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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037106 10/18/20 05:20 PM
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If you are moving on from a piece in only 2 weeks then I think it is reasonable to ask why. My problem was normally the opposite when my teacher wanted to keep going and it was me that wanted to move on. There has been many times he has said that's enough for now and I've moved on when I've done what I can. Some problems if you can't do it with practice it may be best to move on. You need to be able to trust your teachers judgement. I think ti question them why if it's very quick is reasonable.

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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
Moo :) #3037110 10/18/20 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Moo :)
I tend to find some people who want new teachers and keep changing it's because they are frustrated with slow progress and want to play complex pieces and feel that it's the teachers fault for not reaching properly.

You realize the title of this thread means I'm frequently feeling indecisive about staying with my current teacher, not that I'm 'teacher hopping' and unhappy with multiple teachers, right?

The first teacher barely counted...she was a blip on the radar. This lady I've already been working with for over 2 years, and I haven't made a change yet. I'm just talking this through.

I'm not trying to play anything complex. Burgmuller Op. 100, easier SWW, Heller Etudes, Bach Inventions, some easy Scarlatti. Lately some the Schytte etudes, which are challenging for me.

Tell me this (anyone): what percentage of the pieces that you work on in your lessons do you feel proud of when you move on? You really feel like you did a good job...you're satisfied that your tempo is acceptable (for your current level) and you're playing with good musicality? Maybe my expectations are too high.


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037113 10/18/20 05:59 PM
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I have spoken to several pianists who go though many teachers. I think often it is them and not the teachers than need to adapt.

I don't know how often this happens where it really is the student/learner and not either the teacher *or* a bad fit between teacher and student.

In my case, with the exception of my second teacher (who we both agreed I had grown out of), all of my teacher-changes were because either I moved or the teacher did (well, except for the second to last teacher that I wrote about in a previous post here, she retired). But my point is, I have changed teachers a fair amount (in terms of number of teachers, though not in terms of years of lessons with any one teacher, I have been playing for a very long time now, after all), but I have definitely not been "teacher hopping" and in fact, have obviously stayed with a teacher when I shouldn't have (because as I said earlier, I decided a teacher who was a bad fit for me was still better than no teacher).

Anyway, when we're talking about adults, I think approaches to teaching need to be more varied, and the issue of fit may be more relevant, so I'm not certain I want to conclude that "usually it's the student and not the teacher" ...


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037114 10/18/20 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
Originally Posted by Lakeviewsteve
Bi-weekly lessons are really a turn off and warning sign to me. If I was still teaching I wouldn’t allow it unless the student were quite advanced and I felt a real connection with them in terms of their technical ability, their motivation level, and are we both getting out of it what we want.

I don't think you're alone. When I was first shopping in my area a few years back, just about every teacher stated on their website (or in response to emails) that they only did weekly lessons. Can you explain why it's a red flag for you?

If I were a teacher ( I am not ), I would discourage bi-weekly lessons also.


Why ?

Because now I have to find someone to fill those alternate weeks in between a new student's bi-weekly lessons in order to maximize my income.

What I would do is tell the student that I will make a note that he/she would like bi-weekly lessons and if someone else comes along to fill out the other weeks .... fine.

OR .... I might take the student with the understanding that if some other student comes along for weekly lessons I will take that student and be "forced" to drop the bi-weekly student.

Teaching is a business.

Now, there may be pedagogical reasons for discouraging bi-weekly lessons but the business reasons are valid also.

Last edited by dmd; 10/18/20 06:09 PM.

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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037116 10/18/20 06:08 PM
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Tell me this (anyone): what percentage of the pieces that you work on in your lessons do you feel proud of when you move on? You really feel like you did a good job...you're satisfied that your tempo is acceptable (for your current level) and you're playing with good musicality? Maybe my expectations are too high.

So, in my case, I am very clear about my goals with different pieces I work on. If it's what I consider a "repertoire" piece, then I either have a goal of recording it (i.e., get the piece to performance level) or a goal of actually performing it (pre-covid) or playing with my violin-friend (also pre-covid). In other words, all of those pieces I expect to be playing musically and at tempo before I consider them "finished." The only times I've given up before getting the piece to that point is when I've decided something is really just out of my league (something that happened more often when I was without a teacher).

But for music I use for sightreading practice, or [b]reading[/] practice, I don't work on the pieces for very long (and I think this is analogous to years ago when I would play through exercises and method books). Right now I'm playing through the Music for Millions series and the goal is just to play through as many pieces as I can. Also, they are all pretty far below my level, though of course some have challenges. With these pieces, though, I don't generally care if I get them up to an appropriate tempo, I generally only spend a week on any single page of music.

So, back to your question: are you perhaps treating all of your pieces like repertoire pieces? Whereas, is it possible your teacher wants you to get exposure to a lot of pieces and doesn't see those pieces as repertoire pieces?

Could some of your pieces be more "exercise" oriented? And could you also perhaps convince your teacher to work more with you on the pieces you want to be "repertoire" pieces?


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
ShiroKuro #3037118 10/18/20 06:15 PM
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Love reading your responses Shirukuro. My teacher of 7 years loves Bach too. We started working on the inventions a couple of years ago..I was not a Fan then, but now see the value and we are doing some Sinofinas, but we are heading back to 2 part inventions that were deemed challenging backing then. Love einaudi too.

I started with weekly lesson from 30 mins moving to 1 hour. With the pandemic and realistically, so much of admin, we moved to bi-weekly, and this suites me so much better. Sometimes the lessons is more chat on crazies going on in our world. I have had only 1 teacher, but if I my gut wasn’t happy then I would have looked for another teacher.
My teacher has masters in music, plays so many sting instruments, and performs a lot of love jazz. He is seeped with knowledge and I like his approach to adult teaching. I wasn’t looking for a slap on my hand and rigid disciplinary approach. He is getting me mentally ready to sit for the performance grade exams by taking me through ugh a mock experience with an old paper. He looks at multiple different ways to teach a concept, if one approach doesn’t work for me. Being flexible is key too, as each lesson can’t be perfect every time. We are all human. Progress is better reflected over a quarterly basis or even over 1 year. Nothing progresses linearly.

It comes down to what are you looking for, your style of learning [critical], and trusting yourself. Believe me, if you are getting frustrated then it will only build up to a negative experience. Practicing the piano should always have an element of fun, even though the work is challenging at times.


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
dmd #3037121 10/18/20 06:31 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd
If I were a teacher ( I am not ), I would discourage bi-weekly lessons also.

Why ?

Because now I have to find someone to fill those alternate weeks in between a new student's bi-weekly lessons in order to maximize my income.

I totally get that. But to say it's a red flag implies that it's not the business reasons. I suspect some teachers may think this is a sign that the student is not serious and/or not willing to put in the necessary practice time in between lessons. That is not a fair judgment in my opinion, and certainly not true in my case.


I ❤️ Mendelssohn, Yann Tiersen, Heller
Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037124 10/18/20 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
Originally Posted by dmd
If I were a teacher ( I am not ), I would discourage bi-weekly lessons also.

Why ?

Because now I have to find someone to fill those alternate weeks in between a new student's bi-weekly lessons in order to maximize my income.

I totally get that. But to say it's a red flag implies that it's not the business reasons. I suspect some teachers may think this is a sign that the student is not serious and/or not willing to put in the necessary practice time in between lessons. That is not a fair judgment in my opinion, and certainly not true in my case.

JB
If you decide to look for a new teacher, just explain your work schedule when asking for bi-weekly lessons. Twelve hour shifts are physically and emotionally draining. Unless you are Superman, it is impossible to work in effective practice during the 12-hour days


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
ShiroKuro #3037125 10/18/20 06:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
So, back to your question: are you perhaps treating all of your pieces like repertoire pieces? Whereas, is it possible your teacher wants you to get exposure to a lot of pieces and doesn't see those pieces as repertoire pieces?

Could some of your pieces be more "exercise" oriented? And could you also perhaps convince your teacher to work more with you on the pieces you want to be "repertoire" pieces?

We've never even discussed reading or sightreading practice. I've only been doing one technical exercise in lessons, from a book of arpeggio studies. She's usually satisfied with my progress in 2 weeks time and always wants me to move on to the next one. She's never concerned with the tempo, even though I haven't gotten a single one up to half tempo yet. I guess for arpeggios she just wants me to get the form right.

The last Bach Invention I only worked on for 2 weeks; it was also barely at half tempo. She said it was good enough and that I didn't need to keep working on it. crazy

So yes, I guess I am looking at them as repertoire. I'm doing mostly etudes, but there's a lot to work with there...I want to play them very musically, and it's frustrating when I've just got the notes down and not really done much else with it and she's ready to write it off.

It's possible the fact that I've just started recording recently is adding to my frustration. I'm hearing so many things that I think are wrong, or could be better...and I wonder, why didn't she mention these things? I suppose it could have sounded different on her piano, but not THAT different. Usually I'm still a bit nervous when I play for her, so I think it must even sound a bit worse than at home.


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
Pianoperformance #3037127 10/18/20 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Pianoperformance
I have had only 1 teacher, but if I my gut wasn’t happy then I would have looked for another teacher.

It comes down to what are you looking for, your style of learning [critical], and trusting yourself. Believe me, if you are getting frustrated then it will only build up to a negative experience. Practicing the piano should always have an element of fun, even though the work is challenging at times.

Thanks for your comment. My gut hasn't been happy for a year. But I'm trying to take everyone's thoughts to heart here. It's forcing me to think about how I may have contributed to this situation. Even if I ultimately decide to move on I want the next experience to be better, so I will need to carefully think about how I approach it.


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037128 10/18/20 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
Tell me this (anyone): what percentage of the pieces that you work on in your lessons do you feel proud of when you move on? You really feel like you did a good job...you're satisfied that your tempo is acceptable (for your current level) and you're playing with good musicality? Maybe my expectations are too high.

I'm an older adult, advanced beginner. I estimate 60% of the pieces attempted become repertoire which I can perform in recital and feel good, even when there are piano teachers and snotty gifted kids in the audience who are really advanced. There is a goal, to reach a point on your piece when you can musically stand your ground. Of course technique is inseparable from that. The rest, 40% that I cannot play well enough, are set aside for later.

After reading your posts, and your other thread about reaching a fast tempo, I would suggest you try another teacher and go for weekly lessons. Like others, I don't like to tell others to change teachers. But I'll stick my neck out in this case. Sooner or later you will need a different teacher anyway.

Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037132 10/18/20 06:59 PM
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Among the many things that have come up in this thread, this one jumps out: you probably need to spend more than two week on Bach Inventions...


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037133 10/18/20 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
So, back to your question: are you perhaps treating all of your pieces like repertoire pieces? Whereas, is it possible your teacher wants you to get exposure to a lot of pieces and doesn't see those pieces as repertoire pieces?

Could some of your pieces be more "exercise" oriented? And could you also perhaps convince your teacher to work more with you on the pieces you want to be "repertoire" pieces?

We've never even discussed reading or sightreading practice. I've only been doing one technical exercise in lessons, from a book of arpeggio studies. She's usually satisfied with my progress in 2 weeks time and always wants me to move on to the next one. She's never concerned with the tempo, even though I haven't gotten a single one up to half tempo yet. I guess for arpeggios she just wants me to get the form right.

The last Bach Invention I only worked on for 2 weeks; it was also barely at half tempo. She said it was good enough and that I didn't need to keep working on it. crazy

So yes, I guess I am looking at them as repertoire. I'm doing mostly etudes, but there's a lot to work with there...I want to play them very musically, and it's frustrating when I've just got the notes down and not really done much else with it and she's ready to write it off.

It's possible the fact that I've just started recording recently is adding to my frustration. I'm hearing so many things that I think are wrong, or could be better...and I wonder, why didn't she mention these things? I suppose it could have sounded different on her piano, but not THAT different. Usually I'm still a bit nervous when I play for her, so I think it must even sound a bit worse than at home.

Well, it does seem that you need to sit down with your teacher and discuss these concerns.

Hopefully, you will find that she has solid reasoning behind her approach and that you may need to "lighten up" a bit and accept her expertise in this.


Don

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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
ShiroKuro #3037134 10/18/20 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Among the many things that have come up in this thread, this one jumps out: you probably need to spend more than two week on Bach Inventions...

Why ?


Don

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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
wszxbcl #3037137 10/18/20 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by ShiroKuro
Among the many things that have come up in this thread, this one jumps out: you probably need to spend more than two week on Bach Inventions...

Right? I was shocked. Usually I spend at least 6 weeks on them, and there's still a lot of work to be done. Maybe she didn't want me to work on it just for the sake of speed, but it's hard to feel good about dropping it when I've only reached half tempo.

Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Sooner or later you will need a different teacher anyway.

Really? Is that common for adults who are mainly playing for fun? I would love to find someone I just click with and not feel the need to look any further.


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037141 10/18/20 07:11 PM
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If you have had lessons only a short time so these pieces may be stretch pieces. I was playing grade 2 pieces after 2 years so it appears to be quite good progress. I would not expect too much on only 2 years lessons. It may be too high expectations. Nothing in mendelssohn songs without words is easy so most of the pieces you describe are grade 4-5.

I think if you wish to try an online teacher go ahead but I personally have done many years face to face with several teachers and currently online so I'm not sure it's a great idea. I was just giving the alternative perspective as everyone here always says change teacher. if someone tells me they have had 5 teachers and still can't find the right one then it's them and not the piano teacher. Too high expectations is not solvable by a change in teacher so just a warning.

Your teacher sounds great with positive feedback and I'm not getting what the issue is to be honest. If you want structure maybe follow the abrsm and have an online exam to get external feedback. Good luck.

Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
dmd #3037142 10/18/20 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dmd
Hopefully, you will find that she has solid reasoning behind her approach and that you may need to "lighten up" a bit and accept her expertise in this.

Hah! I cannot count the number of times the term "lighten up" has been thrown my way, starting with the "award" I received at the end of the year from my 5th grade teacher. smile Point taken. I really want to play well and I am often impatient.


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037146 10/18/20 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by JB_PW
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Sooner or later you will need a different teacher anyway.

Really? Is that common for adults who are mainly playing for fun? I would love to find someone I just click with and not feel the need to look any further.

I started in my 50's so I can only play for fun. But I want to advance. Didn't you say your teacher mainly works with beginners? So if you want to advance...

Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
Moo :) #3037149 10/18/20 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by wszxbcl
Didn't you say your teacher mainly works with beginners? So if you want to advance...

No, I'm her only adult student who is not a beginner. She has several (amazing) teenage girls who are much better than me. I think they are all on the exam course, which is MTAC (I think) here in Oregon.


Originally Posted by Moo :)
Your teacher sounds great with positive feedback and I'm not getting what the issue is to be honest.

Sigh. I knew this might be hard to explain. I appreciate positive feedback of course. But when you get lots of it, on a regular basis, often when you KNOW you didn't just play that well...it loses its meaning and just starts to make you feel silly. Maybe that's just me though.


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Re: Frequent indecision about teacher
JB_PW #3037153 10/18/20 07:33 PM
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JB
No, it’s not just you about the praise amount— I’m the same way. I’d rather have LOTS of constructive criticism, sprinkled with only a smidgeon if praise. Then I know the praise is sincere and well-earned.


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"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
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