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Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779795
11/10/18 12:17 PM
11/10/18 12:17 PM
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Brian:

Depending upon your level of skill and depending upon how seriously the tone of your teacher's piano affects your ability to play at lessons, you have to keep in mind that such impediments can certainly be a hindrance to your progress. How can your teacher teach you about dynamics, voicing, balancing, phrasing if the piano is as bad as it sounds.

If conditions are as they appear in your post, I would simply suggest that you bite the bullet and find another teacher. What do you gain by studying with a "fantastic" teacher who has a piano that is so "...bright and tinny and cheap sounding..." that you can't play on it? Assuming you are not exaggerating the condition of the piano, you could be doing yourself a disservice by continuing on the same path without some change. That could also be a waste of money, time and effort.

Regards,


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Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779838
11/10/18 02:28 PM
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A teacher need not have a Baldwin or Bosie for teaching, but whatever it is, it ought to be properly serviced and in good working order, like any professional in any profession would maintain their equipment. Would you want to eat in a restaurant that doesn't properly maintain the kitchen? Or have surgery in an operating room that isn't properly maintained? Piano lessons aren't life and death, but if she's a professional than she ought to take care of her equipment.

OTOH, playing devil's advocate for a moment, is there a chance that this is an elderly lady, hard of hearing, and perhaps she just doesn't perceive the tonal problem?


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Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779900
11/10/18 05:38 PM
11/10/18 05:38 PM
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In which case, it's hard to imagine that she is such an excellent teacher ...

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779917
11/10/18 06:36 PM
11/10/18 06:36 PM
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Hi Brian,

I would say the answer depends on where you are in your musical journey. If you are at a beginner or intermediate level musically, then it won’t matter too much until you learn to listen to the tone you produce and complete the feedback loop. Only the occasional student will do this naturally, the rest do this through experience. The worst students will never do this at all! If you alre starting to or already do this, let your teacher know your concerns.

If the piano is tuned and regulated, you can still develop your tonal colouring and range by practising on your personal instrument. Think of your piano lesson as guidance on what to practise for the week. The improvement should occur between lessons, not during them!

Edit: I didn’t answer your question. You should ask your teacher if you can have lessons on her other instrument. I am sure she has an impressive beast tucked away in her mansion, else she wouldn’t hide it away would she?

Last edited by parnassus; 11/10/18 06:46 PM. Reason: Waffled on and didn’t answer the question.
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: jshelton] #2779950
11/10/18 09:52 PM
11/10/18 09:52 PM
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J Shelton

Quote
I now have a nice Yamaha grand but intend to upgrade eventually.


Probably just my inexperience with pianos, I have been a student for 5 years, but I have to ask what do you upgrade to if you have a Yamaha grand?


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2779977
11/11/18 03:00 AM
11/11/18 03:00 AM
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Do we have to make the teacher suffer that much ? Just tell her
you need to develop good tone quality as a pianist !

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780010
11/11/18 07:35 AM
11/11/18 07:35 AM
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I have to challenge the premise of all of this... Playing on a lousy sounding piano is no excuse for making mistakes during your lessons. That is lame. That is like blaming a baseball bat for striking out. Could it be that you are not perfectly comfortable during your lessons and that your nerves have something to do with you making mistakes and not the tone of the piano?

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Thejumpsuitman] #2780022
11/11/18 08:08 AM
11/11/18 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Thejumpsuitman
I have to challenge the premise of all of this... Playing on a lousy sounding piano is no excuse for making mistakes during your lessons. That is lame. That is like blaming a baseball bat for striking out. Could it be that you are not perfectly comfortable during your lessons and that your nerves have something to do with you making mistakes and not the tone of the piano?
I am not sure that the baseball analogy is analogous, and, if so, relevant. The issue here is one of the relationship between proprioception and exteroception.

A pianist with absolute pitch, used to playing at A4=440Hz often makes errors when playing on a keyboard that is tuned (or just out of tune) to a much lower pitch. Their fingers go to the expected places (proprioception) but the results (exterception) are unexpected, and they unconsciously try to adjust and make errors.

Perhap the analogy is here. A pianist used to the control available on a decent piano (a proper wooden bat certified for baseball) finds it difficult to control the dynamics, voicing and tone on a crappy piano (a plastic whiffle ball bat, but used to play baseball). It is not a matter of striking out, it is a matter of the appropriate tool for the job.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780032
11/11/18 09:14 AM
11/11/18 09:14 AM
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Prout, I like the way you think, but pitch and tone are not the same thing. The OP was complaining about tone, not pitch. (At least that is what he was verbally describing)

My point with the baseball analogy is that even if you have a crappy baseball bat, you would still hit the ball. Using a wiffle ball bat in a baseball game would be like using a non-weighted cheap Casio keyboard in a piano recital.

Last edited by Thejumpsuitman; 11/11/18 09:24 AM.
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780036
11/11/18 09:42 AM
11/11/18 09:42 AM
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I would advise the OP to read about Frederic Chopin’s attitude toward pianos. In this link are quotes from Chopin and his student about the Erard piano vs. the Plyel. Chopin actually considered it to be dangerous to play too much on an instrument with inherent tonal beauty.

http://www.radiochopin.org/episodes...d-piano-concerto-no-1-in-e-minor-op-11-i

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Thejumpsuitman] #2780040
11/11/18 09:52 AM
11/11/18 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Thejumpsuitman
Prout, I like the way you think, but pitch and tone are not the same thing. The OP was complaining about tone, not pitch. (At least that is what he was verbally describing)

My point with the baseball analogy is that even if you have a crappy baseball bat, you would still hit the ball. Using a wiffle ball bat in a baseball game would be like using a non-weighted cheap Casio keyboard in a piano recital.
I understand your basic logic of the Casio. It is correct and buttresses, to some extent, my argument as well. My point was that, if you, as an MLB’r, are used to the heft of a regulation bat, and use it for multiple games 5 days a week, when you get to the whiffle bat, you will not be able to predictably control it while trying to hit a hardball from a MLB pitcher. You will, due to proprioception, swing too late and strike out. You can adjust, but likely too late.

I find, when confronted with a poor piano, whether it is an unweighted Casio or an overly bright or overly dull grand - I had to accompany an audition on an S&S D that had barely any tone at all, for example - it very much affects my playing. I can’t control the dynamics or the tone. I get flustered and make note errors. I’ve been doing this for 50+ years as a professional, so nerves aren’t the issue. We make do with what we have, but the result is not at the level to which the pianist is capable.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Thejumpsuitman] #2780043
11/11/18 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Thejumpsuitman
I would advise the OP to read about Frederic Chopin’s attitude toward pianos. In this link are quotes from Chopin and his student about the Erard piano vs. the Plyel. Chopin actually considered it to be dangerous to play too much on an instrument with inherent tonal beauty.

http://www.radiochopin.org/episodes...d-piano-concerto-no-1-in-e-minor-op-11-i
Yeah, I know the quote. IMNSHO, he was wrong, and most pianists, and all professional concert pianists, want or demand instruments of inherent tonal beauty.

Can you image Debussy or Ravel writing their impressionistic music with its vast array of tonal colours and resonances, and suggesting in the published score “I recommend that this not be played on a piano with inherent tonal beauty. It sounds better on a dull, tonally dead instrument.”

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780044
11/11/18 10:01 AM
11/11/18 10:01 AM
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Prout, I will concede to the points you make and defer to your 50 years of experience. I only wonder how much the student’s attitude might exacerbate the situation. And I wonder how much Mozart or Beethoven would have given to own the crappy piano in question.

Last edited by Thejumpsuitman; 11/11/18 10:02 AM.
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Thejumpsuitman] #2780046
11/11/18 10:08 AM
11/11/18 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Thejumpsuitman
I only wonder how much the student’s attitude might exacerbate the situation.

That is, unfortunately, as are my own experiences, subjective. Only a very large sample of this particular teacher’s students recorded at home and at her studio, would reveal, assuming not all students are always nervous at lessons, if the piano has an effect on their performance.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Thejumpsuitman] #2780141
11/11/18 03:40 PM
11/11/18 03:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Thejumpsuitman
Prout, I will concede to the points you make and defer to your 50 years of experience. I only wonder how much the student’s attitude might exacerbate the situation. And I wonder how much Mozart or Beethoven would have given to own the crappy piano in question.

The pianos in these composers day inspired them .You have to know
something about period instruments before making such a statement.
Why are you relating the great composers playing to modern day amateur students who just need a reasonable piano to learn on at thier lessons ?

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Lady Bird] #2780153
11/11/18 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
Originally Posted by Thejumpsuitman
Prout, I will concede to the points you make and defer to your 50 years of experience. I only wonder how much the student’s attitude might exacerbate the situation. And I wonder how much Mozart or Beethoven would have given to own the crappy piano in question.

The pianos in these composers day inspired them .You have to know
something about period instruments before making such a statement.
Why are you relating the great composers playing to modern day amateur students who just need a reasonable piano to learn on at thier lessons ?
While Mozart and Beethoven did not experience the modern piano, Brahms and Debussy certainly did. There are people today, some here on PW, who own and play on instruments that were made and used during Brahm’s lifetime. I would certainly hope that a teacher of a talented student working on Brahm’s would understand the need for deep, clear bass, and long decay times. Otherwise, Brahms just sounds like a bunch of dogs growling.

To me, the issue is one of the teacher being able to demonstrate what is musically possible. The student hears this capability, reproduces it at the lesson then goes home where the real learning occurs during practice.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: prout] #2780164
11/11/18 04:52 PM
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To me the student is the most important one at a lesson .I agree with
you Prout you have to have a decent piano if you teach
I disagree that Mozart and Beethoven s pianos were junk and would accept any piano from today no matter how bad !

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Lady Bird] #2780171
11/11/18 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Lady Bird
To me the student is the most important one at a lesson .I agree with
you Prout you have to have a decent piano if you teach
I disagree that Mozart and Beethoven s pianos were junk and would accept any piano from today no matter how bad !

Certainly the pianos of Mozart and Beethoven were not junk. They were state of the art, and quite capable of playing the music written for them. I would gladly accept any one of the types of pianos that Mozart or Beethoven played. We should all be so lucky as to hear and play what they heard and played, and how it inspired them. Fortunately, there is a movement toward recitals performed on those types of instruments.

To think that they are somehow less than what we have today makes no sense to me. I love the sound of my M&H BB, which is fabulous for Brahms and Debussy, but I would much rather play Bach on my clavichord. It simply sounds better and is more musical than any piano could ever hope to be.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780176
11/11/18 05:25 PM
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At the moment I am designing and building radios using 1920’s technology, and the parts actually come from the 1920s. These radios, much more simple than the radios of the middle and latter part of the 20th century, are equally capable of receiving signals from all over the world, as mine do. To say they are somehow inferior is completely without justification.

Pianos developed to be bigger, louder, noisier, so they could fill large concert halls. Many manufacturers, S&S and M&H for example, went to great lengths to sell their ‘new and improved’ models to an ignorant and unsuspecting public. The S&S ‘diaphragmatic’ soundboard which has caused no end of problems with the killer octave having dead tone is still marketed today. The M&H ‘Crown Retention System’, a dubious invention is another example.

Nevertheless, composers used what they had available. It inspired them, and the notes on the page have no meaning without sound. We tend to forget the awful power of music, which is all about sound. It can be transcendent, it can be visceral, it can arise passions within us. This is what the teacher needs to be able to demonstrate for the aspiring and the gifted musician.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2780241
11/11/18 09:41 PM
11/11/18 09:41 PM
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If "She's a fantastic teacher and a virtuoso," she should be charging an appropriate fee for her abilities and provide a piano that's appropriate. I don't think not every teachers have to have two Steinways or Fazioli in the studio, but my take is that little is learned from playing on a poor quality instrument. A good quality instrument allows students to learn what is possible on a piano, and how to get the desirable effects. A poor piano prevents making the connection between the student's playing and the outcome.

My partner and I do have top quality instruments in our studio, which are maintained by top technicians in the area. With some of the students working on some advanced repertoire (Chopin Etudes, some of the bigger Beethoven sonatas, etc) providing them with a poor environment would simply add to frustration.

An instrument should be as transparent as possible, for both teaching and for performing. I was fortunate that all of my teachers had quality instruments, and I had access to concert instruments to play on occasion in my youth.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: prout] #2780264
11/11/18 11:51 PM
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Originally Posted by prout
...Pianos developed to be bigger, louder, noisier, so they could fill large concert halls. Many manufacturers, S&S and M&H for example, went to great lengths to sell their ‘new and improved’ models to an ignorant and unsuspecting public. The S&S ‘diaphragmatic’ soundboard which has caused no end of problems with the killer octave having dead tone is still marketed today. The M&H ‘Crown Retention System’, a dubious invention is another example...


I do not think that there has been any significant difference in the size, loudness, or noisiness of pianos in over 100 years. Well, there have been some exceptionally small pianos made, which are compromised, but that is not the point of what was said.

If I were to line up a few dozen pianos, I would not be able to tell which ones have a "killer octave" and which do not. Frankly, I think this is advertising hype for technicians who need an excuse for upselling expensive rebuilding jobs. I have never heard anyone complain about it at any concert I have tune for, on pianos of many different ages.

The Mason & Hamlin Centripetal Resonator may be a dubious invention, but they certainly have made fine pianos.


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Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: BDB] #2780395
11/12/18 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Originally Posted by prout
...Pianos developed to be bigger, louder, noisier, so they could fill large concert halls. Many manufacturers, S&S and M&H for example, went to great lengths to sell their ‘new and improved’ models to an ignorant and unsuspecting public. The S&S ‘diaphragmatic’ soundboard which has caused no end of problems with the killer octave having dead tone is still marketed today. The M&H ‘Crown Retention System’, a dubious invention is another example...


I do not think that there has been any significant difference in the size, loudness, or noisiness of pianos in over 100 years. Well, there have been some exceptionally small pianos made, which are compromised, but that is not the point of what was said.

If I were to line up a few dozen pianos, I would not be able to tell which ones have a "killer octave" and which do not. Frankly, I think this is advertising hype for technicians who need an excuse for upselling expensive rebuilding jobs. I have never heard anyone complain about it at any concert I have tune for, on pianos of many different ages.

The Mason & Hamlin Centripetal Resonator may be a dubious invention, but they certainly have made fine pianos.
In general, I agree with everything you have said. By 1918, 100 years ago, the technology and ‘patented’ improvements, with the exception, perhaps, of composite action, had been fixed.

I do think hammer hardness, and therefore, upper partials and excited NSL noise, increased until very recently. Also, I wonder, and you might know, better than I, if increased stretch in the treble tuning of concert venue grands increased as well over that time period.

You may well be right about the ‘killer’ octave issue, but I wonder if many pianos exhibit soundboard impedance issues in that part of the compass? I have one note, G#5, and G5 and A5 to a leesor extent, have always had a slightly woody sound. Voicing the hammers made no difference, and replacing the hammers with a different type made no difference. What do you think?

As far as M&H is concerned, I love my M&H BB Crown Retention System. I thump it lovingly every time I’m under the piano, which is every time I fill my Dampp Chaser, and then have to stow the fill hose.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2788534
12/06/18 10:05 PM
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Sure. First, give us a short video of you playing your teacher's piano. And if possible, maybe also include a video of your teacher playing the piano. You know, for comparison's sake. After that, we on the forum can have a better idea on how we can help you. smile

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2789259
12/09/18 01:30 AM
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Just ask her to please wheel out the Bechstein grand !

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2789567
12/09/18 07:59 PM
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If she speaks Spanish - simply say:

"Tu piano chupa"


Amateur Pianist and raconteur.
Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: prout] #2789644
12/10/18 02:10 AM
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Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Thejumpsuitman
I would advise the OP to read about Frederic Chopin’s attitude toward pianos. In this link are quotes from Chopin and his student about the Erard piano vs. the Plyel. Chopin actually considered it to be dangerous to play too much on an instrument with inherent tonal beauty.

http://www.radiochopin.org/episodes...d-piano-concerto-no-1-in-e-minor-op-11-i
Yeah, I know the quote. IMNSHO, he was wrong, and most pianists, and all professional concert pianists, want or demand instruments of inherent tonal beauty.

Can you image Debussy or Ravel writing their impressionistic music with its vast array of tonal colours and resonances, and suggesting in the published score “I recommend that this not be played on a piano with inherent tonal beauty. It sounds better on a dull, tonally dead instrument.”

Did you really just say chopin was "wrong" without even reading the actual quote?

What he said was:

What came out perfectly on my solid and robust Erard became brusque and ugly on Chopin’s piano. He found it dangerous to use for too long an instrument with a beautiful sound, such as the Erard. He said that those instruments destroy the touch: ‘It makes no difference whether you tap the keys lightly or strike them more forcefully: the sound is always beautiful and the ear asks for nothing more, for it is under the spell of the full, rich sound.’

He was talking about a specific model and about the action. Just like old baldwins that are impossible to play quietly on. But you know better I guess. *rolls eyes*.

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Brian Sweeney] #2789649
12/10/18 02:57 AM
12/10/18 02:57 AM
Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 507
North Vancouver
L
Lady Bird Online content
500 Post Club Member
Lady Bird  Online Content
500 Post Club Member
L

Joined: Aug 2018
Posts: 507
North Vancouver
Well then just wheel the teacher out of the room then .

Re: How do I Tell My Teacher Her Piano Sucks? [Re: Thejumpsuitman] #2790798
Yesterday at 08:29 AM
Yesterday at 08:29 AM
Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 5
N
nebinnamak Offline
Junior Member
nebinnamak  Offline
Junior Member
N

Joined: Dec 2018
Posts: 5
+1 for Thejumpsuitman

I used to have the opposite problem. I practiced on a piano that was far inferior to my instructor. So I would at first get really distracted when I started playing on their piano... like distracted by how good it sounded, distracted by the different feel of the keys, even the texture of the keys... the whole situation was distracting.

Then as I improved it eventually didn't matter what piano I sat at. I played the same, because I was a better player and had practiced more.

So if you are getting distracted by sitting at a different piano, I think I would say you need to practice more and eventually it won't bother you.

Also, if you practice more, your teacher will likely let you graduate to the piano in the next room.

; )

Only change teachers if you feel you are practicing enough and not improving or getting what you need from the teacher.

Last edited by nebinnamak; Yesterday at 08:31 AM.
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