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Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968792 05/12/08 05:57 PM
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Keystring - love your enthusiasm, and your posts are always so fascinating in a unique and strange sort of way - it's not just their sheer length that makes them so challenging (and even exhausting) - it's also the circuitous route you often take to get around to the topic at hand, on those occassions when you do get there - for the sake of us with limited intellectual capabilities do you provide an extract or summary of your posts, sort of a "Cliff's Notes" version? wink

With warmest Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

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Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968793 05/12/08 06:08 PM
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Originally posted by Jamie147:
I think only you can decide what context to take his comments based on how long you have known him and how well.
I completely disagree. I firmly believe that total strangers here on the forum are more than capable of rendering a judgment on the situation based on only a few paragraphs vaguely describing an interaction from only one side of a complex relationship, even considering the imprecision of the written word to begin with.

wink

Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968794 05/12/08 06:23 PM
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"Quitting" - if we want to talk about the myriad cultural reasons behind why women have been 'nurtured OUT' of many fields, I have an MA in anthropology, so we can do that. wink

The short answer is that a lot of women realize that rampant sexism in many very competitive fields means that she has almost no chance of success whatsover, so it's not a good use of her time. It's not unknown for historical women composers to have their work published under a male name (husband, relative), if I understand correctly.

In short, he is *badly* misinterpreting what he thinks he has seen in personal experience, and likely heard from his male professors.

If he was taught "old school" in Russia, it's very, very likely that there is a major cultural disconnect in having you as a pupil...in other countries teachers are not questioned, and if the student is having trouble, it's considered the fault of the student, not a flaw in the teaching. His anger at you questioning/challenging him likely comes from that.

I would assume you're an adult student, since you're on this forum. Remember that in other countries, learning this stuff as an adult is generally not done. That could have a lot to do with his attitude.


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Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968795 05/12/08 06:40 PM
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John Frank, those who can write clearly and briefly are usually masters of a subject. The rest of us hunt around and do the best they can.

This is an important subject and I tried to explore all sides of it. Since none of us were there I don't want to make assumptions so I'd rather write more than less. The OP was there and can choose what fits and what doesn't. You don't need to.

The conclusion I came to, because of an experience I had in part, is that this teacher is trying to teach something. The OP is trying to understand background concepts but when she asks he gets frustrated. If she could learn some basic theory existing in a formal book then this might be a solution. Her teacher could use that book. It would only be a solution if I've identified the problem. Hence the ramble.

I thought I saw a course with no structure. It is hard to teach that way.

Now, about my writing style. I'm doing my best. I'm starting to be embarrassed about posting and I'm becoming self-conscious. There is a faint hint of ridicule despite your polite words.

I've gone through some very hard times as a student so I tend to care. It has been good to get feedback on one hand. On the other hand I'm becoming quite shy about posting anything.

Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968796 05/12/08 06:58 PM
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If he was taught "old school" in Russia, it's very, very likely that there is a major cultural disconnect in having you as a pupil...in other countries teachers are not questioned, and if the student is having trouble, it's considered the fault of the student, not a flaw in the teaching. His anger at you questioning/challenging him likely comes from that.
I was heading toward the cultural background, but cautiously because I hate typifying any group unless I have certain knowledge. (which by the way is what this teacher did in his statement about women)

I don't see anger, I see frustration. I have a teacher with that background and talked with others - the system and region, not country per se.

From what I understand, the students over there got a very comprehensive and deep musical education. I think it wasn't all the students, but the ones that did graduate in music started early. If they were teaching, then their students would already have a background to draw on. The students would understand what they're talking about and they can work together.

But we come in as semi-literates (I certainly did) and the bit that we did learn is often wrong. A teacher like that can't build on anything and he's not used to it. I took a quantum leap from this. If the OP and her teacher got a good book or some kind of resource so that she could systematically get a grounding in basic theory without holes, then he could teach her what he wants to teach. This fills the gap.

I was not exactly in the same situation but in some sense I was. I took exactly that course of action and I've been slogging away at a furious pace ever since. It's been less than 12 months. You end up with a common language so that you know what the heck he's talking about.

No,"back home" he would not be asked those questions. But "back home" the student would have a sufficient background. The solution could possibly be in that area.

Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968797 05/12/08 08:20 PM
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saerra,

Unless you feel you can sit down with your teacher and resolve the hurt feelings (and I think you are fully justified in your feelings), I think you should shop around. You need to study with someone you feel you can trust.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968798 05/12/08 08:26 PM
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smile Hi everyone, thanks very much for all the thoughts on my behalf, it really has been a huge support and help to me in figuring out what's going on.

So he replied to my email. I didn't ask about the gender stuff - just about him getting frustrated at me - and apparently - he doesn't even remember it! His entire recollection was that he was frustrated because I repeated something he said, but not exactly right (I assume changing the meaning, I'm also assuming - based on my memory - that it was about the gender stuff).

Anyway, he apologized that he had upset me.

I feel quite a bit better knowing that (apparently, I will probably follow up this week in person) that it wasn't some long ongoing frustration on his part. I don't know - it's entirely possible that whatever happened is just part of how he communicates, and I'm really sensitive to that sort of thing - so maybe I heard it "louder" than it was meant to come across.

So, as I said - I will probably follow up when I see him in person.

About the gender stuff - yellowville, thank you for your post, I think that you said in much nicer terms what he was going for (that women tend to drop out of creative fields in higher numbers). I tried talking to someone today about this too - and it really is a loaded issue - it's hard to phrase the idea, I think, in a way that people don't instantly react badly to (obviously, I include myself, I definitely reacted when he started talking about it!)

I also think the confidence issue may be spot on (though disturbing). There was a sports coach on the radio awhile back who had coached both women and men. When they asked him about the differences, he said...

"I can walk into the room with all my guys, and say something like - 'you guys are doing great, but there's ONE person who's really holding us back and not pulling his weight...' -- and EVERY guy will think they know who it is, and it's NOT them. If I say the same exact thing to my team of women, every single one will know who it is, and think it IS her!"

The story stuck with me. Probably a whole other post in there wink

Keystring - please please don't feel self-conscious about posting, I really enjoy your posts and the way you try to very carefully and objectively look at things from all possible angles to figure out where misinterpretations have gone wrong. And I really appreciated in another thread where you mentioned that for someone to hear you, they need to feel heard - I've been pondering that, it feels important and true, I just haven't yet figured out how to actively apply it! smile

re: The questions - he actually doesn't usually have a problem with this. He let me know early on that I can email him questions, and he responds quickly, and he usually seems to enjoy discussions. He's generally pretty positive, although sometimes I get short answers... and I originally thought he was just blowing them off... then a month later, he's managed to bring me back to the topic in a long round-about way (usually through something I'm studying, something more experiential rather than verbal) - and he'll say, "and that's why... " and remind me of the question. So I appreciate that wink

ProdigalPianist - that was interesting about female composers publishing under male names, I didn't know that... thanks for your insight!

Oh, and keystring - thanks for the recommendation for a book... I'll have to go reread, but I think you mentioned what book you had used (if not, please do!) - I had talked to him a bit up front about a book, the problem I had was everything I found was either too basic and boring, or too advanced. I did pick up a copy of Tonal Harmony and used it for some exercises last year, I may go back and try to work through some more of that. But he really didn't have any recommendations for books, he pretty much though that there was a gap in the "intermediate" area where I was looking for stuff.

I think though I've learned alot, and am still learning. And, as I said, other than these weird communications mishaps that seem to happen every once in awhile, it's gone well and I'm enjoying it. And, yes, he's not the most "planning" person, but the advantage is he's really great about being flexible when I find something interesting and want to know more, even if it's not in the "plan".

(Oh and Keystring - it's funny you mentioned jazz, he actually is a jazz guy, but has an amazing background so is comfortable with all the classical stuff as well. I think jazz is his preferred genre though. We haven't yet gotten into jazz at all, but I assume at some point, we'll hit that too.)

smile Thanks everyone for listening, and sharing my vent, and helping me figure out what was bothering me...

Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968799 05/12/08 09:36 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by bitWrangler:
I completely disagree. I firmly believe that total strangers here on the forum are more than capable of rendering a judgment on the situation based on only a few paragraphs vaguely describing an interaction from only one side of a complex relationship, even considering the imprecision of the written word to begin with.

wink [/QUOTE]

Plus, we're more objective.

K


art is why i get up in the morning
but my definition ends there
it doesn't seem fair
that i'm living for something
i can't even define
ani difranco
Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968800 05/12/08 09:38 PM
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Originally posted by Keith W:

Plus, we're more objective.

K [/QB]
At least, I am.

K


art is why i get up in the morning
but my definition ends there
it doesn't seem fair
that i'm living for something
i can't even define
ani difranco
Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968801 05/12/08 09:48 PM
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saerra - so which is it: there actually was a problem, but everything's ok now; or there never was a problem, but you misunderstood and thought there was, and thus were worried needlessly?

Not sure I understand, because apparently all it took was an email from him to bring everything to a happy conclusion (dispite his groundless and defenseless assertions about women's lack of creativity).

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968802 05/12/08 10:01 PM
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It's none of my business but I'm trying very hard to control my blood pressure right now so I better not say anything that I will regret.

:t:


Music speaks where words fails.
Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968803 05/12/08 11:24 PM
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Originally posted by John Frank:
saerra - so which is it: there actually was a problem, but everything's ok now; or there never was a problem, but you misunderstood and thought there was, and thus were worried needlessly?

Not sure I understand, because apparently all it took was an email from him to bring everything to a happy conclusion (dispite his groundless and defenseless assertions about women's lack of creativity).

Regards, JF
No, he was NOT saying women aren't creative. I think he was trying to make the point that was made above much more eloquently - women tend to drop out of creative fields more frequently than men do. Unfortunately - it's a *really* loaded topic - which is why I, and most people here, reacted so strongly I think. And, the fact that English isn't his native language (so maybe some of the nuances of what he's thinking are lost?) surely didn't help.

OK - I got another email from him (after I followed up to make sure there wasn't some other underlying frustration) where he said that the reason he reacted so strongly (by saying I oversimplify) is because "...the last thing i wanted to say is that women are not creative... " and that's basically what he heard ME saying, when I was trying to respond to what I thought he said... (ie I basically said, "but you said women aren't creative and..." - and that's apparently, in his mind, where he jumped in to stop me.

Just that his jumping in pretty much completely overwhelmed, as it was MUCH louder than what I'm used to (from anyone, but from him too - he is actually usually pretty soft-spoken!)

Sorry, so yeah - apparently it was all a huge misunderstanding and he didn't mean to say or imply that at all.

Which makes sense, since I had never really otherwise gotten the feeling that he was a sexist jerk before wink

Hope that clears things up. Sorry for the misunderstanding - but again, I really appreciate all the support and thoughts in figuring it out.

Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968804 05/12/08 11:47 PM
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Saerra, communication has the weirdest way of going awry and there's nothing wrong with seeking clarity in whatever way we can. Getting feedback from our peers is an ok thing to do, and boy, it's been a discussion that has taken some interesting turns.

Have you had a chance to read Musicalfossils, by the way? Founder Matte Harre has been concerned with the issue of adult students for over a decade. He is a piano teacher and an advocate. Among other things he writes that teachers do not realize how important the relationship is to adult students. He writes that he was floored by the realization since he always figured that he was the one who had to please the student in his performance as a teacher. The explanation is that the teacher may be the only person in a student's life holding such a position and his word means a lot to the student. The intensity of your reaction is understandable and mine might have been similar.

In that sense it's also understandable that the proportion of the matter changed once you spoke to him. I also know from personal experience that the language barrier may be greater than it seems.

Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968805 05/13/08 05:27 AM
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Originally posted by saerra:

Sorry, so yeah - apparently it was all a huge misunderstanding and he didn't mean to say or imply that at all.

Well, I think everyone will be delighted to find out that the "problem" has been resolved apparently to the satisfaction of both of you, and that you will go forward in your relationship with renewed understanding, respect and harmony for your mutual benefit.

Perhaps it might have been helpful to all concerned here - and probably would have saved much conjecture, speculation, worry, emotion-driven responses and heart-felt advice - if you had pursued the matter farther with the gentleman in question and cleared up as much misunderstanding as possible before bringing the matter in front of the general forum here for concerned input, much of which was seemingly based on a misunderstanding of your misunderstanding. smile

Good luck with your piano studies in the future and looking forward to many more communications from you. Keep us updated.

Regards, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968806 05/13/08 05:37 AM
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alas - even tho it all now seems to be resolved, it was a horrid experience for you. We don't need that kind of treatment.

Hopefully he has learned his lesson on how to communicate with his student.

I am so pleased it has turned out OK in the end. smile


tricia
Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968807 05/13/08 10:04 AM
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John Frank,
Quote
Perhaps it might have been helpful to all concerned here - and probably would have saved much conjecture, speculation, worry, emotion-driven responses and heart-felt advice - if you had pursued the matter farther with the gentleman in question and cleared up as much misunderstanding as possible before bringing the matter in front of the general forum here for concerned input, much of which was seemingly based on a misunderstanding of your misunderstanding.
I have to quite disagree with you. Saerra's resolution of the conflict could very well have come out of what she read here. It always helps to air things out and get other's opinions especially when misunderstandings are involved. Venting and getting opinions here may have been just what she needed to make a constructive approach to her teacher.


"Hunger for growth will come to you in the form of a problem." -- unknown
Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968808 05/13/08 10:13 AM
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Adding to what Bernard has written: music lessons can be intense and personal experiences with a lot of personal investment. Sometimes it's hard to get perspective right after. Has anyone noticed that in the last two weeks there has been a teacher posting, then a student posting, each shocked by something that transpired but with a larger perspective emerging over time? In each case peers shared the reaction and then as details came out there were new ways of seeing things. I suspect that these dialogues benefit all of us.

I would hate to see anyone getting a sense of what is and is not appropriate to post. If it matters to you then it matters. Of course we should stop and reflect before posting because other people are going to invest time and effort into what you say. But other than that caveats should probably be limited to things of an abusive nature.

Re: Kind of upset - "women and creativity"
#968809 05/13/08 05:19 PM
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Thanks Bernard and Keystring - yup you both got it exactly right. I am sorry to have upset everyone, but the perspectives and thoughts that everyone shared were tremendously helpful to me to figure out what I was reacting to and what I needed from him. If I hadn't been able to do this, I would likely have just been an emotional mess, and I don't know that we would have resolved anything.

By the way, I even copied some things from the post to send to my teacher, and he seemed to really appreciate those thoughts as well.

Thanks again for the help.

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