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Posted By: Zach Evans Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 06:03 PM
Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!




Basically, the concept is:

Instead of focusing on the Fundamentals first, we should focus on "easy wins" early on in the learning process to build motivation, and come back to the Fundamentals later.

There seems to be VERY mixed reactions I get from teachers, what do you think?
Posted By: U3piano Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 06:25 PM
I think it all depends on the student and his/her level of motivation, but for the average absolute beginner I would say yes, easy wins could be a great way get motivated.

I watched some of your videos, and while i love your enthusiasm and energy, for me there is too much talking in them about how, why, the past, and all kinds of things like that, I can't help to feel like "please get to the point and teach me something." But i still appreciate what your doing.
Meh. I can see why he thinks it's important, not thinking you can play music and being bored with simple music are two big barriers to people learning piano - but they are essentially lowest common denominator problems that aren't very interesting to me. It's just marketing fluff. The real learning and real teaching starts once you get people past that lowest hurdle.

I think (or at least hope) the vast majority of people that say the can't or could never learn music/language/drawing/calculus/programming/whatever don't actually believe that, it's just a euphemism for saying I'm not interested in doing that, or can't be bothered, or don't have the time or energy. Which is completely ok. But of course you could if you really wanted to, if you got through school and learnt to read and write and do algebra you're perfectly capable of learning any number of higher skills.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 07:08 PM
I do not think it solves any issues, it just delays the outcome. Motivation is not something that gets developed because you have made some small easy wins. At some point you will have to tackle the more difficult staff which will require hard work and dedication. if you do not have that in you, then eventually you will give up. That is true for just about any kind of activity. Now I never considered learning the fundamentals in any of my learning process as boring nor was I expecting that I would learn the topic fast and easily and without pain. But of course each person is different and I fully agree that some level of adjustment is good, and sometimes a quick and easy win is good for the morale to boost one up.
Unless I'm wrong, the presenter of that TEDx talk (note the X) is the one who posted asking for comments.
Hey, thanks for the comment. And I appreciate the feedback. The hard part in teaching on YouTube is some people come in as complete beginners, and they need all the "prep talking", while others are more advanced and find it boring.

My take is give ALL the information, and just hope the intermediate players use the "skip ahead" feature to skip to the part that's more relevant for them!
I am not a teacher, but from what I have seen here, 90 days of practice is not the critical time point: it is when you realize that learning to play is a long-term goal and not instant success. You can take an adult who has been learning through copying synthesis notes, but when it is realized this will not get you very far, is when you need the motivation and the understanding there is a ‘beginning’ which may include music which is not always ‘fun’. There must be an understanding that learning is progressive and often slow.

I see the ‘secret sauce’ as just another type of substitute and a delay in starting. Your TED talk also doesn’t mention how and the time involved in playing all of these melodies or changing the bass patterns to fit the changes in the music. None of that is an instant process.
It's interesting and very much in line with an approach used in business / IT when doing projects. A long-term project can get little enthusiasm from those who are supposed to 'benefit from it' when nothing happens in the short / medium term etc. so 'quick hits' is the idea of delivering things early that give tangible benefits and generate enthusiasm which would otherwise wane in the long wait for the project to be delivered. 'Deliverables' along the way keep interest and enthusiasm going.

Yes, in my experience it can work very well, even if some of the things 'delivered' are really things that have been done earlier or are not really related to the work being done in the project.

Others don't agree with the approach, and it can lead to longer timescales because effort is diverted from delivering the main goals.
A more honest title would be “Do you agree with my TED talk”. Since you are already marketing this approach to learning piano, why do you care about opinions from anonymous forum members. I only watched the first couple of minutes and got turned off by the marketing hype.
Originally Posted by AndrewJCW
Meh. I can see why he thinks it's important, not thinking you can play music and being bored with simple music are two big barriers to people learning piano - but they are essentially lowest common denominator problems that aren't very interesting to me. It's just marketing fluff. The real learning and real teaching starts once you get people past that lowest hurdle.

I think (or at least hope) the vast majority of people that say the can't or could never learn music/language/drawing/calculus/programming/whatever don't actually believe that, it's just a euphemism for saying I'm not interested in doing that, or can't be bothered, or don't have the time or energy. Which is completely ok. But of course you could if you really wanted to, if you got through school and learnt to read and write and do algebra you're perfectly capable of learning any number of higher skills.


I agree - the "real" teaching part does come after the first hurdle. That being said, if they never get past the first hurdle, they'll never get to the real teaching part!

For your second point, I agree to some extent - I think there are a lot of folks who say "I could never learn" when they just really mean "I don't want to learn". But I think there are ALSO a lot of folks out there who think they couldn't learn, or that it would be significantly harder for them because of their innate talent, which I think is 100% false.
Posted By: EPW Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 07:53 PM
I think the video was entertaining but I think everyone is different in how they learn.
If it helps someone keeps wanting to learn I'm okay with it.
Posted By: Fidel Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 08:01 PM
For many adult beginners I completely agree this is a good approach because piano is so painfully difficult to learn at the fundamental level.

However for students who are eager and passionate about music, motivation is a given. For these students, fundamentals are the better path.
Posted By: enw10 Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 08:02 PM
Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
A more honest title would be “Do you agree with my TED talk”. Since you are already marketing this approach to learning piano, why do you care about opinions from anonymous forum members. I only watched the first couple of minutes and got turned off by the marketing hype.


Exactly. It doesn't really matter what we think of your TED Talk since it's done.

Do you actually want comments or are you just trying to get views on your video?
Posted By: Jytte Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 08:11 PM
I'm sorry, but this kind of 'motivational speeches' turn me off in a matter of seconds (23 exactly for this one).
And, isn't this advertising?
I checked back on the other forum. I got involved in several of your threads, and most of the time you did not respond to anyone after asking their opinions, or minimally. I'm afraid that answering "what do you think?" will go the same way.

I saw that I had made a comment to another thread, that you had opposed something you presented as negative, instead of just proposing your idea. The same here. You've got a nebulous "fundamentals" - which can be taught in many ways - as a negative thing that people don't want, and then propose this magical accompaniment which, in fact, contains some fundamental theory in disguise, as the solution to that. The first thing we'd have to look at is what "fundamentals" are, and how they can be taught.

Personally, your instant success version would be a turn-off for me. I don't like memorizing series of notes or series of anything, and I'm bad at it. I like knowing and understanding underlying patterns (that's your theory and fundamentals), playing and experimenting with them, creating through them. An instantly pretty song is not motivating in the least. If I had to do this, I might force myself in the hope that something real would come of it, but only because I love music - the demotivation would be great. For the demo: If you could at least play the bass softer to bring out instead of drowning the melody.

It's different strokes for different folks. I happen to love fundamental things - the real deal - a formulaic melody + I IV V block chord is just another version of the same. I find fundamentals and foundations to be fascinating. Insofar as your magical LH thing is, in fact, a code for underlying harmony, if I knew that - rather than having it an instant-success thing - I'd probably delve into it. It is the instant results aim that ruined lessons for me in my earlier experiences. It's how I'm wired.
Originally Posted by Jytte
I'm sorry, but this kind of 'motivational speeches' turn me off in a matter of seconds (23 exactly for this one).
And, isn't this advertising?

Well, it is if there is a paid product/service involved. Still most TED Talks are not considered advertising, but I've personally never seen them promoted by the TED Talker themselves.

I don't know if Zach is counted as a piano teacher though. There is a special exemption for piano teachers to advertise on this forum. I remember seeing it over in the teacher's forum.
Originally Posted by enw10
Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
A more honest title would be “Do you agree with my TED talk”. Since you are already marketing this approach to learning piano, why do you care about opinions from anonymous forum members. I only watched the first couple of minutes and got turned off by the marketing hype.


Exactly. It doesn't really matter what we think of your TED Talk since it's done.

Do you actually want comments or are you just trying to get views on your video?


+2

Please be straightforward: "This is my TED Talk, please watch it and let me know what you think" would be a much better approach.
Posted By: EPW Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 08:45 PM
I didn't realize he was self-promoting frown
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 08:50 PM
I'm not sure this is the right audience for your video, as most of us are looking for more traditional piano education. Good luck with your series.
I have a couple opinions on this subject:

1 - Must it be an either/or thing? Success breeds success, but that can take many forms, and if it is as you are learning the fundamentals, then that is a good thing too, rather than a sidetrack/distraction thing

2 - Piano is fun, if you can do it. I have several adult students who would not be satisfied with spending time learning something considered an "easy win". You really have to know what your student wants and accommodate that.

3 - The objections you're talking about I haven't heard too much except "I never took lessons as a kid," but that is easily dispelled by telling them that I have had many adult students who have learned piano.

4 - The pattern you teach I would never give to a beginner due to the neural connections in the brain that need to be developed to each finger. That pattern would cause most students to have pain/excessive tension with their playing

Maybe it's just the kind of students that I end up working with, but most of them don't want the shortcuts, butt hey seek the independence of learning on their own. My job is to give them the tools, not short change them.
Little off topic, but found the most interesting part in the video what Zach tells about his background. He claims that he first studied piano for two years from youtube videos, got then accepted to college piano major program and graduated near top of the class. Learning piano that fast shows exceptional talent in music and very good learning skills. Based on this he might really believe that the rate of progress he's promising with his method is actually possible and it's not just over-optimistic marketing. If it was possible for him it's possible for others too.

People evaluating the rate of progress he promises should consider if you are a person who would get admitted to studying piano in college level after two years of youtube self-study, or not. If yes, then maybe his promises are valid.
Originally Posted by dogperson
I am not a teacher, but from what I have seen here, 90 days of practice is not the critical time point: it is when you realize that learning to play is a long-term goal and not instant success. You can take an adult who has been learning through copying synthesis notes, but when it is realized this will not get you very far, is when you need the motivation and the understanding there is a ‘beginning’ which may include music which is not always ‘fun’. There must be an understanding that learning is progressive and often slow.

I see the ‘secret sauce’ as just another type of substitute and a delay in starting. Your TED talk also doesn’t mention how and the time involved in playing all of these melodies or changing the bass patterns to fit the changes in the music. None of that is an instant process.


Of course 90 days isn't going to be an absolute constant for everyone. But I have seen some real results in terms of people that stay on after 90 days - almost all of them - vs people who quit earlier. If there wasn't some kind of "click point", you'd expect an even distribution even after the 90 day point, which I don't see.

I also think people are more similar than most think. The biggest difference from my experience isn't between someone who's "talented" or "untalented" - that creates a very small difference in two students. A much bigger difference comes from "this student actually practices consistently" vs "this student doesn't".

For your second point, I don't think it delays in starting - there are a TON of different skills you need to learn on piano. Learning a left hand pattern before other skills is just changing up the order to help you stay more motivated, the order doesn't really matter.
Originally Posted by keystring
I checked back on the other forum. I got involved in several of your threads, and most of the time you did not respond to anyone after asking their opinions, or minimally. I'm afraid that answering "what do you think?" will go the same way.

I saw that I had made a comment to another thread, that you had opposed something you presented as negative, instead of just proposing your idea. The same here. You've got a nebulous "fundamentals" - which can be taught in many ways - as a negative thing that people don't want, and then propose this magical accompaniment which, in fact, contains some fundamental theory in disguise, as the solution to that. The first thing we'd have to look at is what "fundamentals" are, and how they can be taught.

Personally, your instant success version would be a turn-off for me. I don't like memorizing series of notes or series of anything, and I'm bad at it. I like knowing and understanding underlying patterns (that's your theory and fundamentals), playing and experimenting with them, creating through them. An instantly pretty song is not motivating in the least. If I had to do this, I might force myself in the hope that something real would come of it, but only because I love music - the demotivation would be great. For the demo: If you could at least play the bass softer to bring out instead of drowning the melody.

It's different strokes for different folks. I happen to love fundamental things - the real deal - a formulaic melody + I IV V block chord is just another version of the same. I find fundamentals and foundations to be fascinating. Insofar as your magical LH thing is, in fact, a code for underlying harmony, if I knew that - rather than having it an instant-success thing - I'd probably delve into it. It is the instant results aim that ruined lessons for me in my earlier experiences. It's how I'm wired.


Yes I agree, you have to tailor it to the student. But based on what you said, I'm sure for your teacher you were an "easy student". Very self-motivated, already excited to learn, etc. I think for you, you'd have learned either way. But from experience I'd say that most people aren't like you, and it helps a lot to have that kind of motivation up front.

So I guess all in all, tailor it to the student. But if anything, error on the side of teaching some "fun stuff" at the beginning, that way "easy students" will learn regardless and "tough students" will be able to use the motivation.
Originally Posted by Zach Evans


I also think people are more similar than most think. The biggest difference from my experience isn't between someone who's "talented" or "untalented" - that creates a very small difference in two students. A much bigger difference comes from "this student actually practices consistently" vs "this student doesn't".

This is an excellent point. I've had "talented" students that don't work and waste it, and I've had "non-talented" student far surpass them in their work ethic.
Originally Posted by Jytte
I'm sorry, but this kind of 'motivational speeches' turn me off in a matter of seconds (23 exactly for this one).


I don't know what it is about the piano industry and the notion that you must talk as drab, boring, and monotone as possible to try and "sound smarter" or something...

I don't think there's anything wrong with actually being... I don't know... EXCITED to to teach and learn this amazing instrument
Posted By: Jytte Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 09:51 PM
Zach, I'm twice your age (which isn't the problem), and I've had to sit through I don't even know how many of these motivational and peppy speeches in my business life, plenty to turn anybody off.
That's just me.
I tend to believe that Zach's approach is correct. Every minute spent with the instrument gets you forward and motivating material keeps you sitting at the piano. Playing the secret sauce arpeggio makes you learn to move your fingers as well as playing method books. I don't get this mindset that it's so easy to learn everything wrong and get injuries and eventually fail miserably unless you follow ABRSM curriculum. Actually I don't even think starting with synthesia is that bad. The biggest hurdles in the beginning are anyway just learning finger independence and learning to play the keys with equal volume with all fingers, and learning proprioception to be able to keep eyes on the music while playing. These things just happen when you spend time with your instrument. It's OK to get there by learning the play music you like (by rote). If still after doing that for a couple months you are interested in piano then get the method books, learn to read music and continue from there. Going through the method books at that point is more satisfying since you can learn the pieces faster.
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Yes I agree, you have to tailor it to the student. But based on what you said, I'm sure for your teacher you were an "easy student". Very self-motivated, already excited to learn, etc. I think for you, you'd have learned either way. But from experience I'd say that most people aren't like you, and it helps a lot to have that kind of motivation up front.

I became a "difficult student" for a puzzled teacher, and the depression that experience created, and frustration, were sometimes off the charts. I wondered why I was being "deprived" the fun interesting things, and in fact I was being "spared" what supposedly people hate. True fundamental things are magical mini-pills that expand in a gazillion directions. Meanwhile, lack thereof means eventually you founder and flounder, "mysteriously". And that happened to me too.

You haven't actually experienced the ways in which beginners can be taught, because you taught yourself. I reached the possibilities at one time. I followed what you did via your outline as Keystroke on PS, and elsewhere. The truth of the matter is that music is often taught poorly, especially at the beginning level. You are doing exactly what the excellent teachers try to do: plan fundamental theory somehow. You plant it via that magical little LH phrase which contains the seeds of harmony. In this, you are, in fact, addressing fundamentals and foundations.

The actual problem is probably how you are marketing or promoting / presenting it here, because most of the students here are not looking for shortcuts and quick fixes, and you appear via the presentation, to be promoting what we have sought to escape, when in fact, there may be something deeper in what you do.
Posted By: Koombot Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 10:06 PM
A few observations (as a noob):

I don't think saying that 'I've had lots of adult learners' will always be massively helpful. People tend to think they're unique and special in the same way that everyone rates their sense of humour as above average, so someone, particularly if they are struggling with something will look at other people and say 'Ah, but I'm different. I'm REALLY bad.

The whole thing with the Talk seems to be "In order to teach you need to keep your student motivated". which seems to be pretty obvious. The mention of flashcards also kind of caught my attention because they seem to be a much more common phenomenon in the US than the UK. I went through a 5 years Masters degree in chemistry and never once used them.

But yeah, keep your student motivated would seem obvious. I'm nowhere near qualified to comment on whether kicking off with this pattern would be a good idea, but assuming someone learns it, if they get loads of easy wins eventually their going to hit something hard. I struggled for days with a couple of songs in Alfred's AIO and nearly quit because I'd breezed through it up till then. What I found with those challenging songs was that I had previously gone far to fast. I was looking at learning songs rather than learning skills.

I mean if you want to give them easy wins you could have them level up and maybe have an achievement tree like minecraft or similar. That's not meant to be a slur by the way. Most of the achievements in games are there because getting it demonstrates a level of skill and understanding core concepts of the game. Something like (please don't shout at me) SimplyPiano, but with a teacher.
Posted By: Jytte Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 10:20 PM
Originally Posted by Koombot

I mean if you want to give them easy wins you could have them level up and maybe have an achievement tree like minecraft or similar. That's not meant to be a slur by the way. Most of the achievements in games are there because getting it demonstrates a level of skill and understanding core concepts of the game. Something like (please don't shout at me) SimplyPiano, but with a teacher.

What teacher? Is there feedback in this program?
Just asking.
Posted By: AaronSF Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 10:32 PM
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Originally Posted by Jytte
I'm sorry, but this kind of 'motivational speeches' turn me off in a matter of seconds (23 exactly for this one).


I don't know what it is about the piano industry and the notion that you must talk as drab, boring, and monotone as possible to try and "sound smarter" or something...

I don't think there's anything wrong with actually being... I don't know... EXCITED to to teach and learn this amazing instrument


I have grown to dislike TED talks. Always with the hype, like every TED talker has discovered something so monumental and revolutionary that they just have to share it with all of us! Lots of exclamation points!!!!! Endless enthusiasm for themselves and their grand idea that's going to revolutionize...well, whatever. It's frankly exhausting, and rarely actually inspiring...except maybe to the talker themselves or to neophytes who knows nothing about the subject. Same here with Mr. Evans. He has something to sell, and a TED talk is one way to go about it in our digital times. I find it disingenuous of him to solicit comments on the Adult Beginners Forum (the target for his sales pitch) rather than on the Piano Teachers Forum where he might actually get some full-throated criticism of his approach. Furthermore, this just sounds like a bald-faced sales pitch to me, which is disallowed on Piano World forums.
Posted By: Koombot Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 10:34 PM
Originally Posted by Jytte
Originally Posted by Koombot

I mean if you want to give them easy wins you could have them level up and maybe have an achievement tree like minecraft or similar. That's not meant to be a slur by the way. Most of the achievements in games are there because getting it demonstrates a level of skill and understanding core concepts of the game. Something like (please don't shout at me) SimplyPiano, but with a teacher.

What teacher? Is there feedback in this program?
Just asking.


I just mean like SimplyPiano and simialr apps give instant visual feedback when you hit notes at the right time and grade the overall peformance (3 STARS!). That's all. There's no teacher, which is bad as it can't give feedback on posture, etc.

What I was meaning was that if you are looking for easy wins you'd be as well taking achievements from videogames and adapting that to the fundamentals. The talk seems to be focused around giving people the easy win by giving them the secret sauce. Why not give them easy wins by giving them achievements like in video games. That's literally what they are there for: Easy wins. Nobody plays minecraft to punch trees, but you get a achievement for it because it's a skill you need to learn to understand the game. Sure you get them for doing incredibly complicated things in game, but at the end of the day they reward skill.
Posted By: Moo :) Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 11:14 PM
It is a very good sales pitch. VERY. I am normally very cynical but even i was entertained and brought into the dream. If it does not break the advertising rule then I think think we should feel free to say our own views. it may help if you added what your teaching is other than being super motivated and knowing some skills. but claiming to be self-taught from youtube does not fly with me mr piano superman. when you you learnt music major and were classical trained from a top piano professor then dont downplay that. it is really significantt and it sounded to me like you pretend learnt yourself with youtube when you did not and had very good teaching.
Originally Posted by Moo :)
it may help if you added what your teaching is other than being super motivated and knowing some skills. but claiming to be self-taught from youtube does not fly with me mr piano superman. when you you learnt music major and were classical trained from a top piano professor then dont downplay that. it is really significantt and it sounded to me like you pretend learnt yourself with youtube when you did not and had very good teaching.

You are not the target audience with your near performance diploma and umpteen years of classical piano training. I would not be surprised if the target audience of those looking for a faster way to learn this very hard skill of piano would be more attracted to Zach's self-learning than that he ended up at a good music school earning a music degree. That's because they aren't looking to get into music school. But the idea you might start from scratch, learn by yourself and become skilled enough in two years to be able to get admitted to a music school, now that's something they can get their heads around and get excited about - because Zach could be them.

You are not the audience wink
Posted By: Moo :) Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 11:31 PM
I may not be the target audience and yet I brought the dream. And the Miyagi technique is famous. I also would need at least 1000 highly caffeinated drinks to be this positive. But yes it does disagree a lot with what my teacher says so I cannot take it very seriously but it at least fun. I would still be interested to what the teaching program he is selling actual is.
Posted By: Moo :) Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/08/19 11:35 PM
i'm not near diploma diploma standard and not had upteen years of classical training. sorry if i came off arrogant in the other post as it was not intended. its getting very fierce today. :0
Posted By: TonyB Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 01:17 AM
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!




Basically, the concept is:

Instead of focusing on the Fundamentals first, we should focus on "easy wins" early on in the learning process to build motivation, and come back to the Fundamentals later.

There seems to be VERY mixed reactions I get from teachers, what do you think?


I agree with what you said in your video, but then I am self-teaching rather than formal lessons pursuing a classical path. When I was teaching guitar a number of years ago, I found some interesting differences between teaching adults and younger folks.

Kids (teens, and a bit younger) would come to me usually with a tape (this was the early 80s) of some rock tune they wanted to learn. I would figure it out and teach them how to play the parts they wanted to learn. Their focus was on learning the tune so they could show it off to their friends.

Adults were quite different. They seemed all hung up on whether they had "Talent" because of that ugly myth that "some gots it, some don't" and if you don't, forget it altogether. I decided that the best way to get them playing was to give them some sort of "easy win". Then, they could feel that maybe they "gots it" and could proceed to learning something of substance. Without that little push, as soon as they hit any kind of even mild difficulty in their attempts to play, say a barre chord, they might decide they just didn't have what it takes and give up. It is really weird how these myths take hold and rob folks of the joy of music making. So, yes, I agree with your video.

Tony



I found the Talk interesting. There are so many different types of people, that respond to different types of "learning/teaching". We can all learn a little bit from each system. Even if it is just a different perspective.
Originally Posted by Jytte
Zach, I'm twice your age (which isn't the problem), and I've had to sit through I don't even know how many of these motivational and peppy speeches in my business life, plenty to turn anybody off.
That's just me.


'Well you must be one of the VERY small minority. If you look at the comments in the YouTube video almost EVERY single one is positive, and about how people love the energy.

I think there's just something about piano players on these forums that gets them in this snarky and negative mindset instead of having an open mind about things
Originally Posted by AaronSF


I have grown to dislike TED talks. Always with the hype, like every TED talker has discovered something so monumental and revolutionary that they just have to share it with all of us! Lots of exclamation points!!!!! Endless enthusiasm for themselves and their grand idea that's going to revolutionize...well, whatever. It's frankly exhausting, and rarely actually inspiring...except maybe to the talker themselves or to neophytes who knows nothing about the subject. Same here with Mr. Evans.


I always wonder why there seems to be a high number of *vocal* negative classical pianists compared to pop pianists. I mean, wow what a sin, being EXCITED about what you are doing... as if you "should" be negative, boring and dull all the time.

I have a theory. And this doesn't apply to all classical pianists. In fact, I think it's a select, vocal minority, who have a very negative, snarky tone.

I think these people have practiced YEARS playing classical music, and they get pissed off when someone comes in with much less experience, and is outperforming them for gigs, and the people generally like their music better.

And these few negative, classical pianists just stew and stew in it, in this negative state of anger, and whenever they get a chance they just unleash their jealousy and anger out on whomever they get the chance to.

Just being honest
Originally Posted by Moo :)
claiming to be self-taught from youtube does not fly with me mr piano superman. when you you learnt music major and were classical trained from a top piano professor then dont downplay that. it is really significantt and it sounded to me like you pretend learnt yourself with youtube when you did not and had very good teaching.


Did you watch the video? I very clearly said that I also learned from a top professor on top of the YouTube learning.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Moo :)
it may help if you added what your teaching is other than being super motivated and knowing some skills. but claiming to be self-taught from youtube does not fly with me mr piano superman. when you you learnt music major and were classical trained from a top piano professor then dont downplay that. it is really significantt and it sounded to me like you pretend learnt yourself with youtube when you did not and had very good teaching.

You are not the target audience with your near performance diploma and umpteen years of classical piano training. I would not be surprised if the target audience of those looking for a faster way to learn this very hard skill of piano would be more attracted to Zach's self-learning than that he ended up at a good music school earning a music degree. That's because they aren't looking to get into music school. But the idea you might start from scratch, learn by yourself and become skilled enough in two years to be able to get admitted to a music school, now that's something they can get their heads around and get excited about - because Zach could be them.

You are not the audience wink


Yea I think a lot of folks aren't realizing the talk was meant for beginners - hence why it's in the "Adult Beginner's" forum. Of course if you're already an accomplished pianist for years you're not going to be impressed by a 9th chord arpeggio - but for beginner's looking to get off the ground it can be extremely motivating
You asked our opinions, and most of us were honest - which I think (?) is what you wanted. I watched another one of your videos. It's 9 minutes of hype and you finally get to the (useful) point at the end. I think I know what you are doing. It's a thing that one is told to do in sales: get people excited, make a vague promise geared toward emotion and then finally, at the end, say (a bit) what it's about. It creates sales for useless products. If you actually have something useful, you've turned off those who would work with what you have to offer before they ever get to it. The things you think we don't want, that you put at the end, is what some of us want, and the things you bring to the front are things many of us got burned on, and wouldn't want. This audience here is not "negative". You just haven't caught the vibe.

Just the titles on the bottom:
"become a piano "superhuman" .... I mean, seriously. superhuman? "dominate" piano scales .... BEST. Most of us are not teenagers. I'm in my 60's. Make no bones about it - I am super passionate about music. It's not the message: it's the delivery. It's not in sync with many of the folks here.

Another bit of feedback: You don't say much that is useful in these talks and videos. It's 80% excitement, 20% content. I want to get to the meat and bones. I've worked with various on-line teachers and programs, and choose the ones that have substance. Bit emotion just isn't the thing. I just listened to a video of yours: I think 8 minutes in you finally summarize 3 useful points (which good teachers tend to give - but good teachers are sadly rare), and the video could probably be 30 seconds long to give the essential.

You talk of open mind. One has to have an open mind FOR something. "excitement" doesn't bring me anything. The 3 useful points, if I didn't already know them - do. I can't do anything with excitement. Literally - I cannot DO anything with that.
Zach, I just went to a video of yours, and I also went to PS where you presented the same thing under the name you use there, this time in the teacher forum. In the video, maybe 8 minutes in of a longer video, you give three principles (which I have from my teacher as well), the first two being:
- work in small time increments
- isolate and work on the most difficult thing.
I forget what the third one was. Had you started with those - they have substance - you would have gotten my interest. Well in fact I've been to your site in the past so I have some idea of what you teach. The substance is buried in there. The problem is the presentation and the location - the target audience here. Hype and excited emotional promises are common in sales of shoddy questionable products (used car salesman, magic weight loss pills, youth restorer) - if a product actually has good stuff in it, then burying it in hype is counterproductive. You'll get one audience that goes for that kind of thing. But you'll turn off another kind of audience - esp. those who have been burned in the past. This group here is not "negative". Many of us are just geared differently.

In the teacher forum on PS I see a deeper conversation; maybe because you assume the folks there know something, and you write on that level. Again, I saw substance. In responding to me, you didn't really say much about the nature of foundations or their importance. Maybe because I'm primarily a student. In the teacher forum you did talk about it.

fwiw, I started as a motivated, self-actualizing student in that first experience. In the long run, I lost motivation, and my eventual mood could be best described as despair. We need foundations and skills or it falls apart after a while. In the PS forum you talk about it being important to get past a bag of tricks. That has to come across.

(The PS discussion is worth reading).
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Originally Posted by Jytte
Zach, I'm twice your age (which isn't the problem), and I've had to sit through I don't even know how many of these motivational and peppy speeches in my business life, plenty to turn anybody off.
That's just me.


'Well you must be one of the VERY small minority. If you look at the comments in the YouTube video almost EVERY single one is positive, and about how people love the energy.

I think there's just something about piano players on these forums that gets them in this snarky and negative mindset instead of having an open mind about things


I think you may find it beneficial to find another target audience for your videos.
Posted By: Moo :) Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 04:10 AM
To be perfectly honest Zach I do have issue with the miyagi video which was discussed before here. My teacher taught me to project sound whilst the keys by collecting fingers. The landing technique which I think you are demonstrating is also not how I was taught it. I however was not taught to do this not often and only if needed. Something like the start of Rach opus 3 no 2. da..da..DAAA...I really don’t think it is a beginner technique. I was never taught this as a beginner. I didnt get it until more recently. I think linking technique to producing sound is very hard and I thin these videos just confuse. Especially if it’s different to what I was taught.

That said I am not a teacher and do not have a music major so you may chose to ignore as you wish. The longer videos I watched 3 are better. The chord patterns are grear. I would like to learn the arpeggio run trick. However YouTube is hard to follow. Mary has a Little lamb which you had on your YouTube which was your basis of the Ted talk I got a little lost. I think would have confused a beginner. it would be hard for me to remember what you played though the idea I understood . Maybe sheet music would be helpful when you play or seeing the keys like this synthesia? thing.

I’m not the target audience but I would question how much a beginner can do from YouTube. Maybe some tricks but how will thry progress?
Originally Posted by PianogrlNW
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Originally Posted by Jytte
Zach, I'm twice your age (which isn't the problem), and I've had to sit through I don't even know how many of these motivational and peppy speeches in my business life, plenty to turn anybody off.
That's just me.
'Well you must be one of the VERY small minority. If you look at the comments in the YouTube video almost EVERY single one is positive, and about how people love the energy.

I think there's just something about piano players on these forums that gets them in this snarky and negative mindset instead of having an open mind about things
I think you may find it beneficial to find a different target audience for your videos and sales pitches. Most of the forum members here understand the dedication and hard work involved in learning to play piano and are not easily seduced by quick fixes.

That's a fair comment, but ironic, as we are also in the midst of a 255+ post thread discussing how all learners are different and how this ABF forum is not friendly enough with those beginners who aren't part of the hivemind. 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝
Posted By: Moo :) Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 04:25 AM
My teacher taught me to project sound whilst ON the keys by collecting fingers. - should have said.

Also we like a good argument on piano world forum. Hive mind is a particularly awesome phrase 🐝 🐝 🐝 .
Posted By: malkin Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 04:28 AM
You can say "OK Boomer" if you want, but I'm not spending 17 minutes watching your video when I could read a text in considerably less time.

Thanks Koombot for the Cliff Notes.

Based on this thread I have no interest in the TED talk. Post a transcript if you had something important to communicate.
Originally Posted by malkin
You can say "OK Boomer" if you want, but I'm not spending 17 minutes watching your video when I could read a text in considerably less time.

Thanks Koombot for the Cliff Notes.

Based on this thread I have no interest in the TED talk. Post a transcript if you had something important to communicate.

OK Boomer wink

Actually, I think your comment is rather brusque. I don't think it reflects the sort of person you've expressed yourself to be on here, so I'm going to assume we are seeing the "Annoyed Malkin."
Hi Zach, I think you make a lot of good points on how to keep a beginner motivated enough to keep playing. I think the success of this method depends very largely on the beginner's goals and ambitions.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but your method is largely in favour of using motivation to ensure a person keeps playing. And you build this motivation by providing them with instant gratification by successfully playing something simple in a short amount of time. In my experience, motivation can help keeping interest in something, but it is a very poor substitute for discipline. I would always favour discipline over motivation in learning anything that requires building skill over long periods of time. I think motivation as a complement to discipline is a very good recipe for success. However, as a substitute, it's like a crutch. The moment motivation runs out, the person stops learning.

I enjoy taking up challenging tasks, and then putting in a lot of time and effort into the learning process. For me, the learning process is what builds up to the reward at the end. Without the hard work, I don't think the reward would be as meaningful for me. If I got instant gratification from the piano, I'm not sure that I would have kept up with learning it. There are far better ways to get instant gratification than learning the piano.

I'm only talking about myself, however. I'm not a teacher, so I can't comment on how well your approach would work for the majority of people. Your approach certainly is interesting, especially with the short attention span people have nowadays. I'm especially interested in how you arrived at the 90 day period. Is it through experimentation?
Posted By: malkin Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 05:31 AM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by malkin
You can say "OK Boomer" if you want, but I'm not spending 17 minutes watching your video when I could read a text in considerably less time.

Thanks Koombot for the Cliff Notes.

Based on this thread I have no interest in the TED talk. Post a transcript if you had something important to communicate.

OK Boomer wink

Actually, I think your comment is rather brusque. I don't think it reflects the sort of person you've expressed yourself to be on here, so I'm going to assume we are seeing the "Annoyed Malkin."


Thanks Tyrone. You're right. Long day (week) of dealing with grumpy people. It is certainly time for me to step away from the electronics.
Posted By: Ted Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 07:05 AM
Anything which gives beginners a bit of confidence and gets them playing is good. Having said that, I doubt the particular musical material discussed would have excited me had my teachers proceeded in that way. The only proof of it one way or another would be to see the outcome of its influence on a number of students. As far as the creative aspect goes, beginning improvisation and composition, I just don't think telling pupils what notes to play (almost all internet tutorials seem to do that) is any use because the problem concerns the "how" of playing, getting a natural flow going, rather than the what.

When I was young there was a thing called the Shefte method, which occupied a roughly similar position to these "easy" internet tutorials of today. Trouble was, almost everybody found it too difficult and those who did persevere all ended up sounding the same as a result of being told what notes to play. There used to be a chap on Pianoworld, Edward Weiss, I thought possibly did have a knack of facilitating creative playing in beginners, but he was criticised so vehemently he left. We have to be open to new ideas and look for the merit in them.
Posted By: Antihero Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 10:57 AM

Basically, the concept is:

Instead of focusing on the Fundamentals first, we should focus on "easy wins" early on in the learning process to build motivation, and come back to the Fundamentals later.


I think there is merit to the above statement insofar as it may get some people to become and stay engaged. I started out on YT and have gone on to weekly lessons. I do think there are some less linear/formulaic ways to learn an instrument or pretty much anything else.

Side note: I am averse to sales pitches---motivational speeches---hyperbiole--TED talks---"thought leaders" in general

The video is probably a very good sales tool for many. For me it did not resonate.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 11:45 AM
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!

Zach, the opinions of most of the people responding were that the video was salesy and not geared towards someone who seriously wants to learn how to play piano. It also quite a while to get to the point; you lost me after the first 3 minutes.

I suspect with your catchy hook, some people may be intrigued enough to give it a shot, but I suspect few of those will continue for any significant amount of time, let alone enough time to advance to a decent level.

Originally Posted by Zach Evans

'Well you must be one of the VERY small minority. If you look at the comments in the YouTube video almost EVERY single one is positive, and about how people love the energy.

I think there's just something about piano players on these forums that gets them in this snarky and negative mindset instead of having an open mind about things

Yet somehow, I'm not sure that you were truly interested in our options, as you have responded defensively to most that did not review the video favorably.

I also think that not coming right out and owning up to the fact that it was your video straight off was a turn off for a lot of us.
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Originally Posted by AaronSF


I have grown to dislike TED talks. Always with the hype, like every TED talker has discovered something so monumental and revolutionary that they just have to share it with all of us! Lots of exclamation points!!!!! Endless enthusiasm for themselves and their grand idea that's going to revolutionize...well, whatever. It's frankly exhausting, and rarely actually inspiring...except maybe to the talker themselves or to neophytes who knows nothing about the subject. Same here with Mr. Evans.


I always wonder why there seems to be a high number of *vocal* negative classical pianists compared to pop pianists. I mean, wow what a sin, being EXCITED about what you are doing... as if you "should" be negative, boring and dull all the time.

I have a theory. And this doesn't apply to all classical pianists. In fact, I think it's a select, vocal minority, who have a very negative, snarky tone.

I think these people have practiced YEARS playing classical music, and they get pissed off when someone comes in with much less experience, and is outperforming them for gigs, and the people generally like their music better.

And these few negative, classical pianists just stew and stew in it, in this negative state of anger, and whenever they get a chance they just unleash their jealousy and anger out on whomever they get the chance to.

Just being honest

I just think that there are a lot of angry people out there. I also think that online it's much easier to say things that perhaps you'd be too ashamed to say to someone's face, or you would couch your words so that you don't say it in a mean way. Also, it's very hard to tell tone of voice over the internet, so sometimes the words come across one way when they're not.

I've known a lot of people in the professional classical piano and opera world, and there is a lot of abuse that goes on from an early age: parents forcing their children to excel at everything including piano so they can get in a top school, teachers walking all over their student's musical sensibilities because they obviously can't be worth more than the teachers (sarcasm), and the negative competition between peers for "being the best" all results in some very angry and hardened people. And then they teach, and pass that on to their students or to anyone that threatens (or perceives to threaten) what they've invested all their years of heartache into. It's hard to turn all of that around.
If Zach were to literally do what he says in the presentation - delay giving foundations so that students can be gratified by playing something within a week so they get hooked on practising (such things), that would be problematic. If otoh he is actually sneaking in the seeds leading to foundations, and then brings these in, that is good. The actual problem is the presentation, which seems to suggest the former. Those who know a bit about learning to play an instrument will tend to be alarmed. If they know the 2nd version is what's going on, they (we) would be fine with it.

This premise: You have to get students hooked into practising regularly early so that they stick with it - that is a common idea among teachers, and you'll hear it often.

Secondly: Teachers will often indeed "sneak in" things like theory and technique while they seem to be giving "fun music", in order to get around the attitude of a common kind of novice. So this isn't bad either.

The problem comes when it appears to be "delayed foundations" - we'll worry about them later, first will have fun with some nifty LH pattern: what is presented. The positive things we would want are hidden in the presentation so we get the idea they aren't there.

Some of us have experienced a "no foundations" type of teaching. Then after a glorious fun start everything falls apart more an more, you get strange aches and pains, you suddenly start struggling - because you literally don't have a leg to stand on or an uncluttered floor to dance on. The presentation suggests something like that. The teaching probably is not like that. (I went to the site long ago). The problem is the presentation, for reactions here.
Posted By: bennevis Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 01:22 PM
Well, clicking on the OP's video brought me to a much more entertaining TED Talk 'recommended' by YT, which I watched all the way through - and learnt something from. (Amazing but true whistle)

Here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuIlsN32WaE

Well, any video that combines chemistry, math, surfing and Bondi Beach is, IMO, worth watching. thumb

Unlike - sad to say - the OP's self-promotional, self-advertising puff of a video which turned me off in the first 30 seconds.....
Originally Posted by keystring
If Zach were to literally do what he says in the presentation - delay giving foundations so that students can be gratified by playing something within a week so they get hooked on practising (such things), that would be problematic. If otoh he is actually sneaking in the seeds leading to foundations, and then brings these in, that is good. The actual problem is the presentation, which seems to suggest the former. Those who know a bit about learning to play an instrument will tend to be alarmed. If they know the 2nd version is what's going on, they (we) would be fine with it.

This premise: You have to get students hooked into practising regularly early so that they stick with it - that is a common idea among teachers, and you'll hear it often.

Secondly: Teachers will often indeed "sneak in" things like theory and technique while they seem to be giving "fun music", in order to get around the attitude of a common kind of novice. So this isn't bad either.

The problem comes when it appears to be "delayed foundations" - we'll worry about them later, first will have fun with some nifty LH pattern: what is presented. The positive things we would want are hidden in the presentation so we get the idea they aren't there.

Some of us have experienced a "no foundations" type of teaching. Then after a glorious fun start everything falls apart more an more, you get strange aches and pains, you suddenly start struggling - because you literally don't have a leg to stand on or an uncluttered floor to dance on. The presentation suggests something like that. The teaching probably is not like that. (I went to the site long ago). The problem is the presentation, for reactions here.

I don't think Zach postpones all the meat until later and initially, there is only dessert. For example, for the Miyagi technique, which despite Moo's bellyache about it, I think is a very good video on using arm weight and is edgy and engaging, he describes it as "the best piano exercise for beginners". Certainly this is in line with the Russian piano school's thinking - my wife learned arm weight and curved fingers as the first two things when she attended children's music school in Moscow Russia in the 80's. So Zach is not giving only candy and ice cream up front - he's including meat and veggies too.



I think though that the other members above have a point about Zach not being upfront in claiming ownership of the Ted Talk and about too much marketing zing.

That said, in general, this forum represents only a small cross-section of piano learners. My Millennial daughter who wouldn't be caught dead on any forum because it is "old tech" has no problem in hanging out on Reddit since it is more smartphone-friendly. The kids of a lot of the other members here are probably over on Reddit. I think Zach should definitely try rolling out his Ted Talk on Reddit's r/piano subreddit where there would be more Millennials and fewer Boomers, as the former group would find greater resonance in this video in general. I text messaged this video to my 20-something daughter last night and she watched it on her iPhone and definitely "felt it." "Almost" thought about learning piano. Almost. LOL.

Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by Zach Evans

I think these people have practiced YEARS playing classical music, and they get pissed off when someone comes in with much less experience, and is outperforming them for gigs, and the people generally like their music better.

And these few negative, classical pianists just stew and stew in it, in this negative state of anger, and whenever they get a chance they just unleash their jealousy and anger out on whomever they get the chance to.

Just being honest

.....I've known a lot of people in the professional classical piano and opera world, and there is a lot of abuse that goes on from an early age: parents forcing their children to excel .....


These are probably the kind of people that Zach thinks he's encountering here, and probably encountered them while doing his degree. This is the ABF and if we had that kind of background, we wouldn't be hanging around here. No, that's not it.

The impression the TED talk gives probably does not represent what Zach actually does. He actually has some solid teaching that gives tools. The talk makes it sound like he doesn't. The excited hypy tone makes one expect the magic easy peasy cheap stuff that falls apart in a few months because there is no substance. In fact, the lessons themselves have substance. That doesn't come across in the talk.

I ended up in a devastating (for me) situation where I was zipped ahead with almost no foundations and some shortcuts that ended up being crippling - not knowing this was going on - which caused my ability to play to fall apart, for another instrument. I discovered later that it was lack of foundations - when I had taken lessons FOR those foundations - and that the months of daily struggle after it fell apart could have been avoided. I have fought for the idea of foundations because of what it did to me, and to others I ended up counseling from time to time so they could dig themselves out. So if somebody seems to be saying that they won't give foundations until (much) later - yes, that makes me angry. But it's not from "superiority" or elitism. It's because of a dreadful experience that lasted years. Morodiene, you have probably had to help transfer students who were in a mess due to such things. If so, you will be far from indifferent to such things.

If otoh someone said, "I'm going to give you foundations, but I'll sneak them in so you can keep on having fun" then my attitude would be positive toward it.

And then there is the question of what are foundations. Often they are presented as pieces and exercises (Hanon etc.) instead of actual things like finding your way around the keyboard, getting a feel for moving comfortably, recognizing your chords or whatnot. If someone says "I won't give foundations" but he really means "I won't make you play Hanon and endless scales", then a misunderstanding will occur.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

I don't think Zach postpones all the meat until later and initially, there is only dessert. For example, for the Miyagi technique....


The problem is only the TED talk which suggests that he does. I wouldn't have bothered responding at all had that been the case. I don't waste me time with fly-by-night magic salesmen type of folks who "teach" - but don't. The problem is that the hypy TED talk designed for a different audience gives that impression, and hence the reaction.

The "Miyagi" technique is a cute name for something that pianists know to do. If that's the one I'm thinking of where you let your hand drop via gravity. It's taught. It just doesn't usually get called that.
Originally Posted by keystring
The "Miyagi" technique is a cute name for something that pianists know to do. If that's the one I'm thinking of where you let your hand drop via gravity. It's taught. It just doesn't usually get called that.

Yes, that is arm weight, but giving things cute names helps with people like my daughter. Frankly she would be more likely to watch a video like his Miyagi technique video than some video by Graham Fitch on arm weight. The latter might even have more technical content, but all that is useless for those who don't watch it because it is "boring." In text msgs last night, one of the few ways my Millennial and I have of communicating any more 🙄, she made the funny comment that she would be sold on piano if Zach had some way of combining it with Tinder. 🤣🤣🤣
I watched your TED Talk, and the original "secret sauce" video. I don't really have a problem with the approach, or even the sales-pitch, hyped-up delivery style. It's not my cup of tea, but I don't have a problem with it.

I am strongly in favor of anything that makes piano more accessible to a wider number of people. There are a lot of different kinds of people in the world, this approach is probably just right for a sizeable chunk of people.

The only thing that bothers me, Zach, is that you were less than honest in how you presented yourself in the OP here, and even after being called out on it, you still haven't addressed it or apologized.

And for those of you saying that TED Talks aren't selling anything, make no mistake, clicks on YouTube videos earn money for the YouTuber. Zach, you know that, that's why you're trying to get more people to watch your videos. I suppose it's working though, even I watched (pushing some more pennies your way).
Posted By: David B Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 03:29 PM
I think Zach's Tedx video is designed to be promotional and educational. Evidently, Zach is a piano teacher and I'm sure he would like to build his online or in person student base. The video showcases a principle that helped him personally and one that he has subsequently incorporated into his teaching method. The principle he is espousing is the correlation between motivation and perceived success. That's absolutely true and carries over into other fields of activity. Zach makes an appeal at the end to consider applying this principle to other areas.

The main problems I see are:

1. Zach's lack of transparency in posting the video without identifying himself as the speaker. That's a legitimate concern and has clearly offered opportunity to question his motives.

2. Zach's personality. I'm not sure if the high energy and enthusiasm displayed in the video is just a stage persona or if that's the real Zach everyday. If it's a stage persona, it definitely turns some people off (myself included). As a professional speaker (20 years), I've tried over my professional career to be that same person on stage that I am off. I'm sure there are some careers where a stage persona is necessary (Standup Comic?), but in many instances is resonates as insincere. It seems people are perceiving a stage persona in Zach's video. You would get over the aversion to it if you got to know Zach and found out that it is indeed his everyday personality (I don't know if it is).

The Tedx video is not meant to communicate in detail Zach's teaching pedagogy. Therefore, I feel any concern people have with his teaching method stems from the two aforementioned problems.

God Bless,
David
Originally Posted by David B
As a professional speaker (20 years)

Now that is an interesting fact I didn't know. Your writing skills also are top-notch.
Posted By: EPW Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 04:46 PM
Thanks for sharing David. Can you tell what type of speaking you do.
Have to agree with "newer player" that your writing is also very good.

About the video, I agree with his point and I'm glad it has worked for him. I also didn't like that he hid that it was his video.

My wife made a comment yesterday that I think is interesting. It was about all these videos promising things. As she said if I do each one of them I wouldn't have enough time in the day. Also we were talking about resumes and cover letters too and how every year the experts are telling people to do something new, different.

Anyway Zach hope the videos help you but really you need to be more transparent.

Peace
There are a few motivational speakers including Scott Houston who had the TV series "Piano in a Flash" & "Scott, the Piano Guy" who suggested that adults can learn to play piano.

If you have the attitude of my mother, she wouldn't be picking up a foreign language or a music instrument in her 60s or 70s. The traditional excuse (assumption) is that you need to start at a young age or you need a lot of talent. Once you get pass age 10, it's already too late. Over 50 years ago the Japanese violin educator Shinichi Suzuki suggested that every child had the talent for music (to play an instrument). It's possible to nurture them to play from a young age.

The first priority is to remove the age barrier and encourage older adults to learn music. The next thing is to make music fun and enjoyable. Once I was at a Christmas party. The family has 3 kids. There is an acoustic piano and 2 digital keyboards in the house so each of the kids could practice their music. There were a number of people in the room who took music lessons years ago with the focus on Classical music. When asked if anybody would play a song to show off their music abilities, nobody volunteered. People who took lessons for at least 5 years would not be the first to embarrass himself / herself in front of the group. We're talking about people who didn't come from musical families. Besides going to boring music lessons once a week, their parents can't play anything and kids take music lesson as academic exercises.

After many years the kids now grown adults hate playing and instrument and would never play in front of anybody. For the past decade, I've been part of a music group. Everybody enjoy playing music. We practice in a church every week. Naturally I had access to church hymns. There are pieces I'd learn in a few days like "The Mighty Fortress is Our God", "Abide in Me" & "O Come Divine Messiah" that people would recognize. Church music in 4-part harmonies isn't exactly what people considered as fun pieces to play but do catch the attention of a lot of people.

My mother is old-fashioned. You can get her to go to Spanish class for the next 10 years and she would only be able to say a few simple words like "good morning", "thank you", "hello" sort of thing but would not be able to ask for directions. There are people in my family that grew up with the notion you can take music lessons for 10 years and not be able to play a simple song in front of other people.
Posted By: Sidokar Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 04:58 PM
Originally Posted by David B


The Tedx video is not meant to communicate in detail Zach's teaching pedagogy. Therefore, I feel any concern people have with his teaching method stems from the two aforementioned problems.

God Bless,
David



I would concurr with you on your 2 identified issues. I think there is a little more than that though. Probably that the audience of this particular forum is not well suited for the style conveyed by Zach. Most people here know that it is hard (yet rewarding) to learn piano, it takes effort and patience and they are willing to practice, so a few quick wins wont make a big difference. So the video seems rather simplistic. I do not see 90 days as being a particular threshold of any sort. I would think it is rather around the first year. Then I do not see why it is incompatible to start easy pieces with also doing some fundamentals. Most teachers would anyway adapt their method to each student.

The video is for sure a catchy one for building customer base and so is likely the purpose for posting it here; nothing wrong with that. But I would say for 17 minutes of video, there is not a lot of content in there so clearly the video is not intended for detailed presentation. So as a communication vehicle, I would say that it generally missed its target with this audience, both in style and in content. But it may be quite successful with another public.
Posted By: Moo :) Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 05:16 PM
No one liked it then 🐝 🐝 🐝. I think we have stung him enough. I did want to know what some others think of miyagi technique video for beginners. Actually Tyrone my teacher has ‘Russian technique’ . I don’t know exactly what this means but I presume there are differences in Russian pianists and teachers. I have been taught landings differently to how he advertises so it looks incorrect to me. Also not as a beginner and I had two teachers who never taught me landings. I have been taught to not make unnecessary movements so whilst I might drop from rach C sharp minor prelude at the start it is not the preferred technique and I use it more rarely. I would normally project sound whilst my hands are on keys. Others thoughts?
Posted By: EPW Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 05:56 PM
I wouldn't say I didn't like it Moo. I actually did for what the video was. My problem is when I found out The poster and video were the same person without being upfront about it. Several folks called him on it and he just brushed that part off. "Hey guys I made a mistake and in the way I worded the title" and for me all would of been fine.

If the video helps someone stick with piano that is great and I hope Zach has continued success.
Posted By: David B Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 06:01 PM
Originally Posted by EPW
Thanks for sharing David. Can you tell what type of speaking you do.


A full-time Christian Pastor and Teacher since 1999.

Quote
Have to agree with "newer player" that your writing is also very good.


Thank God for spellcheck. smile

God Bless,
David
Posted By: EPW Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 06:21 PM
That explains why you want to get to that Gospel style playing smile
Originally Posted by Moo :)
did want to know what some others think of miyagi technique video for beginners.

The idea of flopping the arm, using gravity etc., is not unique to Zach. Maybe somebody can find the Barbara-Lister Sink video: she's wearing her blue dress, and is attending to a seated student, and lifts that student's limp arm to flop onto her lap. Ah, here it is.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjSWu8ZADzI

I worked with some of this kind of thing myself, because my technique was a mess after returning from my childhood self-teaching 35 years later.

This stuff is tricky. The idea of "total relaxation" is wrong, and a lot of people got caught out in that in both violin and piano maybe 15 or 20 years ago. We have moments of tension or resistance, moments of allowing gravity (how much) - no, we do not tightly curve the nail joint (which one might think seeing Zach's video, but it's not what he's doing). It is an element of playing. Everything is about balance. That's why technique for a musical instrument may seem contradictory, because there are so many sides to it.

The same idea of the relaxed arm that works with gravity is taught by one of my favourite people in the violin world, Daniel Olsen. For part of what he does or did, is to travel to poor areas and teach there. In this one, he is teaching the same arm flop to a group of white clad nuns.
https://youtu.be/gyCU0rD39OI?t=25

The principles are there. You have to play with the principles and find what works, preferably with your teacher - any "how to" - even a good one - can mess you up if done the wrong way or in exaggeration for too long.
Posted By: EPW Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 06:29 PM
My Wife's parish where she attended while growing up had the music director and his brother who his a priest and also played organ. When he was in town he used to give the regular priest a break and would do a mass or two. The priest and music director would play together and my wife said it was an experience to listen to and at the same time the music fit the mass.
Posted By: Moo :) Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 06:49 PM
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Moo :)
did want to know what some others think of miyagi technique video for beginners.

The idea of flopping the arm, using gravity etc., is not unique to Zach. Maybe somebody can find the Barbara-Lister Sink video: she's wearing her blue dress, and is attending to a seated student, and lifts that student's limp arm to flop onto her lap. Ah, here it is.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjSWu8ZADzI


That video is what i was taught with landing. it just up and down movement with the bodyweight. the miyagi video was however different. it was moving elbows outward. it is not what i was taught and i never heard this before so i did not understand it. i have however seen many lengthy debates on techniqu. i generally i do not listen since i stick to what i know since it appears to work. i do agree that any change in technique creates an element of confusion and so you need a teacher to tell you when to use them to get what sound. this is my main issue with youtube videos as a resource and why i think they are more unhelpful than helpful.
Posted By: enw10 Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 07:11 PM
Originally Posted by David B


The main problems I see are:

1. Zach's lack of transparency in posting the video without identifying himself as the speaker. That's a legitimate concern and has clearly offered opportunity to question his motives.



I agree. This was definitely my main problem. It seems sneaky and blows your credibility.

I don't have an issue with your enthusiasm or your content. For the right audience, it's probably the best way. However, I think your target audience is in their teens and 20s, which you won't find many (any?) of here. I teach both adults and children (not music), and I definitely tailor my enthusiasm accordingly. Not that I'm negative and boring with adults, but there comes a point where that much energy is just exhausting for them. Considering the content of the video, I think the energy level was appropriate.

I wouldn't be interested in your program because if I lacked motivation, I wouldn't be spending my time or money on piano lessons. I appreciate that my teacher tries to keep me motivated, but I don't rely on her for it. I don't need her to make piano more fun. As an adult, if it wasn't fun, I wouldn't do it. Things would probably be different if I was being forced to take lessons by a parent, or if I was learning to impress someone. Neither of those scenarios are likely for older adults.
Originally Posted by Moo :)
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Moo :)
did want to know what some others think of miyagi technique video for beginners.
The idea of flopping the arm, using gravity etc., is not unique to Zach. Maybe somebody can find the Barbara-Lister Sink video: she's wearing her blue dress, and is attending to a seated student, and lifts that student's limp arm to flop onto her lap. Ah, here it is.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OjSWu8ZADzI
That video is what i was taught with landing. it just up and down movement with the bodyweight. the miyagi video was however different. it was moving elbows outward. it is not what i was taught and i never heard this before so i did not understand it. i have however seen many lengthy debates on techniqu. i generally i do not listen since i stick to what i know since it appears to work. i do agree that any change in technique creates an element of confusion and so you need a teacher to tell you when to use them to get what sound. this is my main issue with youtube videos as a resource and why i think they are more unhelpful than helpful.

Very timely, but as we are arguing the correctness of arm weight, chopin_r_us just posted their paper on arm weight in early music!
Posted By: wszxbcl Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 07:50 PM
On my piano I have a Chopin doll. When I push his rather big nose he says "Laissez tomber les Mains." That's what he taught his students. I need constant reminding.
Posted By: LarryK Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 08:17 PM
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
On my piano I have a Chopin doll. When I push his rather big nose he says "Laissez tomber les Mains." That's what he taught his students. I need constant reminding.


Where do you buy that?
I find it very difficult to believe any public speaker is the same in person. They are normally trying to convince or sell you something, but my training for a certain company may have jaded me. We were taught to speak and write in certain ways, as to make someone more comfortable with the end result of them aligning with your position (to sell, agree with your point of view, etc). It's as if they were teaching us Jedi mind tricks or something, so now when I hear other people speaking to me the same, I just assume they are lying, lol.

As for Zach's video, I have no issue with it other than that I can't get the secret sauce pattern to sound good with Chopin - Polonaise In G Minor. But I'll keep trying ;0

He did mention that he got into the college level piano program from 2 years of YouTube, but isn't college level intended ARCT level people, or does that happen after college (like piano grad school)?
Posted By: TonyB Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 08:32 PM
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
On my piano I have a Chopin doll. When I push his rather big nose he says "Laissez tomber les Mains." That's what he taught his students. I need constant reminding.

I would expect folks here in the US to have a police doll that says "Lâchez votre arme". smile

Tony
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Very timely, but as we are arguing the correctness of arm weight,chopin_r_us just posted their paper on arm weight in early music[/url
!

You where you were quoting my conversation, I was not arguing about anything, and "we" (s/he and I) weren't. wink. I was exploring one particular element because it came up as a question. I am familiar with cru. I proposed some thoughts on it. Any thoughts on the thoughts?
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
He did mention that he got into the college level piano program from 2 years of YouTube, but isn't college level intended ARCT level people, or does that happen after college (like piano grad school)?

Based on what I have read, the equivalent of ABRSM Grade 8 / RCM Grade 10 is enough to be able to prepare a set of recital pieces for audition for many piano performance programs, except the elite programs (Juilliard, Curtis, Eastman, etc.) Some students get to a slightly higher level before applying. My sister was diploma/ARCT level (she did it in 7 years total) when she was accepted to Jacobs at IU for piano performance, but she decided to just do it as a minor. Everything comes down to your performance in the audition though.

I was talking to someone on Reddit's r/piano subreddit who is at a European conservatory who did a 2-year crash course in piano and was accepted. An ex-PW member who was at the conservatory in Hungary mentioned in her class was also a "famous" student who only had 2 years training before being accepted. And Brendan Hawksley was accepted to two piano performance programs in the UK after a year (but not self-teaching). So this does happen, but it is rare.
Posted By: David B Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 09:08 PM
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
On my piano I have a Chopin doll. When I push his rather big nose he says "Laissez tomber les Mains." That's what he taught his students. I need constant reminding.


Google translate has it as "give up hands." Is that correct, and if so, what does it mean? Thanks.

God Bless,
David
Posted By: LarryK Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 09:13 PM
Originally Posted by David B
Originally Posted by wszxbcl
On my piano I have a Chopin doll. When I push his rather big nose he says "Laissez tomber les Mains." That's what he taught his students. I need constant reminding.


Google translate has it as "give up hands." Is that correct, and if so, what does it mean? Thanks.

God Bless,
David


It means “drop your hands.” My wife is French and told me so.
Posted By: David B Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 09:15 PM
Originally Posted by EPW
That explains why you want to get to that Gospel style playing smile


10 mores lessons and I'll be done with the 52 Week Crash Course and then I'll be ready for the Praise the Gospel course. thumbyippie

God Bless,
David
Originally Posted by David B
Originally Posted by EPW
That explains why you want to get to that Gospel style playing smile
10 mores lessons and I'll be done with the 52 Week Crash Course and then I'll be ready for the Praise the Gospel course. thumbyippie

You should start a separate thread for that too when you start the praise course!

Are you planning on doing any of Duane Shinn's other courses in parallel with the praise course? For example, the one where he wants you to work with each key for month before moving on to the next key?
Posted By: David B Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 09:36 PM
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop

You should start a separate thread for that too when you start the praise course!


Perhaps I will. However, I'm a bit reluctant because I don't think my piano journey is particularly interesting.

The Crash Course thread was already going strong before I acquired the materials. Currently I'm not aware of anyone else who is engaged in the Praise and Gospel series. So if I start a thread it will only be about me. That makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Quote
Are you planning on doing any of Duane Shinn's other courses in parallel with the praise course? For example, the one where he wants you to work with each key for month before moving on to the next key?


I do have his Pro Secrets course and would like to run that concurrently with the Praise and Gospel series. It's basically one technique drilled one hour a day for 30 days. It's three years worth of techniques following that format. The only problem is that he starts with straddles and they are so hard. I wish he would have started with an easier technique.

God Bless,
David
Posted By: Jytte Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/09/19 10:16 PM
Originally Posted by EPW
That explains why you want to get to that Gospel style playing smile

I'm not what anyone would call religious, but I love Gospel too smile
Originally Posted by David B
Perhaps I will. However, I'm a bit reluctant because I don't think my piano journey is particularly interesting.

The Crash Course thread was already going strong before I acquired the materials. Currently I'm not aware of anyone else who is engaged in the Praise and Gospel series. So if I start a thread it will only be about me. That makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Diaries are sometimes interesting to read (published diaries) not because they contain extraordinary events, but because of how ordinary they are sometimes.

I think a number of us here on PW visit the 52-week thread not out of any interest for the method but to catch your latest video. So please don't be put off about posting a thread just because no one else is working on the series. As you realize, since D.S. intended his Praise series to come after the 52 week course, the bar on that course is incredibly high, so even in the best case, there would never be that many people taking any course that comes after 52-weeks. smile
Originally Posted by Moo :)
That video is what i was taught with landing. it just up and down movement with the bodyweight. the miyagi video was however different. it was moving elbows outward. ....

Ah, I see what you're saying. You've learned to pay attention to details, with the good teacher you have. I'd say that these videos give an approximation of an idea for someone who hasn't learned anything anywhere. It may be better than nothing. Or not.
Posted By: EPW Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/10/19 01:03 AM
Quote
Perhaps I will. However, I'm a bit reluctant because I don't think my piano journey is particularly interesting.


I think you would be surprise David how many would tune in to see your progress cool
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!

Zach, the opinions of most of the people responding were that the video was salesy and not geared towards someone who seriously wants to learn how to play piano. It also quite a while to get to the point; you lost me after the first 3 minutes.

I suspect with your catchy hook, some people may be intrigued enough to give it a shot, but I suspect few of those will continue for any significant amount of time, let alone enough time to advance to a decent level.

Originally Posted by Zach Evans

'Well you must be one of the VERY small minority. If you look at the comments in the YouTube video almost EVERY single one is positive, and about how people love the energy.

I think there's just something about piano players on these forums that gets them in this snarky and negative mindset instead of having an open mind about things

Yet somehow, I'm not sure that you were truly interested in our options, as you have responded defensively to most that did not review the video favorably.

I also think that not coming right out and owning up to the fact that it was your video straight off was a turn off for a lot of us.


Hey, yea, you're probably right, I may have come across as defensive, I apologize for that. I spent 4 months crafting and perfecting the talk, so maybe I'm a little uppity about it.

I guess I just get frustrated when people knock the content of a video because of things like "do you HEAR the way he talks?"

It's ironic, because I feel like what I'm saying is just excitement, because, well, I get really excited about teaching this stuff! I still remember when I was teaching myself, and I'd get so frustrated, and then suddenly I'd figure out a new way to practice and it's like BOOM it clicks!! I still remember the feeling, and I want to be able to give it to others.

And the irony is that I've gotten a ton of comments from people (especially on YouTube) saying the main reason they like my videos to learn is BECAUSE of my energy, it's contagious and it motivates them. In fact if you look at the YouTube comments right now that's what almost all of them are saying.

And I get it, my style isn't for everyone. And if you want to critique the content, that's great, those are the discussions I want to have. Not about the volume I speak at, I mean come on!

And I guess what really sent me over the edge is when people are acting like the only reason I did the talk was to try to sell something. My site is called Piano University. My course is called the Piano Superhuman course. I didn't mention either one of those in the talk, and I INTENTIONALLY didn't mention them because I didn't want people to think I was just trying to sell them.

I have 44 free, completely FREE videos on my YouTube channel. And on top of that, I have a completely FREE course on my website with 21 lessons in it. That's 65 lessons I have completely free. And I spent a TON of time and energy creating them, and a ton of money buying all the recording gear, software, audio equipment, etc to record them.

And after ALL of that, yes I do offer a paid course. Am I going to try to make a living doing what I'm passionate about? Absolutely! Yet I feel like, in this forum specifically, I'm constantly being knocked for "trying to make a buck". If people don't buy anything, that's fine! Most people don't, and if they watch all 65 lessons and never purchase a course, that's great! I still got to help someone along their piano journey. And if they email me with a question, I answer it and try to help people out whether or not they purchase a course.

I guess it just gets to me sometimes when you put in so much work and effort and energy into something, give it all you have, and someone just writes back "this guy's a snake oil salesman". It's just tough sometimes.

But maybe I'm just talking to the wrong crowd here, maybe you're right.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/10/19 03:10 AM
Originally Posted by Zach Evans


Hey, yea, you're probably right, I may have come across as defensive, I apologize for that. I spent 4 months crafting and perfecting the talk, so maybe I'm a little uppity about it.

I guess I just get frustrated when people knock the content of a video because of things like "do you HEAR the way he talks?"

It's ironic, because I feel like what I'm saying is just excitement, because, well, I get really excited about teaching this stuff! I still remember when I was teaching myself, and I'd get so frustrated, and then suddenly I'd figure out a new way to practice and it's like BOOM it clicks!! I still remember the feeling, and I want to be able to give it to others.

And the irony is that I've gotten a ton of comments from people (especially on YouTube) saying the main reason they like my videos to learn is BECAUSE of my energy, it's contagious and it motivates them. In fact if you look at the YouTube comments right now that's what almost all of them are saying.

And I get it, my style isn't for everyone. And if you want to critique the content, that's great, those are the discussions I want to have. Not about the volume I speak at, I mean come on!

And I guess what really sent me over the edge is when people are acting like the only reason I did the talk was to try to sell something. My site is called Piano University. My course is called the Piano Superhuman course. I didn't mention either one of those in the talk, and I INTENTIONALLY didn't mention them because I didn't want people to think I was just trying to sell them.

I have 44 free, completely FREE videos on my YouTube channel. And on top of that, I have a completely FREE course on my website with 21 lessons in it. That's 65 lessons I have completely free. And I spent a TON of time and energy creating them, and a ton of money buying all the recording gear, software, audio equipment, etc to record them.

And after ALL of that, yes I do offer a paid course. Am I going to try to make a living doing what I'm passionate about? Absolutely! Yet I feel like, in this forum specifically, I'm constantly being knocked for "trying to make a buck". If people don't buy anything, that's fine! Most people don't, and if they watch all 65 lessons and never purchase a course, that's great! I still got to help someone along their piano journey. And if they email me with a question, I answer it and try to help people out whether or not they purchase a course.

I guess it just gets to me sometimes when you put in so much work and effort and energy into something, give it all you have, and someone just writes back "this guy's a snake oil salesman". It's just tough sometimes.

But maybe I'm just talking to the wrong crowd here, maybe you're right.

Now that was honest! And I appreciate it...truly! That's the kind of upfront and honest discussion we appreciate! And the truth is, it's awesome that you have a passion for piano (as of course we all do here) and are making a go at making a living off it. It's tough to do, I'm sure.

And the truth is, your approach in that video, with the 9th chord, is a nice hook, and achievable with a little practice. I started out wanting to play rock and pop, the only genre's with which I was familiar, but drifted towards classical as it became obvious that this was the path in which I could truly learn and advance, from an academic standpoint. That was my main goal (#dementiaprevention). From there I began to love classical piano, and now I'm hooked. But before I got here, I would have loved to learn with your method, as it allows one to play music quickly, and I'm sure you can build a nice skill set after watching some videos.

So, in the future, why not just come out and say, hey, I made this video geared towards beginners, it's got some innovative ideas to get people playing some cool stuff right away. I know it's not for the set that's learning sheet reading form the traditional standpoint, but let me know what you think? I'll bet the discussion would have gone differently.

Keep it up. I'm glad you're passionate and sharing!
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Originally Posted by cmb13
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!

Zach, the opinions of most of the people responding were that the video was salesy and not geared towards someone who seriously wants to learn how to play piano. It also quite a while to get to the point; you lost me after the first 3 minutes.

I suspect with your catchy hook, some people may be intrigued enough to give it a shot, but I suspect few of those will continue for any significant amount of time, let alone enough time to advance to a decent level.

Originally Posted by Zach Evans

'Well you must be one of the VERY small minority. If you look at the comments in the YouTube video almost EVERY single one is positive, and about how people love the energy.

I think there's just something about piano players on these forums that gets them in this snarky and negative mindset instead of having an open mind about things

Yet somehow, I'm not sure that you were truly interested in our options, as you have responded defensively to most that did not review the video favorably.

I also think that not coming right out and owning up to the fact that it was your video straight off was a turn off for a lot of us.


Hey, yea, you're probably right, I may have come across as defensive, I apologize for that. I spent 4 months crafting and perfecting the talk, so maybe I'm a little uppity about it.

I guess I just get frustrated when people knock the content of a video because of things like "do you HEAR the way he talks?"

It's ironic, because I feel like what I'm saying is just excitement, because, well, I get really excited about teaching this stuff! I still remember when I was teaching myself, and I'd get so frustrated, and then suddenly I'd figure out a new way to practice and it's like BOOM it clicks!! I still remember the feeling, and I want to be able to give it to others.

And the irony is that I've gotten a ton of comments from people (especially on YouTube) saying the main reason they like my videos to learn is BECAUSE of my energy, it's contagious and it motivates them. In fact if you look at the YouTube comments right now that's what almost all of them are saying.

And I get it, my style isn't for everyone. And if you want to critique the content, that's great, those are the discussions I want to have. Not about the volume I speak at, I mean come on!

And I guess what really sent me over the edge is when people are acting like the only reason I did the talk was to try to sell something. My site is called Piano University. My course is called the Piano Superhuman course. I didn't mention either one of those in the talk, and I INTENTIONALLY didn't mention them because I didn't want people to think I was just trying to sell them.

I have 44 free, completely FREE videos on my YouTube channel. And on top of that, I have a completely FREE course on my website with 21 lessons in it. That's 65 lessons I have completely free. And I spent a TON of time and energy creating them, and a ton of money buying all the recording gear, software, audio equipment, etc to record them.

And after ALL of that, yes I do offer a paid course. Am I going to try to make a living doing what I'm passionate about? Absolutely! Yet I feel like, in this forum specifically, I'm constantly being knocked for "trying to make a buck". If people don't buy anything, that's fine! Most people don't, and if they watch all 65 lessons and never purchase a course, that's great! I still got to help someone along their piano journey. And if they email me with a question, I answer it and try to help people out whether or not they purchase a course.

I guess it just gets to me sometimes when you put in so much work and effort and energy into something, give it all you have, and someone just writes back "this guy's a snake oil salesman". It's just tough sometimes.

But maybe I'm just talking to the wrong crowd here, maybe you're right.

Now I think that is the right tone thumb
Quote
Hey, yea, you're probably right, I may have come across as defensive, I apologize for that. I spent 4 months crafting and perfecting the talk, so maybe I'm a little uppity about it.

I guess I just get frustrated when people knock the content of a video because of things like "do you HEAR the way he talks?"

It's ironic, because I feel like what I'm saying is just excitement, because, well, I get really excited about teaching this stuff! I still remember when I was teaching myself, and I'd get so frustrated, and then suddenly I'd figure out a new way to practice and it's like BOOM it clicks!! I still remember the feeling, and I want to be able to give it to others.

And the irony is that I've gotten a ton of comments from people (especially on YouTube) saying the main reason they like my videos to learn is BECAUSE of my energy, it's contagious and it motivates them. In fact if you look at the YouTube comments right now that's what almost all of them are saying.

And I get it, my style isn't for everyone. And if you want to critique the content, that's great, those are the discussions I want to have. Not about the volume I speak at, I mean come on!

And I guess what really sent me over the edge is when people are acting like the only reason I did the talk was to try to sell something. My site is called Piano University. My course is called the Piano Superhuman course. I didn't mention either one of those in the talk, and I INTENTIONALLY didn't mention them because I didn't want people to think I was just trying to sell them.

I have 44 free, completely FREE videos on my YouTube channel. And on top of that, I have a completely FREE course on my website with 21 lessons in it. That's 65 lessons I have completely free. And I spent a TON of time and energy creating them, and a ton of money buying all the recording gear, software, audio equipment, etc to record them.

And after ALL of that, yes I do offer a paid course. Am I going to try to make a living doing what I'm passionate about? Absolutely! Yet I feel like, in this forum specifically, I'm constantly being knocked for "trying to make a buck". If people don't buy anything, that's fine! Most people don't, and if they watch all 65 lessons and never purchase a course, that's great! I still got to help someone along their piano journey. And if they email me with a question, I answer it and try to help people out whether or not they purchase a course.

I guess it just gets to me sometimes when you put in so much work and effort and energy into something, give it all you have, and someone just writes back "this guy's a snake oil salesman". It's just tough sometimes.

But maybe I'm just talking to the wrong crowd here, maybe you're right.


Not really sure why there's so much hate on Zach. I never heard of him until now and maybe some YouTube suggestions/ads that only now I can kind of remember (super human thing rings a bell). The message quoted above pretty much explains everything.

You have to realise that literally everyone here would probably classify in the top 1% of "pianists", where in this instance, I define "pianists" as someone who told themselves "I want to learn the piano one day". Amongst those people (which are probably in the millions), everyone here would be in the top 1%.

His message is targeted to that other 99% (the people loving his enthusiasm, the simplicity, basically loving everything that the "1%" doesn't). Those are the people that walk by a public piano and pull out their phone to record because some random person plays Valse d'amelie very badly, not the people who have teachers and spend a significant amount of time on a niche forum amongst thousands of hours practicing 2 liszt etudes.

Remember, not everyone intends to play the hungarian rhapsody no2 or prokofiev sonatas or the whole WTC book from memory one day. If you do, get a teacher, you won't get there through a Youtube ted talk.

I am in no way biased to Zach's approach. Although I am a beginner still (<2 years and just about to take grade 5 so nowhere near advanced repertoire), I would not use any of his courses as they're simply not targeted to me. HOWEVER, if my cousin/mum/grandma/that friend of work/etc would come to me ask for advice on how to play piano, I would surely not recommend Josh Wright's tutorial on Chopin's Ballade no 3 (Josh being the type of person I would watch) but rather send them across to Zach. Again, not saying Zach isn't a good pianist. Having skimmed through this page here I can see that he studied with a top teacher at a musical school so that says a lot.

That being said Zach, I think it would've made life a lot easier for everyone if you posted all of that stuff quoted above in the first post rather than just say "what do you all think" and hope people will realise who your target audience really is and your intentions. Keep the enthusiasm up wink
Originally Posted by Peter Hontaru
Not really sure why there's so much hate on Zach. I never heard of him until now and maybe some YouTube suggestions/ads that only now I can kind of remember (super human thing rings a bell). The message quoted above pretty much explains everything.

You have to realise that literally everyone here would probably classify in the top 1% of "pianists", where in this instance, I define "pianists" as someone who told themselves "I want to learn the piano one day". Amongst those people (which are probably in the millions), everyone here would be in the top 1%.

His message is targeted to that other 99% (the people loving his enthusiasm, the simplicity, basically loving everything that the "1%" doesn't). Those are the people that walk by a public piano and pull out their phone to record because some random person plays Valse d'amelie very badly, not the people who have teachers and spend a significant amount of time on a niche forum amongst thousands of hours practicing 2 liszt etudes.

Remember, not everyone intends to play the hungarian rhapsody no2 or prokofiev sonatas or the whole WTC book from memory one day. If you do, get a teacher, you won't get there through a Youtube ted talk.

I am in no way biased to Zach's approach. Although I am a beginner still (<2 years and just about to take grade 5 so nowhere near advanced repertoire), I would not use any of his courses as they're simply not targeted to me. HOWEVER, if my cousin/mum/grandma/that friend of work/etc would come to me ask for advice on how to play piano, I would surely not recommend Josh Wright's tutorial on Chopin's Ballade no 3 (Josh being the type of person I would watch) but rather send them across to Zach. Again, not saying Zach isn't a good pianist. Having skimmed through this page here I can see that he studied with a top teacher at a musical school so that says a lot.

+1 to everything you said.

Originally Posted by Peter Hontaru
That being said Zach, I think it would've made life a lot easier for everyone if you posted all of that stuff quoted above in the first post rather than just say "what do you all think" and hope people will realise who your target audience really is and your intentions. Keep the enthusiasm up wink

And a special +1!
Posted By: Stubbie Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/10/19 02:45 PM
Originally Posted by Peter Hontaru
......
You have to realise that literally everyone here would probably classify in the top 1% of "pianists", where in this instance, I define "pianists" as someone who told themselves "I want to learn the piano one day". Amongst those people (which are probably in the millions), everyone here would be in the top 1%.

His message is targeted to that other 99% (the people loving his enthusiasm, the simplicity, basically loving everything that the "1%" doesn't). Those are the people that walk by a public piano and pull out their phone to record because some random person plays Valse d'amelie very badly, not the people who have teachers and spend a significant amount of time on a niche forum amongst thousands of hours practicing 2 liszt etudes........
If that is the case (that PW is a niche forum for the 1%), then (by your argument) the OP erred in judgement by posting here in the first place.

I don't think this forum is the one percenters by any stretch. It's a pretty big tent, in fact. You can like the linked talk or not, that's up to each person. The lack of full disclosure in the first post put off a fair number of people. Opinion on the content has varied.
Ok yea, I'm realizing a few things. I think the biggest thing is there's just a miscommunication in the fact that, for one, the talk is meant mostly for beginners.

Two, it's not supposed to be a complete talk on "how to get good at piano" but rather a talk meant at taking one singular idea (using a quick win somewhere at the beginning of the learning process). This is very typical of the TEDx Talk format, where you have 18 minutes, and if you've seen other talks, the goal is to convey one single point, and expand on that point with stories, humor, and metaphor. I came in assuming people would know that, but there's no reason someone would automatically expect that straight away.

I apologize for any nastiness I caused, I did feel a bit triggered. At the end of the day we're all on the same team. We're all out here trying to learn, and help people learn to play this beautiful instrument and I think when you get a bunch of passionate people in the same place things can get opinionated, but hey at the end of the day we're all trying to do the same thing.
Posted By: cmb13 Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/10/19 06:12 PM
🍻
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Ok yea, I'm realizing a few things. I think the biggest thing is there's just a miscommunication in the fact that, for one, the talk is meant mostly for beginners.

Two, it's not supposed to be a complete talk on "how to get good at piano" but rather a talk meant at taking one singular idea (using a quick win somewhere at the beginning of the learning process). This is very typical of the TEDx Talk format, where you have 18 minutes, and if you've seen other talks, the goal is to convey one single point, and expand on that point with stories, humor, and metaphor. I came in assuming people would know that, but there's no reason someone would automatically expect that straight away.

I apologize for any nastiness I caused, I did feel a bit triggered. At the end of the day we're all on the same team. We're all out here trying to learn, and help people learn to play this beautiful instrument and I think when you get a bunch of passionate people in the same place things can get opinionated, but hey at the end of the day we're all trying to do the same thing.

I think the toughest thing is to take criticism on something you put so much effort into. As I'm learning, it's a delicate balance between being thick-skinned, being humble enough to listen to the reasonable responses, and wise enough to identify the unreasonable ones. And then, of course, deciding what you take with you to your next video, and what you discard.

It looks like you have found a nice niche for yourself, so I don't think you necessarily need to change what you're doing. Best of luck!
Originally Posted by Zach Evans
Ok yea, I'm realizing a few things. I think the biggest thing is there's just a miscommunication in the fact that, for one, the talk is meant mostly for beginners.

Zach, I wrote from the point of view of the beginner I once was. The problem was the format, what Ted wants, probably the buzz words they want to get views and so on. You do in fact give foundations, which you sneak into that very first thing you mention in the talk. The talk itself suggests that foundation are horrible things - and that is not what you do. When I had lesson first time round, it was "traditional" but somehow foundations were woefully lacking even after several years. So foundations became important for me, because the falling apart that happened was devastating and unnecessary. It is NOT what you are saying. Does this make sense? This is what triggered me.
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by Peter Hontaru
Not really sure why there's so much hate on Zach. I never heard of him until now and maybe some YouTube suggestions/ads that only now I can kind of remember (super human thing rings a bell). The message quoted above pretty much explains everything.

You have to realise that literally everyone here would probably classify in the top 1% of "pianists", where in this instance, I define "pianists" as someone who told themselves "I want to learn the piano one day". Amongst those people (which are probably in the millions), everyone here would be in the top 1%.

His message is targeted to that other 99% (the people loving his enthusiasm, the simplicity, basically loving everything that the "1%" doesn't). Those are the people that walk by a public piano and pull out their phone to record because some random person plays Valse d'amelie very badly, not the people who have teachers and spend a significant amount of time on a niche forum amongst thousands of hours practicing 2 liszt etudes.

Remember, not everyone intends to play the hungarian rhapsody no2 or prokofiev sonatas or the whole WTC book from memory one day. If you do, get a teacher, you won't get there through a Youtube ted talk.

I am in no way biased to Zach's approach. Although I am a beginner still (<2 years and just about to take grade 5 so nowhere near advanced repertoire), I would not use any of his courses as they're simply not targeted to me. HOWEVER, if my cousin/mum/grandma/that friend of work/etc would come to me ask for advice on how to play piano, I would surely not recommend Josh Wright's tutorial on Chopin's Ballade no 3 (Josh being the type of person I would watch) but rather send them across to Zach. Again, not saying Zach isn't a good pianist. Having skimmed through this page here I can see that he studied with a top teacher at a musical school so that says a lot.

+1 to everything you said.

Originally Posted by Peter Hontaru
That being said Zach, I think it would've made life a lot easier for everyone if you posted all of that stuff quoted above in the first post rather than just say "what do you all think" and hope people will realise who your target audience really is and your intentions. Keep the enthusiasm up wink

And a special +1!



+2 to both points!
Posted By: facdo Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/10/19 11:12 PM
I agree with Peter Hontaru, I don't get why people here were so upset about Zach sharing his TEDx talk here. To me, it didn't sound like he was trying to sell something or get more viewers to his video. It looked like he is legitimately passioned about piano and he wanted to share what to him is a better approach for teaching and keeping students motivated. I watched the whole video and I can see that it can be appealing to a complete beginner, but it is not convincing to more experient players.

In my opinion, there is no "magic bullet" that works for motivating everybody, because people have different goals and are "hooked" into something for different reasons. I think having "easy wins" are important to keep motivation, but those should not be the same thing for everybody. I am mostly interested in classical music, that accompaniment pattern that Zach shows has no effect in me whatsoever. I much rather learn some easy Bach Menuet than to play simple melodies with that LH arpeggio.

I think a very good teacher is able to understand their student goals and come up with tailored motivation strategies to them, instead of having a "one size fits in all" approach, that only works for a certain niche of students and only up to some point. But I don't know, I can't relate to the unmotivated student, as I am highly motivated to learn. So to me it is more important to learn properly, even if that takes a lot of time. To me getting the "information" is more important than the motivation, as I already have that (otherwise I wouldn't bother learning piano). But even so, I think it is important to have those "easy wins" along the entire journey, as only working on challenging stuff can be very overwhelming. But those "easy wins" should be adapted to the student preferences, goals, and level. Anyway, that is what I think about Zach's approach, as he asked for our opinion.
I haven't read all the posts so I'm commenting on just the first post. It's been so long since I started studying piano it's hard to put myself in the mind of a beginner whether adult or young person. But I think what the OP said makes sense.

OTOH I think it's possible that an adult would be patient enough to wait a little while before playing songs they enjoyed as long as it was explained to them that the wait wouldn't be too long and learning the fundamentals of playing piano would be beneficial and quicker in the long run.

I have a lot of teaching experience as a math teacher for 40 years and a tennis teacher for 10 years. I'm not sure there is any secret sauce for teaching algebra or geometry. It's far easier to motivate someone who is taking tennis lessons because they are mostly choosing to take lessons and they immediately get to hit balls.

The main point of my post is about what I've been doing recently which is teaching mental math and arithmetic tricks/shortcuts to a very smart adult who did poorly in high school math. I've never taught this before(it was his request) and didn't even know there were hundreds of books on this topic(just do a search on Amazon). I have to learn everything i teach him for the first time myself.

Most of the books start with the equivalent of a secret sauce in the first chapter, simple math shortcuts or tricks that anyone can learn quickly(multiply any number by 11, multiplying by 25 quickly, multiplying any close together two digit numbers in your head, subtracting two or three digit numbers quickly in your head, etc.) One book began by having the students try 20 problems in a two minutes and saying how after reading the book they could easily do them all correctly in that time(most people could only do around five correctly without learning shortcuts).
Originally Posted by Cocorbett
People evaluating the rate of progress he promises should consider if you are a person who would get admitted to studying piano in college level after two years of youtube self-study, or not. If yes, then maybe his promises are valid.
My guess is he was accepted to a piano pedagogy program, not a piano performance program.
Originally Posted by facdo
To me, it didn't sound like he was trying to sell something or get more viewers to his video. It looked like he is legitimately passionate about piano and he wanted to share what to him is a better approach for teaching and keeping students motivated.
I think it doesn't have to be a choice between the two reasons you mentioned and is probably both.
Posted By: Mosotti Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/11/19 07:19 AM
Well, if you're doing it for fun, everything goes. If you expect to become some above average (not to mention top) pianist it ain't working. That's why none of the "1 year old Asian plays [insert something fast and horrible sounding here]" examples on youtube didn't become Lang Lang.
Posted By: U3piano Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/11/19 04:27 PM
Originally Posted by Mosotti
Well, if you're doing it for fun, everything goes. If you expect to become some above average (not to mention top) pianist it ain't working. That's why none of the "1 year old Asian plays [insert something fast and horrible sounding here]" examples on youtube didn't become Lang Lang.


Lang Lang can play fast and horrible too:

https://youtu.be/jVJyOaTYABI
My teacher used that same approach with me. I was a 50+ year old when I began my lessons with her. For my first lesson, she asked that I bring piano music that I would like to learn.

On that first lesson, she started a music journal (notebook) for me and we went through the proper fingering for playing the scales. From the classical book I brought, she picked out my first piece. It was a 2-page Chopin piece and she patiently corrected me as I played through the entire piece. After an hour of lessons, I walked away feeling exhausted in a good way. On the way home, I marveled as to how much we were able to accomplish in an hour and the anticipation of practicing at home.

I had weekly lessons with her until I moved. I practiced every day and I remember how excited I was when I read my journal during the practice week and there was a 'good' commented in the margin! Later I had a feeling of dread when I saw 'good, play this for church some time'.

During this time frame, I too watched YT videos and joined this forum community. All these tools helped motivate me during my lessons and beyond.

'Easy wins' as you put it is a valid teaching method at least for me as a working professional, over 50 years old and with a full life outside of work & home. I had to give up some activities since my lessons were quite intense. We covered a new fingering exercise, music theory concepts and a new piece every week for the first few months. That tapered to every other week when she started asking me to memorize pieces too!

Thank you for sharing your TED Talk video and thank you for your desire to share your time & talent of music with others. Best of luck to you in your future endeavors!
Posted By: Animisha Re: Do you agree with this piano TED Talk?? - 11/14/19 01:29 PM
Hi Zach! A late answer.
Your approach wouldn't work for me as a new beginner. First of all, I would have had huge difficulties coordinating RH melodies with your LH sauce accompaniment. But most of all, I would suspect that I had come to a teacher who uses shortcuts, and I don't want that.
But then, I am one of those adults who has had no trouble at all to practise these first 90 days, and I don't need a teacher to motivate me. So I am not one of your target students. smile
Originally Posted by Animisha
Hi Zach! A late answer.
Your approach wouldn't work for me as a new beginner. First of all, I would have had huge difficulties coordinating RH melodies with your LH sauce accompaniment. But most of all, I would suspect that I had come to a teacher who uses shortcuts, and I don't want that.
But then, I am one of those adults who has had no trouble at all to practise these first 90 days, and I don't need a teacher to motivate me. So I am not one of your target students. smile


Like you say, it is not really suitable for a complete beginner. Trying to coordinate the left hand pattern with the melody, except for the simplest of tunes, is actually quite difficult. I wouldn't call it a shortcut, it is just a nice left hand pattern that works with a number of tunes. Try Every Breath You Take by the Police for instance if you want to have a bit of fun!

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