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Hi, TL/DR at the end.

Now before you all trow me tomatoes, I'll try to be as respectful as I can. I'll also preface this post by saying english is not my main language.

I've been self teaching myself piano for about 2 years now. Recently, with the pandemic giving me more opportunities to organise my work hours, I thought I would seek out a "real" piano teacher in order to point out issues in my technique. Or to show me shortcut to achieve my goals. To say my experience has been disheartening would be a very mild way to phrase my experience.

I've takend 12 * 1h session of 1-1 private teaching. I even tried two very different teachers from a reputable school I enrolled in. The cost was exorbitant. Around 50$ CAD for every sessions if I put in the initial cost of registering with the school (a 5 min process) 500$+.

I've made my goals very clear to the teachers from the get go. Letting them know what I liked in the piano and why I was enrolling with a private teacher.

Now hear me out. I do think both teachers were very skilled on the piano. And I assume the school chose them based on their credentials. One of them was at conservatory level as an organist. The other was an old timer that had done it all. Was also a guitar and drum teacher at the same school. However, as teachers, they did an very average job at best in my opinion.

The old guy would take a large amount of time discussing is life as a piano players. Having played with this important guy and this other one. He would also diss my goals as a pianist saying they were too hard to achieve and that "standard" pianist never tried things so hard (solo cover for exemple). He argued that pianists should not try to cover melodies. That it was the work of the singers to do melodies. Also he often told me that piano was not the instrument to convey emotions/expressions. That things like the violin was the way to go for expression. This is one of my most cherished goal. To put a lot of expression and emotion in my playing.
The younger one I could feel was stressed and way too excited. I lost most of his explainations. He at least didn't have a problem with my goals. I just felt it was going way to fast in his head all the time !

Those 12 sessions led me to a very hard conclusion. I humbly believe this way of teaching the piano is just obsolete. Both teachers did use the limited amount of time to discuss some theory and provide some music sheets to practice at home. Pieces of music I assume designed around some conceptual learning patterns. It didn't help that those musical pieces sounded really bad and I had no passion or interest playing them. I chuged away just to try and make my investments be worth something.

But the hard truth is that nothing compare to practice. The 12h of 1-1 teaching I took that cost me an arm I felt didn't accelerate anything. The teachers didn't detect anything wrong about my technique. They didn't, I feel, provide any exercices designed to precisely achieve my goals. They stuck to their own method that they probably use for all their students. I feel like I lost my money and even my time.

I think nowadays, there is very limited use for a 1-1 in person teaching at a school of music. I would even suggest you question yourself really hard before taking that step. Perhaps I didn't get the best teachers, but I really doubt I'd find better ones in that format. I would now be much more inclined to reach out for a different format of teaching whenever I feel I might need that tutoring. Perhaps online teaching at a fraction of the price with a teacher that actually cares about my goals and is first and formost a great teacher would be a far better idea.

I also do think that in 2020, we have come to a point where technology and online ressources are replacing the aging schools of music. I know it is an unpopular opinion. But with everything that is readily available for the self teaching student, it is amazing to see what can be achieved nowadays. I guess my message to this forum is, don't feel bad if you are self teaching yourself the piano, it might just be alright smile As long as you enjoy the journey and practice a lot.



TL/DR : I had a very negative experience with two different private teachers in a reputable school of music. Will stick to self teaching in the future. I will never ever feel bad again for not reaching out to a private teacher to achieve my goals. Self teaching in 2020 is actually possible and even recommended IMHO. Have confidence in your skills and practice is key.
You had two bad experiences but that doesn't change the fact that the only way to get personal feedback is private instruction. Without that you cannot know what you're doing wrong. You do not know what you do not know. There are thousands of people who post videos on YouTube that are quite terrible, but I'm sure most of them don't realize that.

I suggest signing up with a teacher where you can quit after 2-4 lessons if necessary and that you interview potential teachers carefully to find out if your goals are compatible with their teaching.
I think it depends on your goals.

As you say, you don't know what you don't know. But the question that comes after that is, does it matter?

I've been playing for about six years now. Started from zero. Never touched a piano, ever, before I got a bee in my bonnet those six years ago and decided it might be interesting to try that.

I just fool around with it, though. I play something until I get tired of it and then play something else. Sometimes I'll play the same piece for three days in a row, then play six different things every day after that for the next week. It's just what I happen to be interested in at the time, and if my bird particularly likes something then I'll play that one more often to entertain him too. If I come across something that I don't understand and that a Google search doesn't find for me, I'll ask a question here.

Am I playing the piano right? I really don't know. Am I good at it? Again, I simply have no way to know. But it doesn't matter. I just play to amuse myself and my bird; don't intend to play in a band or Carnegie Hall.

So once again, I don't know what I don't know. Fair enough. But that's ok too. I like doing what I'm doing and my bird likes it so that's all that matters to me.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
You had two bad experiences but that doesn't change the fact that the only way to get personal feedback is private instruction. Without that you cannot know what you're doing wrong. You do not know what you do not know. There are thousands of people who post videos on YouTube that are quite terrible, but I'm sure most of them don't realize that.

I suggest signing up with a teacher where you can quit after 2-4 lessons if necessary and that you interview potential teachers carefully to find out if your goals are compatible with their teaching.


He covered all this.
Unfortunately, at a minimum, it sounds like the two teachers you worked with were not right for you. Based on your description, you gave them the benefit of the doubt for a reasonable amount of time.
If you are better able to achieve your goals through an online approach, that is terrific. I would suggest that you don't close the door to personal instruction, but just understand that sometimes one has to go through a few private teachers to find the right one.

If you get stuck in the future, or feel like you need to shake things up a bit from the online learning, you might give an in person teacher another go. With your experience, you will better be able to choose the right one.

If you are making all the progress you want without personal instruction, that is perfectly fine as well!
mareg , Did you have only two unsuitable teachers? You're lucky , there are many thousands of them in the world; and this does not mean anything! I agree that very often Eurocentric musical education brings talent; and there are eminent classical pianists who were self-taught in the beginning; and without any modern equipment of our era. However, the main condition for your development as a musician is the process when you become a living part of the musical community; it can be an educational institution, a summer music camp, a garage band, etc. No technology or online resources can replace this; and having a private teacher just doesn't get to that level
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
You had two bad experiences but that doesn't change the fact that the only way to get personal feedback is private instruction. Without that you cannot know what you're doing wrong. You do not know what you do not know. There are thousands of people who post videos on YouTube that are quite terrible, but I'm sure most of them don't realize that.

I suggest signing up with a teacher where you can quit after 2-4 lessons if necessary and that you interview potential teachers carefully to find out if your goals are compatible with their teaching.

I realise that I had anecdoctale experiences. But, for me, it has soured the whole concept. I'll stick to what really worked in the first place. We have such tremendously talented people designing applications around current technology and we also have great method books again with online support. The options are readily available and they do work.

I'm not saying I'll never again seek tutoring with a private teacher. But I'll certainly do it in a fashion that has nothing to do with traditionnal high cost local music schools. Those, to me, are the product of a bygone era.
Wow, yup those two teachers sound like they were not worth it. I'm guessing that school doesn't really know what to look for in a teacher. There's a HUGE difference between being able to play and being able to teach. Some have both, but apparently these were not those.

While I understand your reasons and agree these were not good teachers, I do hope that you will keep an eye out for someone who suits your needs (I'd avoid that school). But to call that way of teaching "obsolete" is an insult to those of us teachers who try to meet students there they're at and lead them to where they want to go, and also to those students who enjoy working with their teachers and love seeing the progress they make.

It's probably not a good thing to make blanket statements about a whole group of people based on a limited personal experience.
Originally Posted by mareg
Hi, TL/DR at the end.

Now before you all trow me tomatoes, I'll try to be as respectful as I can. I'll also preface this post by saying english is not my main language.

I've been self teaching myself piano for about 2 years now. Recently, with the pandemic giving me more opportunities to organise my work hours, I thought I would seek out a "real" piano teacher in order to point out issues in my technique. Or to show me shortcut to achieve my goals. To say my experience has been disheartening would be a very mild way to phrase my experience.

I've takend 12 * 1h session of 1-1 private teaching. I even tried two very different teachers from a reputable school I enrolled in. The cost was exorbitant. Around 50$ CAD for every sessions if I put in the initial cost of registering with the school (a 5 min process) 500$+.

I've made my goals very clear to the teachers from the get go. Letting them know what I liked in the piano and why I was enrolling with a private teacher.

Now hear me out. I do think both teachers were very skilled on the piano. And I assume the school chose them based on their credentials. One of them was at conservatory level as an organist. The other was an old timer that had done it all. Was also a guitar and drum teacher at the same school. However, as teachers, they did an very average job at best in my opinion.

The old guy would take a large amount of time discussing is life as a piano players. Having played with this important guy and this other one. He would also diss my goals as a pianist saying they were too hard to achieve and that "standard" pianist never tried things so hard (solo cover for exemple). He argued that pianists should not try to cover melodies. That it was the work of the singers to do melodies. Also he often told me that piano was not the instrument to convey emotions/expressions. That things like the violin was the way to go for expression. This is one of my most cherished goal. To put a lot of expression and emotion in my playing.
The younger one I could feel was stressed and way too excited. I lost most of his explainations. He at least didn't have a problem with my goals. I just felt it was going way to fast in his head all the time !

Those 12 sessions led me to a very hard conclusion. I humbly believe this way of teaching the piano is just obsolete. Both teachers did use the limited amount of time to discuss some theory and provide some music sheets to practice at home. Pieces of music I assume designed around some conceptual learning patterns. It didn't help that those musical pieces sounded really bad and I had no passion or interest playing them. I chuged away just to try and make my investments be worth something.

But the hard truth is that nothing compare to practice. The 12h of 1-1 teaching I took that cost me an arm I felt didn't accelerate anything. The teachers didn't detect anything wrong about my technique. They didn't, I feel, provide any exercices designed to precisely achieve my goals. They stuck to their own method that they probably use for all their students. I feel like I lost my money and even my time.

I think nowadays, there is very limited use for a 1-1 in person teaching at a school of music. I would even suggest you question yourself really hard before taking that step. Perhaps I didn't get the best teachers, but I really doubt I'd find better ones in that format. I would now be much more inclined to reach out for a different format of teaching whenever I feel I might need that tutoring. Perhaps online teaching at a fraction of the price with a teacher that actually cares about my goals and is first and formost a great teacher would be a far better idea.

I also do think that in 2020, we have come to a point where technology and online ressources are replacing the aging schools of music. I know it is an unpopular opinion. But with everything that is readily available for the self teaching student, it is amazing to see what can be achieved nowadays. I guess my message to this forum is, don't feel bad if you are self teaching yourself the piano, it might just be alright smile As long as you enjoy the journey and practice a lot.



TL/DR : I had a very negative experience with two different private teachers in a reputable school of music. Will stick to self teaching in the future. I will never ever feel bad again for not reaching out to a private teacher to achieve my goals. Self teaching in 2020 is actually possible and even recommended IMHO. Have confidence in your skills and practice is key.
I wouldn't give up too soon on teachers after only 1 year experience with them. I was self taught on the piano for many years until I had my first group piano lesson in my twenties. In my experience finding the right teacher (s) was one of the best investments I made in my piano education but you have to truly be open to the idea. There is the saying, "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear".
Originally Posted by Keith D Kerman
Unfortunately, at a minimum, it sounds like the two teachers you worked with were not right for you. Based on your description, you gave them the benefit of the doubt for a reasonable amount of time.
If you are better able to achieve your goals through an online approach, that is terrific. I would suggest that you don't close the door to personal instruction, but just understand that sometimes one has to go through a few private teachers to find the right one.

If you get stuck in the future, or feel like you need to shake things up a bit from the online learning, you might give an in person teacher another go. With your experience, you will better be able to choose the right one.

If you are making all the progress you want without personal instruction, that is perfectly fine as well!

Oh thanks a lot for the reply ! I guess you are absolutly right.
I certainly didn't want to sound condescending to all piano teachers. I'm sure there is a teacher for me somewhere out there. Someone that would care about my goals and that has some talent as a teacher, not just a musician. I'll probably stick to self learning for the foreseable future. I need to let all that bad taste in my mouth wash out.

Chears, your reply really put me to peace with the whole situation.
Originally Posted by Morodiene
While I understand your reasons and agree these were not good teachers, I do hope that you will keep an eye out for someone who suits your needs (I'd avoid that school). But to call that way of teaching "obsolete" is an insult to those of us teachers who try to meet students there they're at and lead them to where they want to go, and also to those students who enjoy working with their teachers and love seeing the progress they make.

It's probably not a good thing to make blanket statements about a whole group of people based on a limited personal experience.

I couldn't agree more.

There are good piano teachers and bad piano teachers. But there are also good piano students and bad piano students. I have had extremely negative experiences with adult piano students, but I'm not stupid enough to say that ALL adult piano students are bad. I also know the pitfalls and dangers of self-learning, but I'm not going to tell the OP to go get a real piano teacher.

To each his own.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Morodiene
While I understand your reasons and agree these were not good teachers, I do hope that you will keep an eye out for someone who suits your needs (I'd avoid that school). But to call that way of teaching "obsolete" is an insult to those of us teachers who try to meet students there they're at and lead them to where they want to go, and also to those students who enjoy working with their teachers and love seeing the progress they make.

It's probably not a good thing to make blanket statements about a whole group of people based on a limited personal experience.

I couldn't agree more.

There are good piano teachers and bad piano teachers. But there are also good piano students and bad piano students. I have had extremely negative experiences with adult piano students, but I'm not stupid enough to say that ALL adult piano students are bad. I also know the pitfalls and dangers of self-learning, but I'm not going to tell the OP to go get a real piano teacher.

To each his own.


I'm sorry. I see I failed at being respectful.

I just wanted to point out that there is a very strong difference betwen the teacher role and the student role. The teacher is getting paid and the student is paying. I understand that there is probably bad student out there. I assure you I've been more then good and I've made the absolute best effort to get the most out of what I've been given. Because, guess what, I was paying top dollars.

The fact is that your profession was very badly represented in the school that I took classes in. That is bad. I feel like I've been robed. And that is a bad feeling indeed.

And also, I feel like there is probably a large amount of adult student like me that are more discerning of their teachers. The child that has been enrolled by his parent is less likely to find the teaching lacking. He doesn't pay and doesn't know any better. The adult that is paying a considerable amount to get private lesson has a great understanding of what is quality teaching. So yeah, a bet you get more "bad" adult student than "bad" child student.
Of course one forms opinions based on one's personal experiences. I can appreciate that the OP's experiences have been - to put it mildly - unfortunate. Yes, they have soured the opinion of working with a teacher on a one-to-one basis, but please bear in mind what others have said, namely: that nothing encourages enthusiasm and fosters progress better than working with a "good" teacher, and only a good teacher can help you over the hurdle of not knowing what you don't know.

I have had the very good fortune of working with excellent teachers, some over extended periods of time, others rather briefly in summer programs. All I can say is that there has been nothing more satisfying to me than the musical, respectful and personal relationships that I have developed with my teachers. They have been encouraging, yet demanding, and have given me a deep respect for their skills and their teaching abilities.

Yes, I have been lucky. Perhaps that should be a sign to you that there are good teachers out there and that they are worth searching for. By the way, currently, my teacher charges $75.00 per hour which, these days, provides good value for the money. Your $50.00 is very reasonable, although it does not justify the poor teaching that you believe you have experienced.

Please, keep looking.

Regards,
I was brought up in the baby boom generation. My parents and many family members in my generation believe we need a teacher or a trained professional to make sure we learn a skill properly.

I'm more practical that I do have a teacher, but also do a lot of learning on my own. I got enrolled in group piano class instead of 1-on-1 because I had bad experiences with music teachers and a standardize curriculum in the past. During the weekly piano lessons we do scale exercises, practice a Czerny etude and a few pieces arranged for easy piano. The few minutes before and after class we'd socialize. The conservatory where we had classes is closed for the time being so we're connecting with each other online.

I started with violin lessons many years ago using a standardized approach. There were conservatory repertoire books and exercises to practice. Most people would spend 1h/wk with a teacher at most. We're spending a lot more time practicing at home anyway. Once you learn to be proficient in reading music, you can learn just about any piece of music at a certain level without a teacher. I download sheet music regularly and learn on my own.

At a young age I didn't know enough about an instrument and without the Internet had to rely on music teachers. The teacher I have now is teaching piano as a general interest course. She is open to suggestions the repertoire we like to play and allow us to work at our own pace. She acts more like a mentor (music coach) than a teacher from the past. I met Suzuki teachers who teach strictly by the Suzuki Books that came out of Japan over 60 years ago.
Originally Posted by stevechris
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
You had two bad experiences but that doesn't change the fact that the only way to get personal feedback is private instruction. Without that you cannot know what you're doing wrong. You do not know what you do not know. There are thousands of people who post videos on YouTube that are quite terrible, but I'm sure most of them don't realize that.

I suggest signing up with a teacher where you can quit after 2-4 lessons if necessary and that you interview potential teachers carefully to find out if your goals are compatible with their teaching.


He covered all this.
I just reread his post and don't see where he covered any of what I said.
Ouch! I feel for you... I certainly don't disagree that some teachers are bad. The bad experience is going to put you off for a while.

That high initial registration cost just does not sound right. But you really wanted to learn piano seriously, you do care if you sound good not just to yourself, and that's why you bit the bullet and paid. I think that's why this is most unfortunate.

You are drawing a conclusion about in-person teaching vs. online teaching. Shouldn't it be a conclusion about bad music school vs. good music school? I have a good, traditional in-person teacher, and I'm happily making progress. So I certainly don't think that form of teaching is obsolete.
Originally Posted by mareg
I've been self teaching myself piano for about 2 years now. Recently, with the pandemic giving me more opportunities to organise my work hours, I thought I would seek out a "real" piano teacher in order to point out issues in my technique. Or to show me shortcut to achieve my goals.
I've made my goals very clear to the teachers from the get go. Letting them know what I liked in the piano and why I was enrolling with a private teacher.
I'm not going to be 'umble (I'm not the Uriah Heep sort smirk ), not in the least. Not least because I've never been.

So, I'll say it straight off: you're not interested in classical, you've already self-taught for two years and are obviously quite set in your ways.

Forget about getting a teacher.

Continue doing what you've were doing before, and don't stress yourself looking for a teacher that will cater to your every whim. There isn't one.
Originally Posted by mareg
I've takend 12 * 1h session of 1-1 private teaching. I even tried two very different teachers from a reputable school I enrolled in. The cost was exorbitant. Around 50$ CAD for every sessions if I put in the initial cost of registering with the school (a 5 min process) 500$+.

I'm not up to date on my piano private lesson prices but is $50 CAD (per hour?) really considered an "exorbitant" amount of money? Man, I feel bad for teachers then. I made more money than that as a college student tutoring math.

Originally Posted by mareg
I'm sorry. I see I failed at being respectful.

I just wanted to point out that there is a very strong difference betwen the teacher role and the student role. The teacher is getting paid and the student is paying. I understand that there is probably bad student out there. I assure you I've been more then good and I've made the absolute best effort to get the most out of what I've been given. Because, guess what, I was paying top dollars.

Maybe not failing at being respectful, but definitely succeeding at sounding entitled. Then again, I find that to be the general culture of people in the US, and I would assume Canada as well.

I'm not going to particularly defend the teachers. I think piano teachers are essentially piano coaches. Some are good, some are bad, most are mediocre.

I like seeing parallels in the world. For piano lessons, I think fitness can be a very similar albeit simpler example. Every newbie goes into a gym thinking they want to look like a fitness model that they see on youtube or instagram. Few have the discipline to make it there and fewer still have the actual genetics (talent). Everyone is looking for quick results when that's just not possible. Every self taught gym bro thinks they know everything they need to and think they are exercising correctly when the truth is the majority of people have awful deficiencies in their diet, exercise, form, and routines.

On the teaching/coaching side, Fitness coaches can be useful for some people, but for the average joe that really just wants to get in shape, it's only marginally beneficial after some initial pointers. Coaching is more there for fluff and some sense of motivation. The average fitness coach is also not particularly well qualified either due to lack of education or lack of an ability to actually teach. More qualified 1-1 coaching are actually "exorbitantly" expensive ($hundreds-thousands) but offer much more effective results and can be much more engaging learning experience for the client.
Originally Posted by rkzhao
On the teaching/coaching side, Fitness coaches can be useful for some people, but for the average joe that really just wants to get in shape, it's only marginally beneficial after some initial pointers. Coaching is more there for fluff and some sense of motivation. The average fitness coach is also not particularly well qualified either due to lack of education or lack of an ability to actually teach. More qualified 1-1 coaching are actually "exorbitantly" expensive ($hundreds-thousands) but offer much more effective results and can be much more engaging learning experience for the client.

As much as I hate being compared to fitness coaches, the analogy is quite apt.
I started without a teacher and now i have one. He is very detail oriented, and often when a start the lesson i feel confident that i can play the homework but after the lesson i feel that everyrhing has been crushed to pieces. Then i go home and practice more. It is actually funny how many times i have heard loud "NO NOT LIKE THAT" after playing only the first note of the homework:D I dont think anything can replace that experience. Second thing is that a good teacher teaches how to study effectively. However i try to be very clear what pieces i want to practice and bring my own sheet music. His job is then to teach how to play and how to study. However i guess it can be a bit different thing if you dont play classical and dont need to learn sophisticated technique.
Originally Posted by mareg
I was paying top dollars.

The very fact you _think_ you are paying top dollars shows that you don't understand the market very well.

Originally Posted by mareg
And also, I feel like there is probably a large amount of adult student like me that are more discerning of their teachers. The child that has been enrolled by his parent is less likely to find the teaching lacking. He doesn't pay and doesn't know any better. The adult that is paying a considerable amount to get private lesson has a great understanding of what is quality teaching. So yeah, a bet you get more "bad" adult student than "bad" child student.

This also shows that you don't understand the market very well.

Please continue to learn piano on your own. You might also consider pre-recorded lessons on YouTube, since you can pause and re-watch the videos as you wish. And since the videos are free, you have nothing to complain about.
Be very careful of taking two points and drawing a straight line and thinking you have proved anything.
I am sorry you had a bad experience, but I think you sort of set yourself up for that by going to a music school and not looking for a teacher that suits your learning style directly.
I wouldn't say teachers are good / bad. Many of them may be at the level of a concert pianist. Some follow old approaches when teaching. They are not always adaptable to what a student want to get out of the lessons.

Many parents enroll their kids in a music program or with a private teacher. The parents have no music training / background. The kids know next to nothing about a piano / violin they are asked to play so they learn everything from a teacher. Today some people are getting into software such as Flowkey, Simply Piano, Yousician, Musiah, Piano Marvel Playground Session or a similar learning system. When we get older, we have a lot of life experiences and we have some idea which genre of music we want to focus on and would find a teacher accordingly.

The first time I got enrolled in an adult group class, the teacher from level 1 said that I already know a lot of what she was teaching and should move up to level 2. A teacher is the stepping stone to help me get to a reasonable performance level. The pieces I worked on are for practicing sight reading & different techniques of playing. The end of the day I choose the pieces I want to play for an audience. I tend to treat a teacher as my mentor to enhance my knowledge than someone who teaches the basics to an absolute beginner. I know how to read music so the teacher fills in the symbols I don't come across very often.

Most of the time I'm on my own. The teacher had a summer break while I learned 3 short pieces on my own. These are pieces in the style of Jazz that my group is not familiar with. The teacher showed the class how to count in the Swing style and the pieces started coming together 1 after another.
Originally Posted by rkzhao
I'm not up to date on my piano private lesson prices but is $50 CAD (per hour?) really considered an "exorbitant" amount of money? Man, I feel bad for teachers then. I made more money than that as a college student tutoring math.

I’m not sure where OP is located exactly but $50 CAD/hr is actually on the low side, unless he’s in a more rural area. In the Greater Toronto Area suburbs, for example, $60/hr is the standard “music school” price, whereas downtown Toronto teachers go for $80+ per hour. More highly qualified teachers have even higher rates. Mine certainly is a bit more expensive but she is invaluable to me.

By the fact that OP keeps mentioning cost in his posts, I get the sense that he’s highly uncomfortable with the amount of money he is paying for what he perceives he is getting in return. I think that is tainting his view about teachers in general. If that is the case, then it’s hard to change his mind. It looks like he doesn’t think teachers “are worth it”. Which is fair. Everyone has their priorities, what is worth it, what isn’t.

Although the way OP describes his experiences with his first 2 teachers, I agree they were not ideal. In no way does this mean that good teachers don’t exist. They do. Many of us on this forum have good teachers.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Please continue to learn piano on your own. You might also consider pre-recorded lessons on YouTube, since you can pause and re-watch the videos as you wish. And since the videos are free, you have nothing to complain about.
Just a correction here. I work with pre-recorded lessons, esp. for my other instrument. They are not all free. Some involve an annual subscription, and various types of support. For someone who knows how to work independently, there are some excellent resources out there. Esp. considering the paucity of some local teacher experiences which, if you live in the wrong place, cannot always be overcome.

One thing that shocked me is that on more than one occasion the fellow students also had a private teacher, and it was the on-line teacher who was fixing (successfully) technical problems that had existed over an extended time. There are some excellent, experienced teachers who have branched out into on-line. They are usually not free.
Originally Posted by keystring
Just a correction here. I work with pre-recorded lessons, esp. for my other instrument. They are not all free.
The OP should go for the free ones.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Just a correction here. I work with pre-recorded lessons, esp. for my other instrument. They are not all free.
The OP should go for the free ones.

And why is that?
You seem to make it personal and being offended by OP's experience.

He is just sharing his experience, that's all.

OP's post is good in the sense that people get an alternative to "get a teacher"-choir here.
Very little about
- what makes a good teacher for you?
- you really should switch teacher if.....

All ads I've seen where people say giving lessons does not say anything about the process they work from.
- I have a fixed set of pieces all have to learn, and I adjust where in that line of pieces I put you!
- I have extensive talk with you over what you want to achieve before even starting
- I entirely go from what you want to learn, even if I as teacher have to learn new things too

A couple I've tried have first lesson free - which is to establish personal chemistry and things like that. And probably establish where this teacher fits into how they work and how that fits my goals.

But as beginning, maybe first teacher, you have less understanding what to expect.
And some as I call it "education money" is to be wasted before finding the right teacher.

Some YT:ers like Josh Wright often refer to teacher he had etc - so no doubt a teacher is really good thing on a certain level and to get further really good help. But it need to be the right one for what you need at your level.

I would not mind a sticky thread here "How to get a good teacher" or similar where everybody with extensive experience put their advise and also at what level they were and what they were trying to accomplish.

Somebody that is almost concert pianist need very different teaching than one that is a beginner etc. Josh Wright share a lot of good stuff - to get a relaxed but precise attack of keys.

Nahre Sol give a lot of interesting practise routines to make practising more fun.

But a lot of YT:ers are utterly crap teachers - and spend 10 minutes just talking. Just wannabies all the way through.

But YT might be a good way to find the type of teacher that anybody feel have an approach that fits their personality.

There is always a route to the current "good" teacher - that is also valuable information. To see what other people experienced.

So this thread as OP started is good to get perspective, I think.
Originally Posted by Nip
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Just a correction here. I work with pre-recorded lessons, esp. for my other instrument. They are not all free.
The OP should go for the free ones.

And why is that?

So there won't be more complaints.

Originally Posted by Nip
So this thread as OP started is good to get perspective, I think.

Not really.

There are many bad piano teachers out there. It's an obvious fact. There are incompetent individuals in all professions. Just because somebody got "board certified" does not guarantee the individual will be super good at what he does. It just means he got certified by somebody.

So the OP found two bad teachers. Does that prove anything?
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
There are many bad piano teachers out there. It's an obvious fact. There are incompetent individuals in all professions. Just because somebody got "board certified" does not guarantee the individual will be super good at what he does. It just means he got certified by somebody.

So the OP found two bad teachers. Does that prove anything?

Well, it took OP a year to find that out - and to him a lot of wasted money.

I think it gives a more balanced view - also having this kind of posts and threads - than.
- Get a teacher

Where experienced people having had a load of teachers in their search - it would valuable information to know when to drop a teacher - not having to spend a year in hindsight seing this was wasted.

Don't be offended - share your experience of stupid pupils instead maybe?
When do pupils expect too much with no work, or similar.

Dialogs everybody had as pupil or teacher is good info IMO.
- I object to this "get a teacher" thingy going on

When starting out - as adult or otherwise - you have no clue what to expect and maybe "know" what kind of teaching is better at that level.

Those having taking a cumbersome route to find a good teacher - can share to shorten that route for somebody else, I think.

In my youth I had not the best motivation, pushed a bit by parents, as I recall.
And it was free in school to take piano lessons - so that get one kind of pupil.
Not that inspiring for a tutor, I think.

Then you have all the way to really advanced student doing a lot of classical pieces fairly, but not perfect. For a skilled teacher probably love this student - or find they are not qualified and should tell student to search another teacher - if serious enough, rather than pick their pocket of the money they have.
I see this notion very often that you "have to get a teacher". You don't have to do anything, quite frankly. If you start playing as an adult, chances that you will get to a level where you will perform classical music on a stage for money are pretty slim. I would say most people who start as an adult learn for their own enjoyment.

As long as you are satisfied with your progress and enjoy your playing, you don't need a teacher for anything. I got a teacher because I felt that my musicality was lacking. My teacher is helping a lot with that, so I'm satisfied.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Just a correction here. I work with pre-recorded lessons, esp. for my other instrument. They are not all free.
The OP should go for the free ones.
Pardon me, but that sounds flippant. When you have read (I assume you read before answering) of the quality I've found in the subscription lessons, which also work well with independent learners, it makes little sense for you to advice a student to steer away from quality lessons.

Were you flippant? Or did you have good reasoning why free ones would be preferable? If so, can you explain that reasoning.
Originally Posted by keystring
Pardon me, but that sounds flippant. When you have read (I assume you read before answering) of the quality I've found in the subscription lessons, which also work well with independent learners, it makes little sense for you to advice a student to steer away from quality lessons.

Were you flippant? Or did you have good reasoning why free ones would be preferable? If so, can you explain that reasoning.

Free YouTube "lessons" are a better fit for the OP.

If I have to explain my reasoning, it will sound like I'm bashing the OP.
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by rkzhao
I'm not up to date on my piano private lesson prices but is $50 CAD (per hour?) really considered an "exorbitant" amount of money? Man, I feel bad for teachers then. I made more money than that as a college student tutoring math.

I’m not sure where OP is located exactly but $50 CAD/hr is actually on the low side, unless he’s in a more rural area. In the Greater Toronto Area suburbs, for example, $60/hr is the standard “music school” price, whereas downtown Toronto teachers go for $80+ per hour. More highly qualified teachers have even higher rates. Mine certainly is a bit more expensive but she is invaluable to me.

To be fair, Toronto is quite a bit more expensive in general than Québec (both the province and the city). Whether that is considered "exorbitant" is more a question of personal perception and priorities, as you noted.

Originally Posted by Nip
[...]
Dialogs everybody had as pupil or teacher is good info IMO.
- I object to this "get a teacher" thingy going on

You're right, everyone has different goals, experiences, expectations, etc. I can see why someone may not want to go that route. But what struck me as unfair in the OP's post and which I strongly object to is to call teachers "obsolete". With the current lock down almost everyone who has a teacher had the experience of moving to remote video lessons. We have discussed the topic extensively on this forum. I have also talked to many parents of school children who had remote classes. If there is one common consensus from all of this it's that remote teaching cannot replace in-person teaching. The methods that some teachers use might be obsolete, or may be inappropriate for the requested goals, but teachers and in-person lessons are most certainly not obsolete and basing one's entire world view of private lessons on two experiences is completely unfair.
Originally Posted by Nip
Those having taking a cumbersome route to find a good teacher - can share to shorten that route for somebody else, I think.

Try interviewing many teachers and asking them specific questions.

If possible, ask if you can watch a studio recital in person, or on video.

Take some trial lessons, if the teacher offers them.

Let me offer an example. I didn't know much about piano maintenance, and up until college my piano had only been tuned and never voiced and regulated. I then launched a self-teaching campaign about how piano works. I also hired about a dozen different piano technicians and paid close attention to how they worked. The process took about ten years. Thankfully, many of them are also very eager to share their knowledge with me. Now my pianos are serviced by a wonderful, experienced technician and they are in tip-top shape. I do pay top dollar to make sure I get the best service done for my pianos. This is a necessary business expense.

Now, when I go to my friends' houses and play on their pianos, I feel obliged to "educate" them on the importance of regulating the piano's action, etc. It's no fun to play on a piano with uneven touch. Most people don't know this stuff. Heck, a lot of piano teachers don't even know this stuff. But since I care about my friends and their kids (some of whom are brilliant piano players!), I share my knowledge with them.

I also share this piano maintenance knowledge with my own students and their parents. Some listen. Most don't care.
Interesting discussion.

Without going into specifics or personalities. There is a wide spread problem in the adult/further/higher education industry in general, in determining where the meat-ware teacher fits in with available technology. For example, in the university setting, if a lecture is pure chalk-and-talk what's the value of a pretty average lecturer when the same material might be available on youtube or a MOOC platform from a Nobel laureate?
Equally with music learning, there are a number of things that, seems to me, are just better on a computer where you can, for example, watch and re-watch, slow down, loop, see two or three examples etc. of a demo of how something is played... at no cost and with infinite patience. Equally there's no end of "complete course" books with great curricular, detailed explanations and youtube support.

It's a question of residual value. What is left for a person to add when a lot of the "grunt work" of teaching is available from technology?

In the university sector chalk-and-talk is quite sticky for various reasons. But a lot of folks are coming to terms with the idea that their personal value is in supervision / tutorials rather than in front of powerpoint. It's all to the good for students. But here's the rub (having worked in the university sector a fair bit) - there are two types of prof/lecturer; those who see the students as individuals and those who don't. The latter are a liability when they have to step off the podium.

Equally, I suspect, when confronted with a dedicated adult self-learner (I'm one), many piano teachers don't adjust away from "no, but my curricular..." too "where can I add a some value?" And that isn't easy - it requires that you can really asses what's going on with the student and adjust.
Originally Posted by mizmar
What is left for a person to add when a lot of the "grunt work" of teaching is available from technology?

Feedback.

Playing an instrument is a practical activity with lots of subtlety that can only be precisely taught by someone looking over your shoulder and responding in real time to what you didn't do quite right or didn't know you were supposed to do. I don't think that comparing it to academic subjects is the right analogy. More like your woodwork teacher walking past and going "get the angle on that chisel higher, you'll never get a clean cut that way."

But as you say, much of the information is available from technology. And a large chunk of the learning at beginner level is just stuff you have to school yourself to do sitting at home practicing.
Originally Posted by Nip
OP's post is good in the sense that people get an alternative to "get a teacher"-choir here.

Maybe I haven't been here enough to notice it but I haven't really seen any thoughtless response of "get a teacher" for every issue.

If someone has issues with fundamental technique, then live in person tutoring can help. If someone is just starting out and has really no clue what they're doing, then they aren't experienced enough to separate out what's valid and what's not valid information online so having a teacher for fundamental guidance would help. These are really the cases I see getting a teacher recommended and in both cases, it makes sense.


Originally Posted by mizmar
Without going into specifics or personalities. There is a wide spread problem in the adult/further/higher education industry in general, in determining where the meat-ware teacher fits in with available technology.
...
Equally, I suspect, when confronted with a dedicated adult self-learner (I'm one), many piano teachers don't adjust away from "no, but my curricular..." too "where can I add a some value?" And that isn't easy - it requires that you can really asses what's going on with the student and adjust.

Not really, it's more just a simple matter of economics. People seem to want to pay $50 for an 1hr lesson from someone who's time is worth $50/hr and then expect them to spend additional time on top of the lesson to customize and personalize the curriculum for the student. As they say, there's little in life that is free.

Larger classrooms spread out the cost and can be both potentially more economical and profitable. The larger the classroom, the more potentially profitable it can be. The education industry has always understood this. Online classes are nothing new in the broader education industry as a whole. College lectures to hundreds of people is common across the world.

Good private lessons comes with a premium. People just tend to forget that with music lessons because one on one lessons seems to be the norm.
I think the OP raised 2 different points. One is about his poor experience with 2 teachers and the second is about the necessity or not to have a teacher.

As far as teachers, there are certainly more or less good people out there. And in fact, the match between the personality of the teacher and the student character and expectations is critical. For example if the student has little time or is a slow learner, a teacher that takes its time, is patient and not overambitious will work fine. Maybe that online sessions with regular feedback will work even better. That same teacher put in front of a fast learner, ambitious student who wants to progress fast and has enough time for it will be inadequat, unless he can change completely his teaching method (which is unlikely).

So thats why i think it is very difficult to find the proper match, even more so if one is concerned with the cost or is leaving in an area where there is little choice around. To a large extent, kids dont have that problem. They are just following a predefined path, with a given method and thats it.

That said, i think that personal interaction and being also confronted with other students is beneficial vs working in isolation. Reflecting on my university years, to be honnest the courses given in a class by my teacher (math for example) were 100% equivalent to what i could find in a book. And to a large extent, my personal work at home probably represented 80% of what i eventually learned. I think properly organized with a little online support one could get to 100% equivalence. But that will not replace human interaction (preferably face to face) which is also an element in the learning process.

Regarding the necessity of a teacher, i think that for adults, it is quite possible to get without one, or just with some online assistance case by case. Certainly many students are not considering to become super performers, and others are interested in various other areas like compositions, which does not imply to be super proficient in piano technique.

There are enough material out there by now, that anything that can be covered by a teacher is already described in a book or a method and probably more than what a teacher could cover given the time constraints. But the point is that it does not work for eveybody. The teacher essentially saves the time needed to figure out how to go and help to get organized. People on their own have to figure out what to study and how. They also have to be extremely lucid when they record themselves so that they can figure what is wrong and how to fix it. It requires a very particular profile of people who are used to learn by themselves. But i do think it is possible, in particular if the student is doing it for his own pleasure and is not pressured to achieve any particular goal in any particular frame of time. The amount of technique required is not infinite and turns around a number of well defined areas which are described in numerous books and online materials.

And of course, the self learner has also to find a solution to get some kind of human intereaction, sharing with other students, possibly playing with other people. All that also contributes to speed up the learning.

But all of that said, i think in reality very few people have the time and the profile to be fully self independant. For the very very large majority some kind of teaching, physical or online is by far the best solution.
Originally Posted by mareg
I've been self teaching myself piano for about 2 years now. Recently, with the pandemic giving me more opportunities to organise my work hours, I thought I would seek out a "real" piano teacher in order to point out issues in my technique. Or to show me shortcut to achieve my goals. To say my experience has been disheartening would be a very mild way to phrase my experience.

I've takend 12 * 1h session of 1-1 private teaching. I even tried two very different teachers from a reputable school I enrolled in. The cost was exorbitant. Around 50$ CAD for every sessions if I put in the initial cost of registering with the school (a 5 min process) 500$+.

I've made my goals very clear to the teachers from the get go. Letting them know what I liked in the piano and why I was enrolling with a private teacher.

Recently I took a year of piano lessons following five years of practicing on my own. The cost is north of 50 EUR per hour for adults at a public conservatory. Children get subsidized and pay half. Considering the average income and cost of living in Canada 50 CAD is a real bargain.

After getting some pointers on song accompaniment (something I couldn't wrap my head around, so I asked a teacher), I followed my teachers suggestions on classical repertoire and what to practice. Even the pieces I didn't prefer served well as etudes and increased my hand span (I can now reach a tenth). The experience made me a more complete pianist overall.

I stopped piano lessons, because my teacher retired and I took the opportunity to switch to guitar lessons. I took a few last year on the side, so I had total of three guitar teachers so far. Guitar is now main instrument.

My method of working with others instead of my own is that I treat each teacher as a human with their own approach, interests, strengths and weaknesses - which naturally are all different from mine. While a teacher usually asks, where I come from and where want to go, I try to figure out what they do best and how teach me that, so I get as much as possible out of their specific knowledge, talent and abilities.

I usually end up doing something entirely different than what I thought of before enrolling, but each time it turned out being fully worth it. Needless to say that all my teachers love working with me and my reputation with my piano teacher helped me with getting my new guitar teacher as well.
Originally Posted by mizmar
What is left for a person to add when a lot of the "grunt work" of teaching is available from technology?

.
Technology, robot, computer that will control your playingin real time, point out mistakes, suggest methods of working on them, using display , joint play and live contact with hands and body.
Doesn't exist yet!
Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by mizmar
What is left for a person to add when a lot of the "grunt work" of teaching is available from technology?

.
Technology, robot, computer that will control your playingin real time, point out mistakes, suggest methods of working on them, using display , joint play and live contact with hands and body.
Doesn't exist yet!


What I also gain from an actual teacher is the opportunity to:
- ask questions
-my teacher can discuss and demonstrate multiple ways to solve a technical problem
- my teacher can view my body mechanics and notice there is tension in my right shoulder
-help me choose new repertoire: I usually bring 3-4 potential new pieces to my lesson and we discuss
-real-time opportunity to explore fingering

I’m sure there is more
Originally Posted by Sidokar
I think the OP raised 2 different points. One is about his poor experience with 2 teachers and the second is about the necessity or not to have a teacher.

As far as teachers, there are certainly more or less good people out there. And in fact, the match between the personality of the teacher and the student character and expectations is critical. For example if the student has little time or is a slow learner, a teacher that takes its time, is patient and not overambitious will work fine. Maybe that online sessions with regular feedback will work even better. That same teacher put in front of a fast learner, ambitious student who wants to progress fast and has enough time for it will be inadequat, unless he can change completely his teaching method (which is unlikely).

So thats why i think it is very difficult to find the proper match, even more so if one is concerned with the cost or is leaving in an area where there is little choice around. To a large extent, kids dont have that problem. They are just following a predefined path, with a given method and thats it.

I'm not sure I'm happy about this assumption that teachers of kids just go through a curriculum and don't adjust to the individual. That's not at all what a good teacher does - for adult or child. There are, however, certain things that if a person wants to be able to play a particular piece, then the teacher plans a path for that goal. Children often don't have goals and so we teachers have to take the lead. I've had adult students who don't have specific goals either, and so I take the lead and hope that in time they begin to define what they want. But just because a method book is used, does not mean we don't plan and adjust for the student.

Also to address the common recommendation for people to get a teacher on this forum: a good teacher can help one achieve their goal easier and faster. That does not mean that without a teacher a person can't achieve their goals, it just means that it will take longer and perhaps be more difficult. Recommending something that is the best solution does not mean it's the only way.
I think at the end of the day, saying that teachers are obsolete is highly offensive to all teachers and all students with teachers. That’s a lot of people offended. It wasn’t even said as an opinion. It was stated as matter-of-fact.

I get that OP was just ranting about how he felt pressured to get a real teacher but when he did, his experience proved him right, that you didn’t need a teacher! I don’t think it was necessary to offend everyone else while trying to prove you were right.

About feedback...piano is not math where you read a book, work out the answers, look at the answer book and say, oooh, I got it right! There’s no feedback for self-taught online or book piano lessons. Not yet. Technology’s not there yet. Is your staccato short and crisp enough? Is your rhythm even enough? Is your legato smooth enough? Is your sforzando sudden and strong enough? Who will tell you? I guess you can be your own judge but I think people can see the shortfalls of that kind of personal feedback.

I’m not saying everyone must have a teacher. I don’t really care if some random stranger on the internet refuses to get a teacher. I know everyone has different goals. But just because you had a bad experience, it doesn’t follow that teachers are obsolete. That is so ridiculous it’s practically laughable.
Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
I’m not sure where OP is located exactly but $50 CAD/hr is actually on the low side, unless he’s in a more rural area. In the Greater Toronto Area suburbs, for example, $60/hr is the standard “music school” price, whereas downtown Toronto teachers go for $80+ per hour. More highly qualified teachers have even higher rates. Mine certainly is a bit more expensive but she is invaluable to me.

To be fair, Toronto is quite a bit more expensive in general than Québec (both the province and the city). Whether that is considered "exorbitant" is more a question of personal perception and priorities, as you noted.

Yes, I agree. I recognized that and that’s why I specifically noted Toronto “suburb” prices (in addition to downtown prices), where I suspect the prices are closer to where OP is from.

But at the end of the day, I don’t think what OP paid, $50CAD/hr, is “exorbitant”. It’s just the average going rate in that market.
Alright I think it is the right time to formally apologize to all teachers on this forum.

I had no intention of being a jerk. I wanted to get something out of my chest as I was confronted with a very bad situation and I guess I wanted to get some validations or perhaps be shown alternatives. I guess I got all that and than much more. It is safe to say I should have done more research before seeking a teacher. It never occured to me that there could be "bad" teachers out there. It is now very clear to me that I might just have been unlucky. Or that I should have used a different approach in seeking the coaching I was looking for.

Truth be told I was very bitter and althought I tried to stay civile, I guess the bitterness got the better of me and I went full generalisation and made a bold and very bad statement. For that I'm very sorry. I don't even believe what I said. Wich makes it even more frustrating since I think I could have avoided it.

If anything, this discussion at least made me realise that perhaps I was not ready to find a teacher. And it was all in all a very interresting read. I don't particularly get offended easilly so I could filter the backlash. But it was a warrented backlash.

Oh and I wanted to add that even if I didn't get what I was looking for in the 2 teachers I was paired with, as individuals, they are both fine people and I allways treated them with respect. The mentorat I got from them was just not what I was looking for.

You all have a great day.
Regards
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
About feedback...piano is not math where you read a book, work out the answers, look at the answer book and say, oooh, I got it right! There’s no feedback for self-taught online or book piano lessons. Not yet. Technology’s not there yet. Is your staccato short and crisp enough? Is your rhythm even enough? Is your legato smooth enough? Is your sforzando sudden and strong enough? Who will tell you? I guess you can be your own judge but I think people can see the shortfalls of that kind of personal feedback.

So somebody should tell your staccato should be this or that?
It's always an interpretation of what is written.
When you are at that level of playing - maybe a teacher is a good thing though.

But what teacher do you need to get inspiration and motivation until that level?

I have classical pieces where conductors do symphonies and piano concertos very differently.

When is comes to classical pieces, there are most likely performers that have recorded a piece for you to like or not - to mimic or not. When you are at that level to reach perfection.

I've seen discussions where pianist analyze pieces and have contradictive opinion how things should be done. They performed a passage one way, then another - this on piano in this case - and it's about really fine nuances. I'd say discussion for snobs more or less. Majority of audience would neither notice nor care, most likely.

Piano concertos are among my favorites in classical music, and been to a bunch of concerts too. Dispite all training the pianist on one occation started playing completely off partiture, and even conductor and orchestra were all stalled and wondered what was going on.

So when it comes to performances, you probably need coaching no matter how how good you are technically. So there are so many levels that you need in the top layer of performers, handle nerves etc.

When a beginner worry about staccato this or that, he is no longer a beginner is my drift.

I think headroom should be kept high here and people express what they think and feel about things. Or this place become a place that is of no interest anymore.
- only ""get a teacher" is valid or somebody is offended?
Mareg, I'm late in the discussion because I've been working round the clock. The first time I took lessons as an adult I was burned and I struggled through the situation for 5 years hanging in there. I learned things in the process and one thing I used to do more in earlier year on PW was to talk about the issue of finding a teacher. Like you, I started off thinking that if you hire a teacher, you will automatically get good guidance, and all you have to do is follow. The fact this doesn't necessarily happen never occurred to me. I questioned myself, because I stayed with the assumption of good and appropriate teaching.

- Not everyone who hangs out a teacher shingle, teaches well, or even knows how to teach
- There can be a switcheroo as soon as the student is an adult, because of assumptions of what adults want, "need", their nature etc.
- The question of working together, roles, etc. can be tricky and never addressed. The middle point however: the want, need, i.e. goal and what a goal really means however is the real stumbling block that tends to affect everything else.

That became my starting point. Whatever I "want to do" in piano, it comes down the underlying skills that I don't have, weak areas the teacher can see more than I - or prevent - knowing how to teach me these things, and daring to teach me these things without the fear I'll run away on them.

I discovered that getting this set up was a first hurdle. Taking the lessons, and them going smoothly finally after a few weeks of back and forth adjusting, is only the second step. What you wrote is unsurprising, and your emotional reaction is also natural. If you had high expectations and reality differed it can be quite a letdown. But two teachers - both at the same institution - does not portray a good picture about teaching in general.

A good teacher - a really good teacher - these are rare gems. (Teachers will also say the same about a really good student they can work with optimally - this has nothing to do with talent - same thing.)
We live in a much different world compared to when I was a student in school (probably the case for many here). The amount of information available at your finger tips is insane. I did my undergrad and grad in Physics, but bailed after passing the PhD qualifying exam. I got tired of being a poor grad student and saw too many others leaving to go into software. I'm very glad I did!

During that time as a student, I can't tell you how many hours I spent in a library just looking for material. I lived in the library! Now if I had Google, YouTube? Wow ... I would have finished in a fraction of time.

You can certainly go find the piano material you need, but you'd have to question whether or not it is any good, just as if the teacher is any good. In my case, I use that material (and hopefully what I am picking it is good) to supplement what I learn from my teacher. More importantly, I get real time feedback from the teacher, something which I can't get online. I'm certain I wouldn't have progressed as much as I did without a teacher. But I can't make a blanket statement that everyone needs a teacher.

In the future, can AI/Machine Learning/Robots replace teachers? I think it will at least supplement. But not to the extent that I'd like to see it in my lifetime.
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Pardon me, but that sounds flippant. When you have read (I assume you read before answering) of the quality I've found in the subscription lessons, which also work well with independent learners, it makes little sense for you to advice a student to steer away from quality lessons.

Were you flippant? Or did you have good reasoning why free ones would be preferable? If so, can you explain that reasoning.

Free YouTube "lessons" are a better fit for the OP.

Students are not feet, and teachers are not socks. When you advise one student, you potentially advise all students, who will take away that free lessons are somehow better than lessons by subscription. Since you are a teacher and I'm writing as primarily a student, your word will tend to have more weight than mine. It suggests you dismiss the info that I just gave.

Someone who wants to learn, and can work independently, will be well served by paid subscriptions to lessons put out by a teacher. Every one that I subscribed to was done excellently, by an experienced, competent teacher. Some of these have 30 - 40 years under their belt. I have seen some of these on-line teachers fix weaknesses that a poorish local teacher had skirted around for years - you see the student's playing improve visibly.

If you argue against this, then either you know nothing about these kinds of lessons (and why should you?), or you are not really thinking of a student's best interests for learning. Yes, there are some good free lessons out there, but also a lot of bad ones. I would not recommend that over the other.
Originally Posted by mareg
Alright I think it is the right time to formally apologize to all teachers on this forum.

I had no intention of being a jerk. I wanted to get something out of my chest as I was confronted with a very bad situation and I guess I wanted to get some validations or perhaps be shown alternatives. I guess I got all that and than much more. It is safe to say I should have done more research before seeking a teacher. It never occured to me that there could be "bad" teachers out there. It is now very clear to me that I might just have been unlucky. Or that I should have used a different approach in seeking the coaching I was looking for.

Truth be told I was very bitter and althought I tried to stay civile, I guess the bitterness got the better of me and I went full generalisation and made a bold and very bad statement. For that I'm very sorry. I don't even believe what I said. Wich makes it even more frustrating since I think I could have avoided it.

If anything, this discussion at least made me realise that perhaps I was not ready to find a teacher. And it was all in all a very interresting read. I don't particularly get offended easilly so I could filter the backlash. But it was a warrented backlash.

Oh and I wanted to add that even if I didn't get what I was looking for in the 2 teachers I was paired with, as individuals, they are both fine people and I allways treated them with respect. The mentorat I got from them was just not what I was looking for.

You all have a great day.
Regards
Thank you, I do appreciate it and know that you were upset by your circumstances. It is unfortunate, and believe me, I get more upset at every teacher that makes a bad name for teachers than you probably do. Please do not let this experience taint you though. You can learn from this and I'm sure you did learn some things of value from these people.

FWIW, I do think that alternative methods of learning are valid, if not ideal. But we often have to be pragmatic too. Best of luck on your piano journey smile
Originally Posted by Nip
So somebody should tell your staccato should be this or that?
It's always an interpretation of what is written.
When you are at that level of playing - maybe a teacher is a good thing though.

[...]

When a beginner worry about staccato this or that, he is no longer a beginner is my drift .

Ok, not sure what I should make of this (complement or jab or neither) but I am definitely a beginner, having only 18 months or so of piano experience/lessons. But yes, my teacher helps me analyze any kind of staccato, legato or whatever other dynamic markings there are on the page, and helps me interpret it in a more “appropriate” way. For example, if a piece is called something like “Happy Fairies”, perhaps the staccato should be light and airy. And if the piece is called something like “Baby Elephant”, perhaps the staccato should be sturdier, but still light, like a hopping baby elephant. And it makes a difference; I can hear the mood of the piece change.

Staccatos and other dynamic markings are only one aspect that teachers can give guidance/feedback with; I cannot even begin to enumerate all the other aspects my teacher helps me with.

Well, all I can say is that my goal, and my teacher’s goal for me, is not just to learn how to play the right notes at the right time. Perhaps my teacher is grooming a snob? wink
Originally Posted by Morodiene
I'm not sure I'm happy about this assumption that teachers of kids just go through a curriculum and don't adjust to the individual. That's not at all what a good teacher does - for adult or child. There are, however, certain things that if a person wants to be able to play a particular piece, then the teacher plans a path for that goal. Children often don't have goals and so we teachers have to take the lead. I've had adult students who don't have specific goals either, and so I take the lead and hope that in time they begin to define what they want. But just because a method book is used, does not mean we don't plan and adjust for the student.

Also to address the common recommendation for people to get a teacher on this forum: a good teacher can help one achieve their goal easier and faster. That does not mean that without a teacher a person can't achieve their goals, it just means that it will take longer and perhaps be more difficult. Recommending something that is the best solution does not mean it's the only way.

I would agree with you. The fact that teachers mostly follow a standard curriculum with kids does not prevent them from being sensitive to the individuality of their young students. Teachers are obviously not robots. But with adults there is a much wider spectrum of situations, character, expectations also. All this has already been discussed in this forum.

To be honnest, I dont think it is a question of time or difficulty, but a matter of profile of people and their objectives. What you say is probably and theoretically true in the vast majority of the cases, but not always. But I think before finding the right teacher, there can be also quite some time wasted either because the working style does not match, or the content is not there. That does not mean that the teacher is a bad teacher, but not all teachers are flexible or willing to adjust to the specific objectives of their student (and a number of students are not willing to adjust or comply with the directions of the teacher). There are plenty of cases on this forum where such problems have been reported, like the one of the OP. So there is no perfect solution, but I think that online teaching is certainly going to develop a lot in the years to come.
Originally Posted by mareg
Alright I think it is the right time to formally apologize to all teachers on this forum.

I had no intention of being a jerk. I wanted to get something out of my chest as I was confronted with a very bad situation and I guess I wanted to get some validations or perhaps be shown alternatives. I guess I got all that and than much more. It is safe to say I should have done more research before seeking a teacher. It never occured to me that there could be "bad" teachers out there. It is now very clear to me that I might just have been unlucky. Or that I should have used a different approach in seeking the coaching I was looking for.

Truth be told I was very bitter and althought I tried to stay civile, I guess the bitterness got the better of me and I went full generalisation and made a bold and very bad statement. For that I'm very sorry. I don't even believe what I said. Wich makes it even more frustrating since I think I could have avoided it.

If anything, this discussion at least made me realise that perhaps I was not ready to find a teacher. And it was all in all a very interresting read. I don't particularly get offended easilly so I could filter the backlash. But it was a warrented backlash.

Oh and I wanted to add that even if I didn't get what I was looking for in the 2 teachers I was paired with, as individuals, they are both fine people and I allways treated them with respect. The mentorat I got from them was just not what I was looking for.

You all have a great day.
Regards

Wow! I’m so happy you made this follow-up post. We all get angry sometimes and say things we don’t mean. It takes courage and character to acknowledge your words were offensive. I really hope you luck and enjoyment on your piano journey, whether or not it includes a teacher. smile

As an aside, I’m also having some “issues” with a music teacher (not piano) and questioning if he is the right teacher for me, so this kind of thing happens all the time.
Originally Posted by mareg
Also he often told me that piano was not the instrument to convey emotions/expressions. That things like the violin was the way to go for expression. This is one of my most cherished goal. To put a lot of expression and emotion in my playing.
Guess he never had to cry over a lovely melody played on a piano.

Don't listen to that kind of BS.

I do agree that people expect way too much from a teacher. A teacher cannot make your work go faster or be any easier. 99% of the work is your task and yours alone.
What a teacher can do is see you play and point out errors you otherwise might never have noticed.

Also a teacher can help tremendously when you encounter things/instructions you don't understand and don't know how to pull off on a technical level.

Last but not least, a teacher that knows you well, can advise you if a piece is too hard for you before you sink a ton of time into it.

Yes, they cost a truckload of money (I pay around 40€ for 1h per month split into 2 30 minute sessions every 2 weeks) but I do not want to tackle this without her.
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Well, all I can say is that my goal, and my teacher’s goal for me, is not just to learn how to play the right notes at the right time. Perhaps my teacher is grooming a snob? wink

Seems like you and your teacher is a match to envie - inspires you by things you want to know. What I and some others are expressing is frustration not finding a teacher that is a good match for what we want to accomplish. Congrats. smile
Ok but the old teacher that Mareg had who spent lesson time talking about himself and dropping names. That is just not acceptable! Some old people love to talk and brag about themselves. They just go on and on and on.
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by mareg
Alright I think it is the right time to formally apologize to all teachers on this forum.

I had no intention of being a jerk. I wanted to get something out of my chest as I was confronted with a very bad situation and I guess I wanted to get some validations or perhaps be shown alternatives. I guess I got all that and than much more. It is safe to say I should have done more research before seeking a teacher. It never occured to me that there could be "bad" teachers out there. It is now very clear to me that I might just have been unlucky. Or that I should have used a different approach in seeking the coaching I was looking for.

Truth be told I was very bitter and althought I tried to stay civile, I guess the bitterness got the better of me and I went full generalisation and made a bold and very bad statement. For that I'm very sorry. I don't even believe what I said. Wich makes it even more frustrating since I think I could have avoided it.

If anything, this discussion at least made me realise that perhaps I was not ready to find a teacher. And it was all in all a very interresting read. I don't particularly get offended easilly so I could filter the backlash. But it was a warrented backlash.

Oh and I wanted to add that even if I didn't get what I was looking for in the 2 teachers I was paired with, as individuals, they are both fine people and I allways treated them with respect. The mentorat I got from them was just not what I was looking for.

You all have a great day.
Regards

Wow! I’m so happy you made this follow-up post. We all get angry sometimes and say things we don’t mean. It takes courage and character to acknowledge your words were offensive. I really hope you luck and enjoyment on your piano journey, whether or not it includes a teacher. smile

As an aside, I’m also having some “issues” with a music teacher (not piano) and questioning if he is the right teacher for me, so this kind of thing happens all the time.
+1.

If you do decide to look for a teacher again, try to find one that is not employed by a music school (by 'music school' I mean a commercial undertaking that is independent of the local school system). Though there are, I'm sure, many fine teachers in music schools, the schools typically charge a pretty penny for tuition but pay the teachers (their employees) not very much. That system doesn't always attract the best teachers. Again, there are certainly gems to be found in music schools, but it can be hard to sort them out.

One poster posited that teachers are only needed for the more advanced student. I disagree. It is the fundamentals that carry the load of all that follows. Beginners need the eyes and ears of someone who knows those fundamentals.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
You had two bad experiences but that doesn't change the fact that the only way to get personal feedback is private instruction. Without that you cannot know what you're doing wrong. You do not know what you do not know. There are thousands of people who post videos on YouTube that are quite terrible, but I'm sure most of them don't realize that.

I suggest signing up with a teacher where you can quit after 2-4 lessons if necessary and that you interview potential teachers carefully to find out if your goals are compatible with their teaching.

+1

Just because you had 2 teachers that didn't work out, doesn't mean you won't find one that's great for you, who you connect with, learn a lot from, and enjoy. It took me 20 years to find my wonderful teacher!
Originally Posted by Nip
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Well, all I can say is that my goal, and my teacher’s goal for me, is not just to learn how to play the right notes at the right time. Perhaps my teacher is grooming a snob? wink

Seems like you and your teacher is a match to envie - inspires you by things you want to know. What I and some others are expressing is frustration not finding a teacher that is a good match for what we want to accomplish. Congrats. smile

Well, thank you. I clearly lucked out.
mareg, if you could describe your goals and expectations, I'm sure you would get some helpful info here in this forum regarding your further strategy.
Originally Posted by Nip
So somebody should tell your staccato should be this or that?
It's always an interpretation of what is written.
There are many things that are not open to interpretation that even very advanced students(those at top conservatories)do wrong. One just has to attend master classes at conservatories to observe this is true. Some things are certainly a matter of interpretation but other things are not. A good master class teacher will convince the student and audience about those things.
Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by mizmar
What is left for a person to add when a lot of the "grunt work" of teaching is available from technology?

.
Technology, robot, computer that will control your playingin real time, point out mistakes, suggest methods of working on them, using display , joint play and live contact with hands and body.
Doesn't exist yet!
Quite. And everything else can be done independently.
My interpretation of music is to generally just add ritardandos whenever a piece gets difficult. It's certainly not because I started at too fast of a tempo or anything.

Also, I never play anything wrong really. I'm just freely expressing my interpretive jazz elements through classical pieces.
Originally Posted by mizmar
Originally Posted by Nahum
Originally Posted by mizmar
What is left for a person to add when a lot of the "grunt work" of teaching is available from technology?

.
Technology, robot, computer that will control your playingin real time, point out mistakes, suggest methods of working on them, using display , joint play and live contact with hands and body.
Doesn't exist yet!
Quite. And everything else can be done independently.
Without all the things mentioned progress will be much slower or non existent, mistakes in technique or musical understanding may be practiced and ingrained. IOW until one has good instruction for some time(5-10years) learning by oneself is a bad idea.

YouTube is filled with videos of quite terrible playing but I think most of those pianists thought their playing was quite good because they didn't know any better. Otherwise, I doubt they would have posted it.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
YouTube is filled with videos of quite terrible playing but I think most of those pianists thought their playing was quite good because they didn't know any better. Otherwise, I doubt they would have posted it.

As they say, "Ignorance is bliss"
We can all be a self taught virtuoso in our own worlds.
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
YouTube is filled with videos of quite terrible playing but I think most of those pianists thought their playing was quite good because they didn't know any better. Otherwise, I doubt they would have posted it.

Ha – just this morning, Hugh Sung, who's my online teacher (or, rather, coach?), called my last video submission "YouTube-worthy"! Up until this very moment, I thought that he meant that as a compliment, but now, I'm not so sure anymore. :-)

On-topic: I'm a complete beginner, having started sometime around March or April, with a background in clarinet playing (in my youth, some 20, 25 years ago.). So far, I've been taking an online course "only". Fortunately, I get some very helpful feedback from the teacher (Hugh Sung), and I see, and hear, that I'm improving. That's cool. However, I know that improving gets more and more difficult with time, so I'm sure that at some point, I'll want to work with a "local" teacher too – at least (and especially) for corrective measures, so to speak.
Originally Posted by Mickey_
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
YouTube is filled with videos of quite terrible playing but I think most of those pianists thought their playing was quite good because they didn't know any better. Otherwise, I doubt they would have posted it.

Ha – just this morning, Hugh Sung, who's my online teacher (or, rather, coach?), called my last video submission "YouTube-worthy"! Up until this very moment, I thought that he meant that as a compliment, but now, I'm not so sure anymore. :-)

Post It! For those not using a teacher, you can get feedback from others on your playing. You can do this on Reddit, FB Groups, plenty of places.
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
YouTube is filled with videos of quite terrible playing but I think most of those pianists thought their playing was quite good because they didn't know any better. Otherwise, I doubt they would have posted it.

As they say, "Ignorance is bliss"
We can all be a self taught virtuoso in our own worlds.
I'm sure there are many piano techniques that can't be self taught. Pomposity for example.

Different people have differing objectives, desires, mentalities. My point about teachers given the OP, is that till you understand the individual you shouldn't be trying to help.
Originally Posted by mizmar
Originally Posted by rkzhao
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
YouTube is filled with videos of quite terrible playing but I think most of those pianists thought their playing was quite good because they didn't know any better. Otherwise, I doubt they would have posted it.

As they say, "Ignorance is bliss"
We can all be a self taught virtuoso in our own worlds.
I'm sure there are many piano techniques that can't be self taught. Pomposity for example.

Different people have differing objectives, desires, mentalities. My point about teachers given the OP, is that till you understand the individual you shouldn't be trying to help.


Oh, pomposity can be self-taught, and often is.
Having nothing better to do, I made a simple rating of all the instrumental teachers I've had over the years. The majority are since adulthood but I remember my lessons as a teen well. I'm not a teacher hopper but over long years, moving homes and country and learning three instruments I've notched up 16 teachers.

Of which I rated: (for my needs as a nothing special but always interested and practising pupil)

7 excellent, inspiring
7 competent, totally OK
2 duds, one who really was not competent on the instrument, the other whose idea of a lesson was "That's fine, play your next piece."

So 14/16 decent teachers is great. But if the dud ones had been my first experience of having a teacher and I didn't recognise the difference, I would have been very disillusioned. Perfectly nice people, but so embarrassing to extricate oneself tactfully.

As a side note, my current three excellent teachers charge respectively 40€, 25€ and 20€ per hour. Feel lucky!
Here you go, saw this posted on FB. I wish my lessons were this cheap, haha ;0

SPECIAL PANDEMIC PRICING:

$15, half an hour.
$20, an hour.
$30, 90 minutes. (Hour and a half)

http://paulfredericksmusic.com/less...hNUQlyt-gwsMB04sveaZab0DRPB-YP0i7qf_20fA
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Here you go, saw this posted on FB. I wish my lessons were this cheap, haha ;0

SPECIAL PANDEMIC PRICING:

$15, half an hour.
$20, an hour.
$30, 90 minutes. (Hour and a half)

http://paulfredericksmusic.com/less...hNUQlyt-gwsMB04sveaZab0DRPB-YP0i7qf_20fA

Somehow that makes me feel sad...
It's only sad if I compare that to what I pay now. Otherwise, I think my teacher is the better deal ;0
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
It's only sad if I compare that to what I pay now. Otherwise, I think my teacher is the better deal ;0


grin
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
SPECIAL PANDEMIC PRICING:

$15, half an hour.
$20, an hour.
$30, 90 minutes. (Hour and a half)

Is this a joke?
Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
SPECIAL PANDEMIC PRICING:

$15, half an hour.
$20, an hour.
$30, 90 minutes. (Hour and a half)

Is this a joke?

I'm afraid it's not. It's on his website. He posted a link to it this morning in one of the Facebook piano groups.
For those prices I would say it is worth a shot to try.
better than being completely unemployed I guess.

I wonder how pompous he must be to think he can ask for those prices.
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
Here you go, saw this posted on FB. I wish my lessons were this cheap, haha ;0

SPECIAL PANDEMIC PRICING:

$15, half an hour.
$20, an hour.
$30, 90 minutes. (Hour and a half)

http://paulfredericksmusic.com/less...hNUQlyt-gwsMB04sveaZab0DRPB-YP0i7qf_20fA

Somehow that makes me feel sad...

Makes me feel sad as well
Originally Posted by dogperson
...

Oh, pomposity can be self-taught, and often is.
Some are born like that, some self taught and some have it thrust upon them!
Originally Posted by Iaroslav Vasiliev
mareg, if you could describe your goals and expectations, I'm sure you would get some helpful info here in this forum regarding your further strategy.
That's wise advice.
My opinion is 180 degrees. I think a teacher is essential in learning piano (or any other instrument). Practically a teacher is the best way to learn anything. You learn the proper way, you get corrected all the time, and you learn much faster, because you don't have to go wild-goose chasing on the internet for "the best tutorial/course/teacher".


Finding the right teacher is another thing, especially if you have some special preferences or expectations. I don't have any new age ideas about piano so I just go with what the teacher recommends, that includes Hanon/Czerny and other stuff people hate. Teach me the way you've been taught, it obviously works. I didn't express any expectations when I started, because I really had no idea if I could learn anything. Over time I brought my own pieces apart from her recommended pieces, everything goes well and at a reasonable pace.
This was a scary thread. Just got me a piano teacher myself. Had a couple as young.
1 (my first) wad great
2nd was probably ok but extremly bad with kids.
3d good with kids but i made no progress what so ever.
4th really good.


So it shifted. But now as an adult i am going to pay for it myself. Ot my parents or the goverment (kommunala musikskolan) in sweden so going to meet my new teacher I have ambition on what i want to play and what i want help with
If the teacher dont agree. I might be an idiot - when leaving and not listening. But I figure its my money to be an idiot with.
Originally Posted by Flygbladet
This was a scary thread. Just got me a piano teacher myself. Had a couple as young.
1 (my first) wad great
2nd was probably ok but extremly bad with kids.
3d good with kids but i made no progress what so ever.
4th really good.


So it shifted. But now as an adult i am going to pay for it myself. Ot my parents or the goverment (kommunala musikskolan) in sweden so going to meet my new teacher I have ambition on what i want to play and what i want help with
If the teacher dont agree. I might be an idiot - when leaving and not listening. But I figure its my money to be an idiot with.
I agree. The bad part is not having a student who wants to learn specific things, it's one that wants to dictate how they should get there. I don't mean they shouldn't have any input - I always ask students if they like a particular piece - it's just sometimes they need to learn a particular skill and the perfect piece for that might not be their favorite.
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