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Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3038480 10/23/20 01:18 AM
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I too like the smaller chunk approach. 4 measure segment is the right amount for my beginner kid and my intermediate kid would me on 2-4 measures at a time.

In order to develop good rhythm in piano playing, one needs to develop an internal sense. Counting aloud helps. Tapping with a free hand or a foot works also. A metronome to me is for pacing, and that too is just a gauge be used quite temporarily.

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Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3038499 10/23/20 03:47 AM
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Originally Posted by meghdad
Since I started practicing it, I had always sort of "hinderance" when I reached half way through the fifth measure since I had to make my both hands close to each in order to play those notes. Now, in my latest round of practice (which I have upped the tempo to 90 bpm), I found that if I move my elbows closer to my body so my forearms get closer as well, then I could play that part a bit easier and more legato.

Is that some kind of "technique" that I should remember for such cases? If so, am I right to think that the teacher is supposed to point it out, or is it something that should come "naturally"?

At that place, your hands get closer to each other, so it is natural that your forearms and thus elbows come closer to the body. You should let your arms move naturally and freely as needs be to create a minimal amount of tension. Any teacher must correct you if your position gets flat out incorrect. Proper hand, arm and body position is part of learning to play. But some are more strict than others on that topic. There is some latitude as to what is really incorrect vs a personal adjustment due to your specific body configuration. If you look at some top pianists, like Gould, he has a pretty unconventional seating position, which obviously does not prevent him from being a top pianist. Obviously there are recommended positions, but everybody is physically different, so you will see that pianists seat closer or further from the piano, higher or lower, depending on their size, arm lenght and thus would have different proximity of elbows to their body for the same piece of music. You should not be too much concerned by that, as long as you seat at a comfortable distance and height, the rest is just a matter of finding a relaxed natural, tension free (as much as is possible) position. But typically that is something you can and should discuss with your teacher.

Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
bennevis #3038506 10/23/20 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
[quote=Snowstorm]
With the OP, who hopefully is a mature adult, the strategy of working on 4 measures at a time should work.
With this specific piece, the teacher partitioned it into A-B-A and Coda parts and asked me to memorize each part. And to be fair it worked pretty well after I got to truly work on it and I'm grateful of him for that.

What I'm saying is that I think it's easier for me at least, to memorize and learn phrase by phrase if they are not too long (relative to me) or else as you said partition each phrase into 4 measures or so.

Originally Posted by bennevis
That's because you never learnt to internalize the sense of a regular beat by counting aloud with every piece you learn, until you become so familiar with the 'regular beat' that you don't need to count aloud anymore.

Relying on an external source of regular beat to keep in time means that you never develop it yourself.

Watch this famous song, which is all about a rock-steady regular beat:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tJYN-eG1zk

When they perform in front of thousands (of non-musicians), they expect everyone to clap in time........with no metronome to help.

Tell you what, when I count it becomes harder for me to keep track of the "rhythm" because it adds to the amount of things I need to do at once. Also at this stage, I can easily "hear" the rhythm in my head without a metronome or counting aloud.

As I said earlier, it's the BPM, the tempo, the pacing that I might mess up by speeding up and down depending on the tempo. I do however, tap with my left foot if it helps.

@Sidokar:
Thank you again. I'll keep that in mind during my next practice session.

Last edited by meghdad; 10/23/20 04:55 AM.
Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3038595 10/23/20 11:09 AM
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Just for you to compare, I started piano as an adult, and my teacher did not do my fingering either. The fingering is marked on the sheet music. If I have trouble then she might suggestion an alternate fingering. I also tense up and mess up when playing for the teacher. That's fairly common. An experienced teacher can somehow tell the difference between nerves/accident and things that need to be addressed. And they can tell if you've practiced :-) My teacher didn't have me play with metronome. My first year I was practicing 5-6 hours a day (with many breaks in between), everyday. But I'm much older than you so I have the time.

I think at 5 months, when pieces are not too hard, you might want to check that you are able to play with your eyes on the sheet music. You can glance at your hands once in a while, but you play what you see on the page. Maybe you already do that, just double check. I had a duet partner who got very far just memorizing the positions on the keyboard and later it was hard for her to read music well.

Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3038842 10/24/20 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by meghdad
2. Worse still, last session he "corrected" the fingering for the first 3 bars, because "he felt easier playing such" and left the rest untouched. At home, I practiced according to the original notation and I didn't find it difficult to be honest. In the class, I "followed the book's notation".

It is frustrating for teachers when students don't follow instructions.


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Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3038873 10/24/20 10:23 AM
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Long time ago I had a teacher that changed the fingering after a couple of lessons too. I was hey I'm playing the right notes but the teacher had a reason. In the next piece he assigned I had to do thumb under twice going up and then three times going back down. So he actually had a reason to do what he was doing. Sometimes teachers do this and you just have to follow there lead. Sure you can ask questions but since you are really a beginner try to do what the teacher asks and don't try to take it so personally IMO. I wish I could remember the pieces but that was decades ago. They were probably some Sonatinas at the intermediate level. I don't play much classical music now.

peace


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3039216 10/25/20 11:59 AM
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Hi Meghdad,

Interesting post, as I experienced something quite similar with my teacher, but had an open conversation about it.

Similarly to you, I started this summer, with first a simple and old keyboard, and an app. As my daughter (8 years old) wanted to start too, we got a Kawai CN29 mid august and hired the same teacher mid September. Similar to you, I had 5 30 minutes classes (one per week).

The classes were a bit strange at first. After seeing where I was in music theory (I studies trumpet when I was a child and guitar when I was 20), the teacher (masked and far away, covid style) showed me an exercise to strengthen my small fingers, I discovered 4 weeks later that it's actually Hannon n°1. At the second class he gave me a set of Arpeggio variations on C, F, D, G. 3rd class, he told me I was too careful about not making mistakes and I received Pink Panther to play... I got quite confused with this piece, felt it was way over my skills, had not had any "position" technique beforehand. I also did not understand why we were not working on small and gradual improvement with simple things like he was giving my daughter.

So on class 5, I told him I felt lost about where we were, what were his expectations about my learning and where we were going...

His answer was actually quite simple:

1. As an adult learner, who has learned music before and did play by myself, he has absolutely no idea about where I am and what are my ambitions. It's actually easy for a teacher to take a child that knows nothing and teach him linearly.

2. He has seen many adults pass, and he notices they do not stay that long. So his purpose is to give elements for me to enjoy or train if I have a couple of minutes (ie, the arpeggios and Hannon 1), and to leave we with something that can serve, even if I do only 2 years of piano. And some pieces that I can go as deeply as I want...

3. He told me that the fastest learners amongst his students are the ones that go out and try something they saw in a book or internet. As a teacher to an adult, he does not expect me to take what he gives, only what he gives and to improve linearly.

4. He told me some pieces we would perfect till the end, others we would not and take what we had learned from there.

5. (And here it may differ from your teacher) He told me that even if I was making a ton of errors on Pink Panther, he could see where I was improving... And gave the Baby Elephant Walk (from Hatari), which I have deciphering over the last few days.

I think it's actually very difficult for a teacher to help adults over 30 minutes a week. And a relationship needs to unfold over time... It's even more difficult if we need to wear masks and cannot sit side by side at the piano.

So maybe you can ask him where he stands, and tell him more about you... Start weaving a relationship that will help you learn. Or find another teacher, or learn alone. And enjoy it!

Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3039244 10/25/20 02:05 PM
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You comment that teachers would have a problem teaching adults 30 min per week is not widely held here—- teachers generally want more than 30 min for an adult.

Are you happy with his assertion that adults generally stay only two years? That may be true, but I want a teacher to assume I am in it for the long haul and not skip the skills they would teach a younger student. Each of us is different so think about what you want.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
dogperson #3039251 10/25/20 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Xlider
You comment that teachers would have a problem teaching adults 30 min per week is not widely held here—- teachers generally want more than 30 min for an adult.

I would tend to agree that more than 30 minutes might be nicer. Here it is as part of a music school program, where all teachers are giving 30 mins a week. Commitment is for 1 year. I intend to try for a year and see after...

Originally Posted by dogperson
Are you happy with his assertion that adults generally stay only two years? That may be true, but I want a teacher to assume I am in it for the long haul and not skip the skills they would teach a younger student. Each of us is different so think about what you want.

I don't know yet what to take out of what he said. I think the teacher had a lot of people stopping because of covid-related moves (we live close by a university city, where students did not all come back in September. I actually like his approach, which is to say that he wants to bring learning and usefulness either if I am in for the long haul or for the short haul... Will see how it unfolds over the next few months.

Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3047214 11/18/20 01:46 PM
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Just for future reader references having same issue, I finally bitten the bullet and decided to change not just the teacher, but the whole school.

I managed to deliver regarding the previously mentioned piece, one week after posting this thread and he was satisfied however I was not. Which led me to start talking to him seriously for the first time, to find answers to some of the questions mentioned in this thread.

His overall viewpoint can be summarized as "You can learn the piano on your own and you won't need a teacher especially during the early to intermediate stage of learning. However motivation and discipline are the two main reasons for taking a piano class."

Feeling unsure of his point of view, I arranged a meeting with a music school that I knew from a friend. Long story short, the experience was very different from the other teachers I had talked in the piano school. It was so different that convinced me to register for a one month course, or possibly two months. He was surprised to hear that I was being taught new pieces using just recorded videos of the teacher and nothing else whatsoever.

I'll share my experience with the new school to have a fair objective view from outside.

Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3047955 11/21/20 10:38 AM
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@meghdad: Well done!

What struck me as odd in this thread is comments in the line of "stick with the teacher" or be less critical. Taking lessons as an adult can also be a bit of humbling experience learning again and taking honest feedback from the teacher.

However my suggestion for all learners ever having doubts: You're doing this for your personal enjoyment. The goal is not Liszt, the goal is to have fun learning piano. If your teacher fails to contribute to that goal, taking away your enjoyment, that teacher is not a good match for you.

(If your true goal is Liszt, military style piano bootcamp with mandatory 10h daily practice routines, including arpeggios till exhaustion and a seasoned piano drill instructor might be best to achieve that goal)

@meghdad, all the best and good luck with the new teacher :-)

Last edited by rmnd; 11/21/20 10:38 AM.
Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3047980 11/21/20 11:38 AM
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@meghdad, I will give you thumbs-up for getting what you want in a teacher. Most beginners don't have an idea what they need/want. Good luck and let us know how it goes.

Peace


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3047989 11/21/20 12:04 PM
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Hi, good move and let us know how it works out for you. Good luck to you.

Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3048141 11/22/20 01:13 AM
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You pay for the teacher so you should be able to make suggestions from day 1 what you hope to achieve and where you should start. The teacher should continue with the beginner pieces until you are at a comfortable level. It's OK for a teacher to introduce a challenging piece as long as he/she has no expectation you will be able to play it in 2 weeks... more like 6 months later and continue with the pieces you're working on.

My teacher recently assigned the arrangement of a piece by Rimsky-Korsakov. We started off below tempo to get all the notes. There is no expectation for any of her students to play the whole piece in 2 lessons. Slow practice is something many of us would do. Many teachers favor slow practice but not all.

There are certain things you need to learn first including the correct notes, articulation (legato / staccato), dynamics & foot pedaling. These are the things that if you practice wrong, it'd be time consuming to correct later. The last piece I worked on I started at about 80bpm and after 2 weeks of practice got it up to 110. In the beginning my focus was getting all the notes than speed.

Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3048452 11/23/20 04:01 AM
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Hi glad you have found a new teacher

I am with Nip and would also recomend the Adult Piana Adventures books . You could use them as additional practice to your other lessons.

These are not like most method books . Randall Faber very early on teaches you about moving around the whole of the piano, transposition and improvisation skills in a straightfoward and easy to understand way of learning . The books are accompanied by very informative videos . These videos are available free on YouTube and I would certainly reecomend you check out the introduction video to see if it would suit just search Adult Piano Adventures to find them).

I was like you struggling with teachers who did not understand my needs. I had two teachers both very good in their own way but not suited to my learning. the first I found jumped in a too high a level for me and I constantly stuggled even when questioing and discussiong my progress could not bring it back to a level where i was not struggling. I was left feeling was it me that could not learn piano and getting very frustrated with myself as could not pick up what was being taugt . I know I am capable of learning and finally after 2 years of lessons gave up and went to another teacher. I now know the reasons I was not getting on well was it was at too higher level . The second teacher was not used to adults and treated me like a kid telling me off like a school teacher when i did not grasp what she was teaching me. I am more than happy for constructive critisimn as this is how you improve but not to be told of like I was a child. So gave up this teacher and then decided to go at my own pace of learning by self-teaching myself using the Adult Piano Adventure books. This way has also enabled me to go back to basics and pick up on all that i had missed in my learning. One year on I have completed book one and are on book 2. I feel I have got further with my playing in this one year than I had got from three years with teachers.

So if you find this new teacher does not work out, then consider self learning or as said, consider self learing with Faber along side you teacher. the ealy sages of the book may sem like its things you know but even in the early stages the techniques of transposition and improvisation will set the groundwork for being able to play all sorts of music in the future.


Working on Faber Adult Piano Adventures AIO Book 2 Unit 3

Playing on a Rolands HP 505 Digital Piano
Re: Early stage beginner and doubts about teachers
meghdad #3048538 11/23/20 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by meghdad
3. About the Aaron exercises. "You had the video of me playing" he said along the lines of "so it's inexcusable not to perform correctly." Oh sometimes I wish cameraphones weren't invented. I mean, the teachers are becoming lazier and lazier as the technology progresses. At least, that's my experience with some of them.

If that quotation is correct, that's a serious issue. He is then basically disqualifying himself as teacher. If he were right, everyone would use video instead of a teacher.


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