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Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2773028
10/16/18 11:47 AM
10/16/18 11:47 AM
Joined: Apr 2016
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Richrf Offline
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Richrf  Offline
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Interesting. An advocate for more stress in our lives. No doubt, your own inclinations affect your advice to others. Here is an alternative view in stress, less we get carried away with the more stress is better viewpoint of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/

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Re: What To Learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2773085
10/16/18 02:42 PM
10/16/18 02:42 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,445
Canada
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What I find hard to imagine is that even if one was studying with a relatively poor teacher, the teacher never pointed out something useful that the student didn't know.


I suspect that you have never encountered poor teaching. The following examples come from my own experiences, and those of people I've talked to including a dear friend:

- You're given a basic "technique" that is drummed into you from the start; say, that your fingers must be little round hammers that must bang down strongly with "strength" with your carefully shaped round hands. Eventually you can't advance, or there is certain kinds of music you just can' seem to be able to play. Why won't broad sweeping arpeggios in Chopin work for you, and why do you feel so strained? Your teacher sighs and says many of her students have problems with more advanced music - it must be a matter of talent. You figure that you, too, must be lacking that talent.

- You're told you should feel the music more, and she then shows you how wonderful it should sound. But no matter how hard you try to feel things, and even if you do, you can't seem to sound remotely like her. (If you start looking critically, you might notice that curiously, your teacher doesn't seem to be using the technique she taught you to use - her hands look different).

- You're given quick short-cut explanations of how music works, or how to approach the music. You might discover years later that how music works isn't anything like what you were told, and that "information" has actually impeded you from what you might have found on your own. Sometimes the teacher him/herself doesn't know, or thinks this kind of real information is only for "real" students with a future. You end up floundering due to misinformation / lack of information.

Let's talk about the importance of fingering in piano. You struggle and struggle, because you've never been told about this. Instead, your teacher tells you to "not be so tense". (Variants of this story from two people, who finally figured it out.)

Not only might you not have anything useful pointed out, but what does get pointed out might be wrong and destructive to your progress. Relearning and unlearning incorrect information intellectually is relatively easy. Unlearning wrong training that you diligently applied in daily practice is much harder. A GOOD teacher is a rare and precious gem. A DECENT teacher is also a good find. If you're mistaught, then your time is wasted more than theirs, because you're the one practising between lessons - wrongly.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2773091
10/16/18 03:09 PM
10/16/18 03:09 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,445
Canada
keystring Offline
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Canada
Originally Posted by Richrf
Interesting. An advocate for more stress in our lives. No doubt, your own inclinations affect your advice to others. Here is an alternative view in stress, less we get carried away with the more stress is better viewpoint of life.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2568977/

The article discusses destructive, negative experiences such as violence, harm, and neglect. I don't think that this is what is meant. There is also an expression "bored to death". Challenges, if they can be met, can give a surge of energy. Being given an impossible task will eventually do the opposite. Harm, violence, and neglect are never good or beneficial.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: keystring] #2773130
10/16/18 04:56 PM
10/16/18 04:56 PM
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 24,608
New York City
pianoloverus Online content
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
What I find hard to imagine is that even if one was studying with a relatively poor teacher, the teacher never pointed out something useful that the student didn't know.


I suspect that you have never encountered poor teaching. The following examples come from my own experiences, and those of people I've talked to including a dear friend:

- You're given a basic "technique" that is drummed into you from the start; say, that your fingers must be little round hammers that must bang down strongly with "strength" with your carefully shaped round hands. Eventually you can't advance, or there is certain kinds of music you just can' seem to be able to play. Why won't broad sweeping arpeggios in Chopin work for you, and why do you feel so strained? Your teacher sighs and says many of her students have problems with more advanced music - it must be a matter of talent. You figure that you, too, must be lacking that talent.

- You're told you should feel the music more, and she then shows you how wonderful it should sound. But no matter how hard you try to feel things, and even if you do, you can't seem to sound remotely like her. (If you start looking critically, you might notice that curiously, your teacher doesn't seem to be using the technique she taught you to use - her hands look different).

- You're given quick short-cut explanations of how music works, or how to approach the music. You might discover years later that how music works isn't anything like what you were told, and that "information" has actually impeded you from what you might have found on your own. Sometimes the teacher him/herself doesn't know, or thinks this kind of real information is only for "real" students with a future. You end up floundering due to misinformation / lack of information.

Let's talk about the importance of fingering in piano. You struggle and struggle, because you've never been told about this. Instead, your teacher tells you to "not be so tense". (Variants of this story from two people, who finally figured it out.)

Not only might you not have anything useful pointed out, but what does get pointed out might be wrong and destructive to your progress. Relearning and unlearning incorrect information intellectually is relatively easy. Unlearning wrong training that you diligently applied in daily practice is much harder. A GOOD teacher is a rare and precious gem. A DECENT teacher is also a good find. If you're mistaught, then your time is wasted more than theirs, because you're the one practising between lessons - wrongly.
Yes, it's probably true that my four teachers between ages 9 and 21 were all somewhere between good and very good. I agree a poor teacher can cause major difficulties in the present and future.

OTOH I don't think all this means it's preferable to learn by yourself. It does mean that selecting a teacher is very important. It also shows that a professional level pianist is not necessarily a good teacher who can correctly diagnose a student's problems.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 10/16/18 05:01 PM.
Re: What To Learn? [Re: bSharp(C)yclist] #2773143
10/16/18 05:26 PM
10/16/18 05:26 PM
Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 150
M
Michael P Walsh Online content
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Michael P Walsh  Online Content
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Joined: Oct 2018
Posts: 150
Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
I would argue you didn't learn anything on your own, not if you are observing others, reading other people's work, etc. Build a brick house with no windows and keep yourself locked up inside with a piano. If you can learn to play anything you like without any outside resources, then you can say you learned on your own.

But you watch all these videos and post about them. Don't you think those women deserve some sort of credit, or are you going to continue to say you did it all on your own?


Absolutely true. No one lives in a vacuum. Plenty of people have teachers via U-tube, they tend not to give them credit for it.

Re: What To Learn? [Re: Finn1996] #2773208
10/16/18 09:17 PM
10/16/18 09:17 PM
Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 265
New York
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Medved1 Offline

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Joined: Dec 2014
Posts: 265
New York
(wow, turn away for one day and 4 more pages of replies appear! Finn, you are a brave, and also catalytic, OP!)

Would it be possible to re-state the issue as "can you play an instrument at the level you desire (YMMV) without spending a lot of money". I would be more interested in discussing that than beating the dead horse of "should you have a teacher".

I had a conversation last night with my brother, who has spent his life in ballet, on the accessibility of art forms. He retired from performing at the top level, and began teaching and directing, also at world class level. Last night, he made the comparison between movies, at $10/ticket, and opera and ballet at $150 - we instinctively respect the more expensive art form, but in fact both are valuable, and the one that is accessible to more people has a better chance of survival.

I think I hear echos of that conversation in richrf's line of thinking.

We have come a long way from "everyone takes lessons, everyone has a piano in the living room" - some of that could be just the world moving on, but some of it could also be that we have collectively decided that "only the very best" is worth listening to, seeking out, respecting. When in fact, any one who makes any effort at all to learn to play, using whatever tools mean most to them, or are easy for them to get a hold of, is doing something that we hope will make them happy, and may make us happy too because there are more of us practicing the art.

However, I would not let the issue of accessibility distract me from the need to learn as much structure and discipline as I would need to get to the level that will make me happy.

PS - I sat down tonight with renewed commitment to do at least a few minutes of scales and arpeggios during each practice session - been ignoring that for quite a while, but the latest attempt to play Mozart reminded me that there is a gap in my tool kit, and I need to fix that if I want Mozart to sound the way I want it to.


Mason & Hamlin A ('97)
Re: What To Learn? [Re: pianoloverus] #2773588
10/18/18 10:00 AM
10/18/18 10:00 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,445
Canada
keystring Offline
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Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,445
Canada
Originally Posted by pianoloverus
Yes, it's probably true that my four teachers between ages 9 and 21 were all somewhere between good and very good. I agree a poor teacher can cause major difficulties in the present and future.

OTOH I don't think all this means it's preferable to learn by yourself. It does mean that selecting a teacher is very important. It also shows that a professional level pianist is not necessarily a good teacher who can correctly diagnose a student's problems.

Thank you for the response. I would say that between learning by yourself and engaging the type of teaching I described, learning by yourself is safer. If "this doesn't feel right" you won't push through anyway just to please your teacher who "must know better". I agree that selecting a teacher is important. The immediate problem there is that if you are a novice, what criteria will you have? If you were poorly taught, you won't know what good teaching involves either. When I left my own situation, that was the first thing I sought to find out - just that.

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