. At this point, I simply expect the average person to be a "doorknob". Sure there are people that exceed my expectations of them, but often there are just as many if not more that have demonstrated my expectations to be unreasonably high.
Me, I just assume every other person I meet is a moron until proven otherwise. All the rest, of course, are merely imbeciles. smirk

However, I consistently find that my expectations of my own capabilities are unreasonably low. It makes me realize that I'm actually not far off genius level, but of course, I'm far too modest to allow that to go to my head (which is over-bulging with grey cells)....... cool


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029120 09/25/20 10:23 PM
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Isn't that a rather big gap between your expectation of the student being able to improvise on the piano, and the reality of the students trying to find middle C?

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3029154 09/26/20 02:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Throughout my life, I've learned to continuously lower my expectations of people's capabilities. At this point, I simply expect the average person to be a "doorknob". Sure there are people that exceed my expectations of them, but often there are just as many if not more that have demonstrated my expectations to be unreasonably high.

So, what do you do if you meet people who are obviously way smarter than you?


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
AZNpiano #3029175 09/26/20 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Throughout my life, I've learned to continuously lower my expectations of people's capabilities. At this point, I simply expect the average person to be a "doorknob". Sure there are people that exceed my expectations of them, but often there are just as many if not more that have demonstrated my expectations to be unreasonably high.

So, what do you do if you meet people who are obviously way smarter than you?

What do you mean? If people exceed my initial expectations, then I adjust my expectations accordingly, just like when people fall short of my initial expectations. Isn't that what everyone does?

Like your first post essentially said, treat the doorknobs like doorknobs and treat the geniuses like geniuses.

I've never met anyone that I can safely assume to be way smarter than me without any form of interaction. Even for individual that I know enough to assume some level of competence before I interact with them, it's often safer for me to lower my expectations by a few degrees in reality.

Last edited by rkzhao; 09/26/20 04:58 AM.
Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029204 09/26/20 06:26 AM
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Musing:
Originally Posted by Candywoman
If my piano studio was compared to flight instruction, I'd say very few ever get off the ground, despite my best efforts at teaching. It's like they're stuck in ground school. If they do take off, there is no safe landing and no fuel to continue.
How is flight instruction done?

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3029206 09/26/20 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Like your first post essentially said, treat the doorknobs like doorknobs and treat the geniuses like geniuses.
.
In the area of teaching, how do you treat doorknobs and geniuses? How do you teach each of them. At the initial and intermediate stages? (Do you teach?)

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
keystring #3029220 09/26/20 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Musing:
Originally Posted by Candywoman
If my piano studio was compared to flight instruction, I'd say very few ever get off the ground, despite my best efforts at teaching. It's like they're stuck in ground school. If they do take off, there is no safe landing and no fuel to continue.
How is flight instruction done?


Why don’t you just assume it is ground school followed by cockpit training, instructor led. More details are found with a Google search, hardly relevant here.


"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

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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
keystring #3029224 09/26/20 07:18 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Like your first post essentially said, treat the doorknobs like doorknobs and treat the geniuses like geniuses.
.
In the area of teaching, how do you treat doorknobs and geniuses? How do you teach each of them. At the initial and intermediate stages? (Do you teach?)

Oh heck no, I'm not qualified to teach piano.

Even if I were qualified, while I like teaching and mentoring people, I don't want to ever put up with the crap teachers have to go through. There's a lot of patience, dedication, and creativity needed to try and effectively teach different people.

I replied to this thread more because I was wondering how people choose to deal with the doorknob parents because that to me is the tougher task in teaching a doorknob.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029236 09/26/20 07:59 AM
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There is something disconcerting to me about this thread.

It reminds me of the complaining flight instructors I used to work with. Granted I was a flight instructor and taught many students.However, iit was during a time when we could not go online to vent about our less successful students. The venting was still there, just in person with other colleagues. I noticed a recurring theme amongst the more frequent "ventors". And it was that as bad as some of their students were, they also seemed to be lacking something in the ability to teach. They didn't intrinsically love the teaching. It was a means to an end. Some of these lacking teachers became 777 Captains at United Airlines operating worldwide. They are good pilots. Just not good flight instructors.

I think some wonderfully gifted pianists fall into teaching for reasons other than the love of sharing the gift of piano. I wouldn't be surprised to see a very similar correlation to flight instruction.

It's always saddened me to see the teacher that has soured on their craft to carry on despite the unhappiness. Life is too short.

I would also add that I am not saying that this is the case with any teachers participating in this particular thread. Just some feedback from my experience and possible food for thought to add to the dialogue.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
dogperson #3029237 09/26/20 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by keystring
Musing:
Originally Posted by Candywoman
If my piano studio was compared to flight instruction, I'd say very few ever get off the ground, despite my best efforts at teaching. It's like they're stuck in ground school. If they do take off, there is no safe landing and no fuel to continue.
How is flight instruction done?


Why don’t you just assume it is ground school followed by cockpit training, instructor led. More details are found with a Google search, hardly relevant here.

I disagree.

That's kind of like saying well piano is just theory school plus some instructor lead piano playing. The point is that whatever flight instruction does it seems to succeed, as evidenced by how few people crash an airplane, and how many graduate. There does seem to be a contrast with piano, where so many don't succeed.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
TimR #3029238 09/26/20 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by keystring
Musing:
Originally Posted by Candywoman
If my piano studio was compared to flight instruction, I'd say very few ever get off the ground, despite my best efforts at teaching. It's like they're stuck in ground school. If they do take off, there is no safe landing and no fuel to continue.
How is flight instruction done?


Why don’t you just assume it is ground school followed by cockpit training, instructor led. More details are found with a Google search, hardly relevant here.

I disagree.

That's kind of like saying well piano is just theory school plus some instructor lead piano playing. The point is that whatever flight instruction does it seems to succeed, as evidenced by how few people crash an airplane, and how many graduate. There does seem to be a contrast with piano, where so many don't succeed.


The point was this is a Piano forum. The OP’s metaphor should not require a lot of discussion of the steps of flight training in order to understand the intent. Please let’s not discuss flight training.


"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: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029285 09/26/20 11:40 AM
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I think it's an interesting point that is rarely discussed:
Quote
... they don't feel like they're in command of the piano ...

What skills are required to feel like you're in command of the piano?
In my opinion it's first of all a good pitch, well-trained or inborn, and good music memory.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
dogperson #3029290 09/26/20 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
The point was this is a Piano forum. The OP’s metaphor should not require a lot of discussion of the steps of flight training in order to understand the intent. Please let’s not discuss flight training.
This is also the teaching section of that piano forum. Piano teaching involves factual things that need to be learned, as well as using one's senses together with that knowledge in real time, and physical skills. This is different than teaching academic subjects such as mathematics. These are also the characteristics of flight training, with dire consequences if it goes wrong. I am also a teacher among other things, and will sometimes grab things from parallel or similar disciplines for teaching insight or usefulness. I did not ask the question out of idle curiosity. The metaphor may be quite pertinent and lead to some insights. Or not.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
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Ground school was later for me. I learned to fly by initially going for a ride with a flight instructor. You could call it monkey see, monkey do. I solo'd in about 15 hours.

I knew up front piano instruction would not be like that, so went on my own. As an adult one has wisdom and desire a child doesn't. Ima happy piano player. But i also know some folks just don't have"it." It would be great if there were a secret teacher's secret, but in 50 years i've not seen it. How do they say it? "The student must awaken." That is the student, not the teacher.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029344 09/26/20 02:36 PM
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I don't think there's any big trade secret as to why more flying students succeed than piano students.

The same as why learner drivers almost always succeed (eventually). If they don't pass the driving test, they can't drive. No big deal if you live in NYC or London, but a serious handicap if you live where there's no public transport. So - you try, try, try, try, try........try again, until you succeed.

As for piano - what's the big deal? Give it up, and play bongo drums instead, if you want to make a noise in the world.

Kids who love classical music (like I did, and still do and will always do) will keep trying until they succeed, because they can see that a whole new world opens up to them as they get better and better, and it's a never-ending source of pleasure. Those who don't are very likely to give up when the going gets tough.....especially when they find that pop songs on the piano are just rubbishy arrangements that sound like rubbish. Much better to strum a few chords on the guitar and get singing. Takes about ten minutes to learn to do that, compared to ten years on the piano to get to the level where they can play like Elton and make up flashy and idiomatic song accompaniments for themselves.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
bennevis #3029382 09/26/20 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I don't think there's any big trade secret as to why more flying students succeed than piano students.

The question is not why or whether, but how.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
TimR #3029402 09/26/20 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
That's kind of like saying well piano is just theory school plus some instructor lead piano playing. The point is that whatever flight instruction does it seems to succeed, as evidenced by how few people crash an airplane, and how many graduate. There does seem to be a contrast with piano, where so many don't succeed.

The comparison is fundamentally flawed. You can die from flying a plane. You won't die from piano piano.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029405 09/26/20 07:04 PM
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The flight student has the intention of someday flying, commercially or for pleasure.

I'm not sure any but the rare piano student intends to ever perform - busking, church service, cocktail lounge, family singalong, whatever.

How the student approaches the task likely has a lot to do with it.

The question here though is whether the teaching methods themselves are significantly different.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
keystring #3029407 09/26/20 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
I don't think there's any big trade secret as to why more flying students succeed than piano students.

The question is not why or whether, but how.
How what?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
bennevis #3029415 09/26/20 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
I don't think there's any big trade secret as to why more flying students succeed than piano students.

The question is not why or whether, but how.
How what?

how now brown cow laugh

Last edited by rkzhao; 09/26/20 07:53 PM.
Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
bennevis #3029422 09/26/20 09:23 PM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
I don't think there's any big trade secret as to why more flying students succeed than piano students.

The question is not why or whether, but how.
How what?

How are you going to get through doors without a few strategically placed door knobs?


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
IntermedPianist #3029430 09/26/20 11:08 PM
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Originally Posted by IntermedPianist
It reminds me of the complaining flight instructors I used to work with. Granted I was a flight instructor and taught many students.However, iit was during a time when we could not go online to vent about our less successful students. The venting was still there, just in person with other colleagues. I noticed a recurring theme amongst the more frequent "ventors". And it was that as bad as some of their students were, they also seemed to be lacking something in the ability to teach. They didn't intrinsically love the teaching. It was a means to an end. Some of these lacking teachers became 777 Captains at United Airlines operating worldwide. They are good pilots. Just not good flight instructors.

Interesting. In my first teaching assignment in public schools, I did a number of observations to fill my required hours. It seemed like the teachers who complained the most and the loudest are also the best teachers. They actually cared about how their students progressed, and they fought the administration vociferously (we were going through a change, in which all four administrators left at the same time). The loudest complainer got stuck with an assignment teaching 40 kids per class without a prep period, but I learned the most by observing her masterful teaching.

There were also other great teachers who didn't complain about anything and stayed away from those carping conversations in the lounge. I was new so I just listened.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029437 09/26/20 11:48 PM
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Both highly skilled teachers and poor teachers end up with doorknobs. Actually, I bet poor teachers end up with fewer doorknobs because they have better marketing skills. They don't know what they don't know, so they very proudly put up their ads, often stating, only taking beginners up to level "x" pupils. And humble parents with bright kids do respond to those ads.

Whereas, highly skilled teachers know what they don't know and have some trouble articulating what makes them unique. And parents shy away from benefitting from their high qualifications. They don't want to spend the money, or don't think their child is good enough.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029445 09/27/20 01:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
I find very few of my students actually ever "Play" the piano, in the sense that they get somewhere and feel like they're in command of the piano, and can find their way around a piano, and can improvise.

If my piano studio was compared to flight instruction, I'd say very few ever get off the ground, despite my best efforts at teaching. It's like they're stuck in ground school. If they do take off, there is no safe landing and no fuel to continue.

If I let go of fingering as a principle, I'm sure more of them could play around on the piano. But atrocious fingering would be the result, and impossible to correct in my opinion.

So I continue to plod away with them. I try teaching intervallic reading, explaining that thirds are from space to space. I try comparing the starting note to a note they have encountered in a beloved piece. I try describing left hand b as being above the staff, like a boat on water. I try to get them to circle all g's on the treble clef. Whatever I try, it takes them forever to learn to read music. How many times do they need to see a c below middle c? I show them the piece Two New C's long after they've learned it. I say all cows eat grass for the bass clef spaces.

To me, they seem as dense as doorknobs. When they leave the studio, I often comment to myself, "dense as doorknobs."

They have no curiosity, nor ability to start a piece on their own.

Any suggestions?

Isn't improvisation a specific thing that is difficult for many classically-trained pianists who are taught to read what is on the page? Many excellent players can't improvise. But the basis of improvisation is to understand chord structures etc - are you teaching the theory that would allow for that?

On the other hand, lots of kids struggle to read music because they have good ears and are relying on them. I have a kid who is slow at reading (not as slow as you describe, but slower than I would like!) The main thing that seems to be helping this kid read is the music getting harder - the harder and longer pieces get, the less you can completely memorize them and the longer it takes (though this kid still surprises me with how quickly it can be done.) They are playing RCM gr.3 when sonatinas start, and you need to pay attention to chord patterns and modulation, and I notice that the reading is definitely coming by leaps and bounds. I think some teachers make the mistake of keeping the so-called doorknobs down too long, expecting perfection in reading at the lower levels before moving on. The kid then lacks confidence seeing how long they have been playing and they are still at the baby level. I have so many friends whose kids take 6 or 7 years to take gr.1, by which time they are 12 or 13 and decide to quit. I remember that dilemma from when I was teaching - when to hold them back and when to move them on, but I found that moving them ahead a bit usually doesn't hurt and they may rise to the challenge.

Doing theory also has helped this kid - they get LOTS of it as they are at an arts school, and their piano teacher also makes them do it. Writing out the notes yourself is a very good teacher, as is ear training - being able to recognize the sound of line to line/space to space, etc.

The other issue, of course, is that many kids simply don't practice consistently or properly (or at all...)

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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
IntermedPianist #3029447 09/27/20 01:59 AM
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Originally Posted by IntermedPianist
There is something disconcerting to me about this thread.

It reminds me of the complaining flight instructors I used to work with. Granted I was a flight instructor and taught many students.However, iit was during a time when we could not go online to vent about our less successful students. The venting was still there, just in person with other colleagues. I noticed a recurring theme amongst the more frequent "ventors". And it was that as bad as some of their students were, they also seemed to be lacking something in the ability to teach. They didn't intrinsically love the teaching. It was a means to an end. Some of these lacking teachers became 777 Captains at United Airlines operating worldwide. They are good pilots. Just not good flight instructors.

I think some wonderfully gifted pianists fall into teaching for reasons other than the love of sharing the gift of piano. I wouldn't be surprised to see a very similar correlation to flight instruction.

It's always saddened me to see the teacher that has soured on their craft to carry on despite the unhappiness. Life is too short.

I would also add that I am not saying that this is the case with any teachers participating in this particular thread. Just some feedback from my experience and possible food for thought to add to the dialogue.

These are the thoughts I had. It's kind of sad, even in jest, to see the comments about average or below average kids. Most of the world is like that and no one can help the ability they were born with. School teachers have to give those kids the skills for life just the same as the above average kids, and the good ones figure it out.

We need to stop thinking of piano as something only for geniuses and the very gifted. Music is for everyone - even if they aren't going to play concerti with orchestra, they can love and appreciate it. They can make music at an amateur level in their community or just be a patron of the arts. The arts need these people. Make learning piano joyful instead of a struggle or a resentment that every kid isn't a Lang Lang. Not all kids taking science and math are Einstein, or need to be. Music should be the same.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
joplinlover #3029452 09/27/20 02:31 AM
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Originally Posted by joplinlover
We need to stop thinking of piano as something only for geniuses and the very gifted.

I don't think anyone thinks that, but we need to set realistic expectations.

Average or below average kids shouldn't be held to the same standards as gifted children. That's the first step in keeping learning joyful.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3029465 09/27/20 04:37 AM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by joplinlover
We need to stop thinking of piano as something only for geniuses and the very gifted.

I don't think anyone thinks that, but we need to set realistic expectations.

Average or below average kids shouldn't be held to the same standards as gifted children. That's the first step in keeping learning joyful.
Rkzhao, I'm trying to get a proper perspective on the various things you've been writing. Do you teach? Do you teach piano or music? Or are these more general ideas?

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
malkin #3029466 09/27/20 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by bennevis
I don't think there's any big trade secret as to why more flying students succeed than piano students.

The question is not why or whether, but how.
How what?

How are you going to get through doors without a few strategically placed door knobs?
By gentle persuasion.

Failing that, by using a sledgehammer. Never fails whistle.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029484 09/27/20 06:52 AM
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I just thought of another difference.

Would you give piano lessons to somebody who didn't own a piano and couldn't practice, except at the weekly lesson?

Would you give flight lessons to somebody who didn't own their own plane, and couldn't practice during the week? Hee, hee.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
TimR #3029493 09/27/20 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
I just thought of another difference.

Would you give piano lessons to somebody who didn't own a piano and couldn't practice, except at the weekly lesson?

Would you give flight lessons to somebody who didn't own their own plane, and couldn't practice during the week? Hee, hee.

If learning to play the piano only took 20 hrs of instructor training, and 10 hrs of solo learning like flying does, most piano teachers would be happy to teach someone without an instrument. Her, hee

https://www.firstflight.com/private-pilot-requirements/


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
keystring #3029531 09/27/20 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by joplinlover
We need to stop thinking of piano as something only for geniuses and the very gifted.

I don't think anyone thinks that, but we need to set realistic expectations.

Average or below average kids shouldn't be held to the same standards as gifted children. That's the first step in keeping learning joyful.
Rkzhao, I'm trying to get a proper perspective on the various things you've been writing. Do you teach? Do you teach piano or music? Or are these more general ideas?


He answered this question yesterday, when it was asked.


"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

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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
dogperson #3029582 09/27/20 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
He answered this question yesterday, when it was asked.
Looks like I missed it, and looks like the asking person who was answered was me. Thanks for pointing me there (sort of).

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
keystring #3029592 09/27/20 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by dogperson
He answered this question yesterday, when it was asked.
Looks like I missed it, and looks like the asking person who was answered was me. Thanks for pointing me there (sort of).


Sorry it felt like ‘sort of’ pointing you to the response. Thought it would be helpful.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029617 09/27/20 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Both highly skilled teachers and poor teachers end up with doorknobs. Actually, I bet poor teachers end up with fewer doorknobs because they have better marketing skills. They don't know what they don't know, so they very proudly put up their ads, often stating, only taking beginners up to level "x" pupils. And humble parents with bright kids do respond to those ads.

Whereas, highly skilled teachers know what they don't know and have some trouble articulating what makes them unique. And parents shy away from benefitting from their high qualifications. They don't want to spend the money, or don't think their child is good enough.

There are so many things wrong with this post, I don't know where to begin.

Some of the highly skilled teachers wouldn't even take doorknobs. You'd have to audition to get into their studios.

Also, there are parents who deliberately seek out highly-qualified teachers, despite the fact their children have absolutely no musical ability or desire to learn.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
AZNpiano #3029620 09/27/20 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Candywoman
Both highly skilled teachers and poor teachers end up with doorknobs. Actually, I bet poor teachers end up with fewer doorknobs because they have better marketing skills. They don't know what they don't know, so they very proudly put up their ads, often stating, only taking beginners up to level "x" pupils. And humble parents with bright kids do respond to those ads.

Whereas, highly skilled teachers know what they don't know and have some trouble articulating what makes them unique. And parents shy away from benefitting from their high qualifications. They don't want to spend the money, or don't think their child is good enough.

There are so many things wrong with this post, I don't know where to begin.
Always start at the very beginning. A very good place to start.

I tell all my students that.

Even Julie Andrews tells her charges that:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=drnBMAEA3AM


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
dogperson #3029623 09/27/20 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Thought it would be helpful.
It was.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
AZNpiano #3029647 09/27/20 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Candywoman
Both highly skilled teachers and poor teachers end up with doorknobs. Actually, I bet poor teachers end up with fewer doorknobs because they have better marketing skills. They don't know what they don't know, so they very proudly put up their ads, often stating, only taking beginners up to level "x" pupils. And humble parents with bright kids do respond to those ads.

Whereas, highly skilled teachers know what they don't know and have some trouble articulating what makes them unique. And parents shy away from benefitting from their high qualifications. They don't want to spend the money, or don't think their child is good enough.

There are so many things wrong with this post, I don't know where to begin.

Some of the highly skilled teachers wouldn't even take doorknobs. You'd have to audition to get into their studios.

Also, there are parents who deliberately seek out highly-qualified teachers, despite the fact their children have absolutely no musical ability or desire to learn.

Yep, my talented child's very good, highly qualified teacher requires an audition and/or trial period. They don't put up with doorknobs or even average to above average students.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029665 09/27/20 04:51 PM
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There's a place for everyone.

Each person displays a range of skills in different areas.
A person may struggle to learn to read, but may excel at math, Is this person's worth less than a person who excels at math?
A person may have poor motor skills, but may be a gifted, diligent, and hard working astrophysicist. Is this person worth less than a gifted athlete who struggles to read?

I could go on. Each of us has a different profile of strengths and weaknesses. My professional work is with people with communication disorders. If I didn't want to work with that population, I could develop a practice working on accent modification with nonnative speakers or with actors, or I could do something else, but I like my clients and my job.

Do I gripe about my clients? Well--sometimes, but the kid clients usually just make me laugh, so I share those stories. Parents? Sure, they're gripe worthy, but in a forum like this I will maintain their confidentiality as is required by law. Fortunately for you lot, there is no federal statute regarding right to privacy for piano students and their families!

p.s. If your child is gifted or talented at piano or any other skill, that's grand, but it is still important to strive to ensure that said child develops into a decent human being.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029672 09/27/20 05:04 PM
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I think the problem is that one poster tries to connect complainers to their lack of teaching ability.

I'm trying to separate the two issues. The two might not even be remotely correlated. You can be the best teacher in the world, and complain about bad students every single day. Alternatively, you can say nothing (because you think it's bad to complain, whatever), and at the same time you are an ineffective teacher. And there are obviously overlaps in both areas.

Some people believe that a good teacher can reach any student, and that the reason a student fails is the teacher can't teach. I've seen this with my own eyes in my days working in public schools. Teachers are the scapegoats for bad students, horrible parents, and lazy/lame administrators. It's easy to blame the teachers. There are even scientific studies that "prove" that the teacher is the biggest indicator of a child's success in learning. I'm not even sure how the researchers of that study quantified each indicator.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3029680 09/27/20 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
A person may struggle to learn to read, but may excel at math, Is this person's worth less than a person who excels at math?

Someone who sucks at math is most definitely worth less as a mathematician or engineer. Doesn't mean they can't pursue it, but the real world isn't going to be nice about it just because they are trying hard. I've worked with many people who are not suited for their profession of choice, and as a result are indeed treated as lower value employees.

But that's not really the topic here.

While some might see Candywoman's original post as venting and griping, I see it more as someone who cares enough to ask for help. That's fairly commendable, even if I might believe it to be a relatively futile effort.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3029718 09/27/20 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by malkin
A person may struggle to learn to read, but may excel at math, Is this person's worth less than a person who excels at math?

Someone who sucks at math is most definitely worth less as a mathematician or engineer. Doesn't mean they can't pursue it, but the real world isn't going to be nice about it just because they are trying hard. I've worked with many people who are not suited for their profession of choice, and as a result are indeed treated as lower value employees.

But that's not really the topic here.

While some might see Candywoman's original post as venting and griping, I see it more as someone who cares enough to ask for help. That's fairly commendable, even if I might believe it to be a relatively futile effort.


Clearly, a person who struggles at math is not likely to be a brilliant mathematician, but might turn out to be a fabulous pianist. Is that his only possible redemption? What about being a great philosopher? Or a novelist? Or actor? Or athlete?

Or what if a brilliant mathematician wanted to play piano for fun and an intellectual challenge? Should that person just run over his head with a car if he has little natural aptitude for piano? Or could he not just find a teacher who is game to engage with him in that journey? Obviously not every teacher wants this kind of student, in the same way that every athletic coach does not want to coach special Olympics, but there are coaches for every level, from pee wee, through school age, to high level competition, as well as those who provide skills development to people who just want to improve their performance.

Most of us live in the grey area between black and white.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
malkin #3029721 09/27/20 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Clearly, a person who struggles at math is not likely to be a brilliant mathematician, but might turn out to be a fabulous pianist.

You seem to be misunderstanding. The OP isn't talking about Piano students that suck at math. She's talking about piano students that struggle with learning piano....

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Someone who struggles with math may still benefit from learning some math even if they never will be a mathematician. Likewise, someone does not need to have virtuoso potential to benefit from music instruction.

I think poor rapport between student and teacher can be an impediment. If a student is not making progress, this should be identified. A teacher with 20 students they think are doorknobs is probably not helping the students regardless of the reason for the breakdown.

I don't think pigeon-holing the student is helpful though. There may be some who can flourish with a different teacher. That may not be the teacher's fault, but those students still deserve a chance to be something more than a doorknob.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3029766 09/28/20 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by malkin
A person may struggle to learn to read, but may excel at math, Is this person's worth less than a person who excels at math?

Someone who sucks at math is most definitely worth less as a mathematician or engineer. Doesn't mean they can't pursue it, but the real world isn't going to be nice about it just because they are trying hard. I've worked with many people who are not suited for their profession of choice, and as a result are indeed treated as lower value employees.

But that's not really the topic here.

While some might see Candywoman's original post as venting and griping, I see it more as someone who cares enough to ask for help. That's fairly commendable, even if I might believe it to be a relatively futile effort.

But most kids taking math have no intention of being a mathematician or engineer. They're taking math because a) it is a requirement and b) it is a useful life skill. Likewise, most kids taking piano have no intention of being a musician. They're taking it because a) their parents see it as a requirement and b) it is a useful life skill. The teacher's job is to impart as much math or music as they can given the child's natural abilities and limitations. The kid will eventually have to figure out on their own what career to pursue, and certainly, the real world will have a say in that. That's not a teacher's problem, especially with a young child whose potential may not yet be known.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
malkin #3029767 09/28/20 01:23 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by malkin
A person may struggle to learn to read, but may excel at math, Is this person's worth less than a person who excels at math?

Someone who sucks at math is most definitely worth less as a mathematician or engineer. Doesn't mean they can't pursue it, but the real world isn't going to be nice about it just because they are trying hard. I've worked with many people who are not suited for their profession of choice, and as a result are indeed treated as lower value employees.

But that's not really the topic here.

While some might see Candywoman's original post as venting and griping, I see it more as someone who cares enough to ask for help. That's fairly commendable, even if I might believe it to be a relatively futile effort.


Clearly, a person who struggles at math is not likely to be a brilliant mathematician, but might turn out to be a fabulous pianist. Is that his only possible redemption? What about being a great philosopher? Or a novelist? Or actor? Or athlete?

Or what if a brilliant mathematician wanted to play piano for fun and an intellectual challenge? Should that person just run over his head with a car if he has little natural aptitude for piano? Or could he not just find a teacher who is game to engage with him in that journey? Obviously not every teacher wants this kind of student, in the same way that every athletic coach does not want to coach special Olympics, but there are coaches for every level, from pee wee, through school age, to high level competition, as well as those who provide skills development to people who just want to improve their performance.

Most of us live in the grey area between black and white.

Most people are not "great" or "brilliant" at anything - if you are, that is a gift. It certainly shouldn't be expected. Most people live relatively simple lives with pretty mundane jobs, interests and experiences, and that isn't a bad thing. The extra-curriculars they did as kids may end up being the highlights of their lives. Successful mathematicians, pianists, philosophers, novelists, actors or athletes who are making a decent living and getting recognition doing those things are the exception. Most people will be lucky to be a bookkeeper, music teacher, copy editor, personal trainer etc using their interest in math, music, writing etc in a way that can keep a roof over their head.

I think it's very damaging when parents expect a kid to be "brilliant" at something - maybe their kid just isn't. Having an interest or even a talent is not the same as being "brilliant." But those interests and talents certainly should be encouraged.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3030427 09/29/20 10:18 PM
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The fundamental problem is the students do not practice either enough or effectively. Many of them are actually talented if not brilliant but they never get anywhere because they don't work at it.

The parents are very encouraging at the lesson but they don't have the kind of relationship with their child that leads to practice at home.

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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3030499 09/30/20 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
The parents are very encouraging at the lesson but they don't have the kind of relationship with their child that leads to practice at home.

I would think it would be helpful if the parents themselves practiced something on a disciplined basis - if not music, then golf, foreign language, anything. Otherwise it's "do as I say, not as I do."

Kids with musical parents surely are affected by seeing them practice.

(Of course I wonder if my kids are affected negatively - Daddy gets up at 0530 to practice, every single day? No way I'm working that hard.)


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
rkzhao #3030725 09/30/20 07:59 PM
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Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by malkin
Clearly, a person who struggles at math is not likely to be a brilliant mathematician, but might turn out to be a fabulous pianist.

You seem to be misunderstanding. The OP isn't talking about Piano students that suck at math. She's talking about piano students that struggle with learning piano....

My understanding is that we are talking about human beings who are only marginally successful or less with learning piano. Perhaps these people excel in another area. Or perhaps not. Are we to discount them based on their lack of achievement in piano only? Perhaps they would be Nobel laureates who just can't work out how to please their piano teacher.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3030798 10/01/20 03:08 AM
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The issue wasn't whether we discount the student. It's what to do with them when all attempts to get them to read notes take forever, one note at a time.

Any Nobel laureate worth his salt will be able to play simple pieces, albeit unmusically. Piano is not rocket science.

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Originally Posted by Candywoman
The issue wasn't whether we discount the student. It's what to do with them when all attempts to get them to read notes take forever, one note at a time.
You know, there are computer games that teach kids to read notes. Maybe learning it in a form of a video game will be more successful?

https://www.teachingideas.co.uk/notation/name-that-note
https://tptmusiccrew.com/five-online-games-to-help-students-learn-music-staff-notes/

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3030883 10/01/20 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
The issue wasn't whether we discount the student. It's what to do with them when all attempts to get them to read notes take forever, one note at a time.

Any Nobel laureate worth his salt will be able to play simple pieces, albeit unmusically. Piano is not rocket science.

If you are working with students with identified special needs, it is likely that members of their school team could be helpful. Try asking the parent to sign a release of information so that the general ed. teacher, the special ed. teacher, the speech-language pathologist, reading specialist or anyone else who knows the kid can share info with you.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
malkin #3030890 10/01/20 08:41 AM
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Originally Posted by malkin
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by malkin
Clearly, a person who struggles at math is not likely to be a brilliant mathematician, but might turn out to be a fabulous pianist.

You seem to be misunderstanding. The OP isn't talking about Piano students that suck at math. She's talking about piano students that struggle with learning piano....

My understanding is that we are talking about human beings who are only marginally successful or less with learning piano. Perhaps these people excel in another area. Or perhaps not. Are we to discount them based on their lack of achievement in piano only? Perhaps they would be Nobel laureates who just can't work out how to please their piano teacher.

It seems highly likely there are people in this category - they may even practice well and just not ever get it. They would probably be better off with a different hobby.

But I don't think this is the category the OP was thinking of. I think a large number of piano students, maybe in the 95 - 99% range, never get to the point of being able to actually play, even something simple like Happy Birthday or a national anthem. They may still be gaining something from the lessons.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3030976 10/01/20 12:49 PM
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Hi Vasiliev, that's a good idea in theory. But essentially it's flash cards. And to me, they don't work. It is just like me pointing to a note on the music and asking, yet again, what note is it?

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
TimR #3030982 10/01/20 12:58 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
I think a large number of piano students, maybe in the 95 - 99% range, never get to the point of being able to actually play, even something simple like Happy Birthday or a national anthem.

Where do you get stats like this?


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
AZNpiano #3030984 10/01/20 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by TimR
I think a large number of piano students, maybe in the 95 - 99% range, never get to the point of being able to actually play, even something simple like Happy Birthday or a national anthem.

Where do you get stats like this?

95 - 99% of stats are made up wink

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3031001 10/01/20 01:47 PM
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If you say 95-99% of the entire population of Earth, maybe that would be more accurate.

If people bother to start the learning process, it would be kind of sad to say that 95% of them failed. This is not the Chinese Civil Service Exam.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3031080 10/01/20 06:15 PM
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I for one have no interest in playing Happy Birthday or any national anthem. I imagine that if I wanted to do so, I could learn either one of them.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
AZNpiano #3031145 10/02/20 12:08 AM
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Nevertheless I think the statistic accurately reflects the number of people who really PLAY the piano, about 1-5%.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
Nevertheless I think the statistic accurately reflects the number of people who really PLAY the piano, about 1-5%.

Of course I made the statistic up, but it does reflect my experience with friends, relatives, and adults who've taken piano lessons, sometimes for years, but can't actually play anything.

I'm not talking about achieving virtuoso technical skills, just basic competence and confidence.

When I was in high school in the 60s, the choirs always had student accompanists, the stage band etc had student piano players. It was just assumed there would always be piano students who could play during rehearsals and concerts. The teacher taught rather than playing. None of those students that I know of went on to musical careers.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3032028 10/04/20 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
The fundamental problem is the students do not practice either enough or effectively. Many of them are actually talented if not brilliant but they never get anywhere because they don't work at it.

The parents are very encouraging at the lesson but they don't have the kind of relationship with their child that leads to practice at home.

When the student has not practiced, you just turn the lesson into a practice session, using it as an opportunity to teach the student how to practice.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3032144 10/04/20 09:26 PM
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How is that different than teaching a lesson, especially with a young person who cannot read notes? All lessons teach children how to practice.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
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If a student cannot read notes, then it is unreasonable to expect them to practice pieces at home. If the student did not accomplish at home whatever it was that was reasonable and expected, then the lesson becomes doing whatever should have been done at home to help them understand how to do it.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
AZNpiano #3032155 10/04/20 10:24 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I think the problem is that one poster tries to connect complainers to their lack of teaching ability.

I'm trying to separate the two issues. The two might not even be remotely correlated. You can be the best teacher in the world, and complain about bad students every single day. Alternatively, you can say nothing (because you think it's bad to complain, whatever), and at the same time you are an ineffective teacher. And there are obviously overlaps in both areas.

Some people believe that a good teacher can reach any student, and that the reason a student fails is the teacher can't teach. I've seen this with my own eyes in my days working in public schools. Teachers are the scapegoats for bad students, horrible parents, and lazy/lame administrators. It's easy to blame the teachers. There are even scientific studies that "prove" that the teacher is the biggest indicator of a child's success in learning. I'm not even sure how the researchers of that study quantified each indicator.

That was true for me. I had a rather unsatisfactory experience with my childhood piano teacher. Had I not switched to classical organ, I would have given up on music. But it was the change of teacher and not the change of instruments that made the difference.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Sweelinck #3032174 10/04/20 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
That was true for me. I had a rather unsatisfactory experience with my childhood piano teacher. Had I not switched to classical organ, I would have given up on music. But it was the change of teacher and not the change of instruments that made the difference.

Okay. Try teaching 160 students a subject that they would rather not learn. These students take the class because they are forced to (English, History, Algebra, Biology, etc.). Maybe 3 kids actually want to learn the subject matter. The other 157 would rather die.

I don't think the teacher makes an ounce of difference. In fact, I have observed some excellent teachers with moving corpses for students. You can't get anything through to the walking dead.

My point in the previous post is that the teacher is the easiest scapegoat. There is one teacher. You can't change 160 students and the 200 parents. So you blame the teacher. Easy!


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3032399 10/05/20 04:51 PM
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Music study is discretionary, not mandatory in the US.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Sweelinck #3032462 10/05/20 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Music study is discretionary, not mandatory in the US.


If a private piano student doesn’t progress, does fault really need to be ascribed to either the student or the teacher? IMHO, a different teacher may have a different approach which better fits the student. It doesn’t mean that either one is to blame.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
dogperson #3032487 10/06/20 12:36 AM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by Sweelinck
Music study is discretionary, not mandatory in the US.


If a private piano student doesn’t progress, does fault really need to be ascribed to either the student or the teacher? IMHO, a different teacher may have a different approach which better fits the student. It doesn’t mean that either one is to blame.
If one or the other is culpable, then it may be useful to understand it, otherwise, no.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
AZNpiano #3032611 10/06/20 10:10 AM
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The turn toward who "is to blame" is a useless one. If something goes wrong, you figure out what, in fact, is going wrong, and what, precisely, needs to be done to fix or prevent it. Furthermore, music studies where there is a student and teacher (and maybe parent) is an interaction, which gives more than three variables if you put this on a Venn diagram.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
keystring #3032800 10/06/20 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
The turn toward who "is to blame" is a useless one. If something goes wrong, you figure out what, in fact, is going wrong, and what, precisely, needs to be done to fix or prevent it.

Useless it may be but here, and I suspect many other countries, the issue for schools has been politicised. The government won’t call out bad parenting so they point to bad teaching- as if a teacher can make up for an unsupportive home environment.

Music teaching is of course not a hot political issue but the same thinking carries over. Many parents won’t take responsibility for home practice for children. It’s anecdotal but several teachers have told me the drop out rate by grade 2 (around the first 2 - 3 years) is close to 90%.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
terentius #3032821 10/06/20 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by terentius
It’s anecdotal but several teachers have told me the drop out rate by grade 2 (around the first 2 - 3 years) is close to 90%.

It's not quite that bad. A lot of kids quit within 4 months because they are simply not interested at all, and neither are their parents. They are just testing the waters. However, if they stick it out past that, they'll last probably around 4 years.

Several years ago, on of the PW teachers who has since passed away (John) wrote that many kids quit at the juncture years, such as 5th-6th grade and 9th-10th grade. It's like when they are ready to move on to middle school or high school, they are allowed to drop one activity.


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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
AZNpiano #3033080 10/07/20 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by terentius
It’s anecdotal but several teachers have told me the drop out rate by grade 2 (around the first 2 - 3 years) is close to 90%.

It's not quite that bad. A lot of kids quit within 4 months because they are simply not interested at all, and neither are their parents. They are just testing the waters. However, if they stick it out past that, they'll last probably around 4 years.

Several years ago, on of the PW teachers who has since passed away (John) wrote that many kids quit at the juncture years, such as 5th-6th grade and 9th-10th grade. It's like when they are ready to move on to middle school or high school, they are allowed to drop one activity.
I lasted about 4 years of organ lessons from 6 years of age to 10. Although I learned how to read the notes I had yet fully grasped the idea of subdividing and often played by ear and my internal sense of rhythm. My first teacher loved that I could play well by ear and that I had good hand/eye/foot coordination and she reassured my father that what I was doing was okay and there was time to fix any of these deficiencies. She kept telling my parents that I was talented. Every lesson from her was followed by a big hug and lots of smiles.

Unfortunately teacher #1 retired and when teacher #2 came into the picture he nearly destroyed my love for music but clearly destroyed any desire to continue music lessons. He was this geeky pencil neck teacher with thick rim glasses working at a Lowry Organ Shop in a mall who immediately was exasperated by what I was not able to do at 10 years of age versus what I was capable of doing. You could see he was immediately frustrated and though he tried to correct my playing by writing things out and talking about theory his approach was so off putting even to a 10 year old that I told my parents in tears that I wanted to stop lessons. I could understand how some may have viewed some of my weaknesses in subdividing needed a lot of work, but when you are working with a 10 year old who was clearly motivated to learn and who loved to play music you have to show patience and understanding. I don't have much patience with any teacher who show a lack of understanding for young children these days.

What happened years after that was I continued to play the organ and piano and decided to teach myself. For years I was convinced that I would never understand the concept of subdividing until a teacher came along and showed me how easy it was and took the time to explain it to me. From there I played the 1st clarinetist in the high school concert band and continued with piano lessons for adult learners at conservatories and continue with adult lessons today. (As an aside, I happened to be speaking with pianist Ian Hobson yesterday and he told me he also learned the organ as a 4 year old playing strictly by ear and like me also liked to arrange music we heard on the radio- so I feel good that I wasn't in bad company)

Those first 4 years with an enthusiastic caring music teacher was critical to me continuing to love music and to continue to learn the piano. So although students may only make it only to the first 4 years does not mean that a well meaning teacher had failed that student. Good teachers plant seeds that can grow a lifetime. Bad teachers are the worse thing that a young student can come across because they are so clouded in believing this perception of the train wreck student when the true train wreck was only themselves.

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Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3035829 10/15/20 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Candywoman
I find very few of my students actually ever "Play" the piano, in the sense that they get somewhere and feel like they're in command of the piano, and can find their way around a piano, and can improvise.

If my piano studio was compared to flight instruction, I'd say very few ever get off the ground, despite my best efforts at teaching. It's like they're stuck in ground school. If they do take off, there is no safe landing and no fuel to continue.

If I let go of fingering as a principle, I'm sure more of them could play around on the piano. But atrocious fingering would be the result, and impossible to correct in my opinion.

So I continue to plod away with them. I try teaching intervallic reading, explaining that thirds are from space to space. I try comparing the starting note to a note they have encountered in a beloved piece. I try describing left hand b as being above the staff, like a boat on water. I try to get them to circle all g's on the treble clef. Whatever I try, it takes them forever to learn to read music. How many times do they need to see a c below middle c? I show them the piece Two New C's long after they've learned it. I say all cows eat grass for the bass clef spaces.

To me, they seem as dense as doorknobs. When they leave the studio, I often comment to myself, "dense as doorknobs."

They have no curiosity, nor ability to start a piece on their own.

Any suggestions?

I'm an adult student of less than two years, so please bear that in mind. I also apologize for getting wordy.

Some things that helped me is simple repetition, and exposure to more music. Mnemonics are awful, intervals are awesome, but take a bit of time to seep in and stick, so to speak.

My teacher had me start on chords (Alfred's books occupied much of my first year) and told me to go home and practice these chord patterns 100 times (everything is 100 times). I'd audibly say the notes while I play them. C-E-G. After doing that enough times, it reinforced exactly where C, E, and G were on the bass and treble staff lines and where they were on the piano, to the point that they're my automatic reference point when looking at music.

Learning more songs outside of the basic fragments and simple songs got me more exposure to the notes above and below the C-E-G chord that I'd played an absurd number of times.

Originally Posted by Candywoman
The fundamental problem is the students do not practice either enough or effectively. Many of them are actually talented if not brilliant but they never get anywhere because they don't work at it.

The parents are very encouraging at the lesson but they don't have the kind of relationship with their child that leads to practice at home.

Not practicing at all is a problem that doesn't need explanation. Maybe the kid hates it and their parents are forcing them to play? Not much to do there but soldier on, I guess. Other than that, perhaps frame it differently like fifteen minutes minimum, try to keep it at the same time each day, and try to go for more bonus time on top of that. The prospect of an hour might seem daunting, but fifteen minutes is much more digestible and odds are they're likely to keep going once getting into it. It could also be the songs and music type that they're learning. Maybe they're learning classical and have no interest in it? Could try including more modern music arrangements alongside the normal stuff.

How often do you focus on teaching students how to practice? How to analyze their playing throughout the week and adjust accordingly? I'd also recommend including them in the discussion of the music and their practice sessions beyond just a general "How'd your week go" or "How was practice?", but probe a little bit more and get them to self-analyze how they did and where they had difficulties. That might carry over to home and spring to mind when they're not around your influence.

Last week I was on vacation and even though I spent it at home, I was not too terribly interested in practicing day to day. I've video games to play (Control), books to read (I'm eight behind for the year!), and a messy apartment to clean. So what I would do would be to do my techniques, then do my various songs I was playing through five times each, then I was home free. I was aware of the problem sections, where I'd either trip up on the notes, or needed some more time to focus on a transition or something, but mostly ignored that. The sections that I had down I played as much as those I didn't.

This week, I've been trying to correct from that. Techniques and whatnot, then go into each song once through, or maybe twice through, once slow then once at speed. As I played I saw the same issues as the previous week. My teacher discussed some of them with me during our lesson noting some things. Then ignore the sections that I had down, and slow practice the areas I had problems with. One section I played through fifty times, a few others twenty times. Then once more all the way through. The difference between beginning of the week and mid-week has been dramatic.

Hopefully that helps! Good luck.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3036848 10/18/20 01:09 AM
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Thanks, but Blague, adult students learn very differently to children. They also do not have the vantage point of a piano teacher with twenty five years experience teaching.

Very few children dislike piano lessons or are forced to take piano by their parents. This is a common misconception. Rather, what they dislike is working at it at home when other alluring things take their fancy, such as video games.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
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I took music lessons years ago. In my younger days the Internet wasn't available and coming from a non-musical family I didn't know where I would be heading and had no expectation of achieving a certain level. The only info I got was from my music teacher.

The 1 thing that stopped me from continuing lessons after 4 years was money. In my younger days my parents paid for the lessons and they got frustrated the kids weren't getting anywhere. Many kids are in the same situation. The parents pay for the music education and they don't want money wasted. When parents don't see results, they would stop the lessons.

I know 1 kid (friend of the family) who was enrolled in the Yamaha music program 2 years ago. His mother went with him to the lessons and learned alongside her son as a requirment so she could coach him at home. After a year the boy's parents said forget it. The mother was spending more time practicing at home and the kid wasn't getting very far.

When we get older, we pay for our own lessons. Some of the students that are enrolled with my piano teacher are retired in their 60s & 70s. Older people want to engage in activities to keep their mind sharp. Some seem to take a leisurely approach to learning. They're not learning pieces like they are preparing for an upcoming recital or conservatory exam. Some would work on an easy song for a month or longer.

I belong to a music group and would pick up unfamiliar music all the time. I tend to be very time conscious even when I'm not practicing a piece for a performance. I'd be pushing myself to finish an intermediate level piece in 2 - 3 weeks at most. I'd download a new piece off the Internet occasionally.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
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Candywoman; I hear your frustration.

I believe that "playing the piano" and learning to read music should be considered as two entirely different learned skills. Learning to Improvise should be the first priority followed later by note reading training. Tapping into a students innate playfulness and freedom should be lesson one. Improvisation should not be thought of as a facility gained only after years of formal training.

Improvising can be as simple as holding a couple of left hand triad chords while the right hand doodles an arpeggio of random notes. For a beginner to hear themselves playing just that can be very rewarding and motivating.

The goal should always be to give a student the gift of being able to play alone to entertain themselves for a lifetime; never prioritize the notion of being a concert pianist.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
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The problem with your method, Will, is that parents are paying for the lessons. You can't have students do much doodling during the lesson because you cannot maintain discipline during the lesson. You need to give specific instructions towards a goal. Even when I teach things like a Blues progression, they don't try the same thing at home later. In fact, with your method, the parent would not know whether they were progressing, and you wouldn't be on the road to the recital either (if that was relevant).

I keep my students for a long time, but that isn't the point here. And the notion of concert pianist wasn't mentioned in my posts. I couldn't even be a concert pianist.

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Originally Posted by Candywoman
I find very few of my students actually ever "Play" the piano, in the sense that they get somewhere and feel like they're in command of the piano, and can find their way around a piano, and can improvise.

....

Any suggestions?
I am not a piano teacher, this job seems one of the top difficult jobs to do it well.
But I think a good piano teacher should:

-understand his/her interests about the music.
-keep his/her interests about the music.
-understand what he/she can understand and what he/she cannot understand (feeling is important).
-just guide his/her attention, explore what he/she can do the best,
-what is his/her bottleneck, doing little thing at some point to get great improvements.

the foundation is the interests of the music, but it is not always possible.

If the above doesn't happen then ask him/her play Hanon, Czerny, piano scales intensively. And it may looks like a boring pilot training center.

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
zonzi #3049591 15 hours ago
Joined: Jul 2020
Posts: 93
Z
Full Member
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Z
Joined: Jul 2020
Posts: 93
Originally Posted by zonzi
...

If the above doesn't happen then ask him/her play Hanon, Czerny, piano scales intensively. And it may looks like a boring pilot training center.
In this case, the bellow should be the teaching objective:


100 Most Difficult Piano Pieces
http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthre...-difficult-piano-pieces.html#Post3023427

Re: If piano teaching were compared to flight instruction
Candywoman #3049860 2 hours ago
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,149
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 18,149
The last makes even less sense than the first. Actually, it makes no sense at all.

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