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Teacher Struggles | Learning Strategies?
#3050995 11/29/20 07:02 PM
Joined: Sep 2020
Posts: 51
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foxy.au Offline OP
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Hi Everyone,

Lovely to say hello to you! :-)

Ok, here's the short of it.

- I'm 49 years old
- Have been 'stuffing around' on the piano for years - 99.9% self-taught. Had 5 music lessons as a 7-year-old boy - but didn't really take to it.
- My playing has plateaued - I can improvise (a little bit) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5KVQpr5HjFI but cannot read music. Well learning to read music now.

So what am I doing to become effective with my learning?

- I'm a member of this forum - YEAH :-)
- Working through Alfreds (All-In-One Course)
- Member of pianote.com - up to level 4
- Have a Faber's learning books as well - haven't started - but will soon.

So here I am all eager and wanting to focus on improving my piano skills BUT WITH the understanding that this will take years.

- Learning to read music
- Music Theory
- Sight Reading ( I have a subscription for 'sight-reading factory' for a year )
- Classical Training


So in reading the forums, a few people recommended going and seeing a 'real-life in the person' tutor.

I did that yesterday for the first time and was rather disappointed. A delightful 74-year man teacher. But the lesson was totally unstructured - He wanted to expand upon my improv skills more than learning to read music. Sigh.

I've got two more lessons with him and then I'll continue the search for another teacher.

Being self-directed is great, but having a tutor I really could feel would be the difference of my trajectory and more importantly accountable and realistic goal settings.

I don't know exactly what sort of teacher I'm looking for, but that wasn't it. I suppose I'll know it when I see it???

I'd love a teacher to say, 'Right, I know what I need to do with you!' :-) In a friendly way of course! lol.

Thanks for reading.
Foxy.


Yamaha CLP-785
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Re: Teacher Struggles | Learning Strategies?
foxy.au #3051001 11/29/20 07:13 PM
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Foxy
Think about what type of music you want to learn first: classical? Improv? Jazz? Pop? And tell your teacher what that is. If you show up for a first lesson and play something you improvised, a teacher may guess that is where you want to concentrate. If you want to develop reading skills, bring a couple of pieces you can read so you teacher can estimate what you know and what you read.

I would recommend you do this with your current teacher next week: tell him what skills you want to start with. If it’s reading, you will learn theory as you go.

We all want our teachers to be mind readers, and then are disappointed when they’re not. We all need to help any teacher out by communicating.


"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: Teacher Struggles | Learning Strategies?
foxy.au #3051010 11/29/20 07:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2009
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dmd Offline
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You may also want to not "give up" so quickly with your present teacher.

Give him a chance.

Next lesson .... spend time talking about the direction you would like to move in.

If he disagrees with you .... ask him why .... discuss it a bit.

Remember .... you are a paying customer and you get to decide what it is you wish to be "tutored" on.

You are very likely going to be unhappy with every teacher for awhile because you have no idea what "good" is.

After going through a few teachers you may find out .... the first one was the best.

For that reason, I would suggest ending on good terms with each teacher because you may wish to come back to him/her later.


Don

Casio PX-S1000, SennHeiser HD 559 Headphones, Pianoteq, FocusRite Scarlett 2i2 Audio Interface, Focal Professional CMS 40 monitors
Re: Teacher Struggles | Learning Strategies?
dogperson #3051013 11/29/20 07:31 PM
Joined: Sep 2020
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foxy.au Offline OP
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Originally Posted by dogperson
Foxy
Think about what type of music you want to learn first: classical? Improv? Jazz? Pop? And tell your teacher what that is. If you show up for a first lesson and play something you improvised, a teacher may guess that is where you want to concentrate. If you want to develop reading skills, bring a couple of pieces you can read so you teacher can estimate what you know and what you read.

I would recommend you do this with your current teacher next week: tell him what skills you want to start with. If it’s reading, you will learn theory as you go.

We all want our teachers to be mind readers, and then are disappointed when they’re not. We all need to help any teacher out by communicating.

G'day my friend!

Thanks for the fast reply. I do hear what you're saying, however, I was pretty clear to the gentleman about my requirements. I'm a former project/program manager so to avoid confusion, I really did spell out my requirements.

However, reading my initial post above, it doesn't really come across that way. So I definitely understand your point about 'wanting our teachers to be mind-readings' - I did laugh at that comment and thought. Yes, some definite truth to that statement.

- Learn to Read Music, combining it with Music Theory - I said to him, I don't what to just know the 'what' I want to know the 'why'

- Classical and Pop Classics ( Beatles, Elton John, Sarah McLachlan, Ludovico Einaudi) - I enjoy a wide variety of music.

So the crux of it really is, learning to read music -

The materials he sent me home with was:
- Bach Prelude and Fugue No 1 in C Major (Ave Maria)
- Right and Left-Hand practice sheets

In reflection, your first question is spot on - What type of music do I wish to learn?

The answer is, for now - classical. Let's keep it simple and they can define a curriculum around that.

Thanks for replying mate! Has given me a little bit of clarity!
Foxy.


Yamaha CLP-785
Re: Teacher Struggles | Learning Strategies?
dmd #3051017 11/29/20 07:38 PM
Joined: Sep 2020
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foxy.au Offline OP
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Posts: 51
Originally Posted by dmd
You may also want to not "give up" so quickly with your present teacher.

Give him a chance.

Next lesson .... spend time talking about the direction you would like to move in.

If he disagrees with you .... ask him why .... discuss it a bit.

Remember .... you are a paying customer and you get to decide what it is you wish to be "tutored" on.

You are very likely going to be unhappy with every teacher for awhile because you have no idea what "good" is.

After going through a few teachers you may find out .... the first one was the best.

For that reason, I would suggest ending on good terms with each teacher because you may wish to come back to him/her later.

G'day dmd! Thanks for the reply :-) Much appreciated my friend!

Absolutely agree with your thoughts of 'giving him a go' - I've got three lessons with him and I'll do that as a minimum. It's not 'giving up' per se. It's more, this doesn't feel right. He was jovial and delightful but I wouldn't call it professional. That's my issue. He fuddled around, wasted time searching on the computer for a printout. Even though I was clear at the start about 'I want to learn how to read music'. Yes, I'm the paying customer, but it simply did not feel 'focused' enough for me.

I've responded to dogperson above in a separate post that actually ties in with your own comments.

re: Leaving on good terms - 100% agree - Never burn your bridges no matter how you feel.

Another example, I asked him to check my posture and hand positioning out - This should be a simple question IMHO? He said, 'oh, i don't really know' - let me sit down and check out what I do. This did set off quite a few alarm bells. Oh well.

Sorry guys/girls - not wanting to vent and complain about the tutor - he really REALLY is a nice man. Great personality but just lacking the professionalism I want - But, I concede that may have been due to me about not being SUPER clear about what I wanted from the first minute. Even though, i thought i did.

Thanks again.
Foxy.


Yamaha CLP-785

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