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Originally Posted by megama
What is a mother to do when a child has so much talent but to encourage her on the RCM route?


Study jazz piano. Begin the trumpet. Learn viola. Join a choir. Pick up a guitar. Start a garage band. Write songs. The list is endless.

I really think the OP is Kreisler, having us all on.

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Originally Posted by megama
Originally Posted by Para Otras
Now you simply sound like a liar. I'm sorry, but it's true.



Wow, I think I'm done with this forum. Thank you all.

I hope you won't let a single or a few posters put you off the wealth of wisdom the people in this forum have to offer.

I am struck by the tension around the cost of the lessons, and what that must be setting up for your daughter about pressure to perform well. Is it possible that, despite the money pressures, you can decide that piano lessons are a gift you give your daughter, and that she doesn't have to measure up to a certain standard to merit having the lessons? Money was a concern in my family growing up, and I wish there had been more things where my parents had let me know that I didn't have to worry about the cost; that they had made a decision to spend money there and they had things under control.

There are tons of ways to learn about music and playing piano in all sorts of excellent ways without having to follow an exam syllabus or take exams.


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Nothing wrong with stopping lessons and putting the lesson money toward a trip to Disneyland. You get to put your money toward whatever you value. It's YOUR money.

Yea Disneyland!

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Originally Posted by Para Otras
Now you simply sound like a liar. I'm sorry, but it's true.


Are comments like these really necessary?


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Originally Posted by Minaku
Originally Posted by Para Otras
Now you simply sound like a liar. I'm sorry, but it's true.


Are comments like these really necessary?
I'm sorry if it was too rude, but after she kept repeating herself and not even discussing what people were adding to the conversation, it just seemed that way. Maybe it wasn't necessary.

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I figure the damage done by accusing a poster of being a troll or lying when they sincerely want advice is worse than wasting a few minutes replying to a troll. Why not just give people the benefit of the doubt?

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So, megama, don't be offended. This is the internet, and people do come here with fantastic fiction, for whatever reason. We can only go on what you tell us, and most of us are just trying to work out what's actually going on from this (necessarily incomplete) information. Sometimes it isn't easy. You could probably give us the benefit of the doubt as well. The situation you describe has some unusual aspects to it, which understandably makes some suspicious.


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Originally Posted by currawong
So, megama, don't be offended. This is the internet, and people do come here with fantastic fiction, for whatever reason. We can only go on what you tell us, and most of us are just trying to work out what's actually going on from this (necessarily incomplete) information. Sometimes it isn't easy. You could probably give us the benefit of the doubt as well. The situation you describe has some unusual aspects to it, which understandably makes some suspicious.

thumb
As always, you are the voice of reason! wink

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Originally Posted by Para Otras
Originally Posted by Minaku
Originally Posted by Para Otras
Now you simply sound like a liar. I'm sorry, but it's true.


Are comments like these really necessary?
I'm sorry if it was too rude, but after she kept repeating herself and not even discussing what people were adding to the conversation, it just seemed that way. Maybe it wasn't necessary.


There is a way to show your disbelief without being rude. Imagine saying this to a real client. I don't think you would, so why would you say it to someone on PianoForums, no matter how far-fetched you think the story is?

megama, you've had a lot of helpful suggestions here. Best of luck.


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Originally Posted by megama
What is a mother to do when a child has so much talent but to encourage her on the RCM route?


Megama, this is in fact the last thing I would do given your description of your daughter's abilities and interests.

For someone who has a great ear, can play to the level you're suggesting, but gets bogged down with the amount of refining that is needed to play classical repertoire well at that level, I would definitely recommend a change of focus.

Your daughter sounds like she would do extremely well exploring more contemporary styles, particularly jazz improvisation and perhaps composition.

I definitely would NOT continue looking at exam repertoire, regardless of whether or not it was with an exam in mind.

She needs to find her love of music again, she needs to explore her particular musical strengths and it sounds to me as though the RCM path is simply stifling those.

It may mean a change in teacher (in fact I think this would be a good idea, as it would feel like a fresh start for your daughter).

What I don't recommend is taking the summer off. Engage her love for the piano NOW, allowing the negative feelings she's having to develop will only make things worse in the future.


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I'm not a teacher, I'm a parent who just sold gold jewelry to finance my daughter's sport. (Tiger mom? Irresponsible parent?) At the bank they asked if I wanted it in a college savings plan...I said no, I'm a foolish parent who lets her child take a sport I can barely afford.

Look, I work, my husband is disabled and cannot work, I have a kid in college and one who is crazy about a sport and piano. I KNOW the stress these activities can give, but I also know the joy and lessons they learn from it.

If you have your child quit, be honest and say it's not something you can afford. It has nothing to do with the child, their effort or potential.

You can't put your child in an activity and expect them to be the star. It's not fair to the child. You can be supportive. Honey, I noticed you seem unhappy with the testing process. Let's take the focus off and instead let's see if you would like to learn a different variety of music. Protect the child before protecting anyone's interest in the child.

Why does she play piano? For a certificate? Or because you value a deep love of music?

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Originally Posted by megama
More facts about my daughter. 1. She can hear a piece of music and tell me right away what key it is in.

This is actually not a big deal at all. I have many student who can do the same. Perfect pitch does not equate good piano-playing.

Originally Posted by megama
2. She has a repertoire song memorized within a week of practising (without meaning to). I know because I notice that she doesn't look at the book anymore when she plays it.

This is actually quite common, especially for levels 1-3. Again, not a particularly good thing, as some kids won't be able to fix mistakes or wrong fingering later on.

Originally Posted by megama
3. She has absolutely no problem identifying intervals, chords etc.

With perfect pitch, aural ID of intervals and chords are child's play. If she has perfect pitch AND has problems identifying intervals and chords, then something is wrong.

Originally Posted by megama
What is a mother to do when a child has so much talent but to encourage her on the RCM route?

If your child is really, really, really talented, then send her to competitions! Then you'll see what really, really, really talented kids sound like.


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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by megama
What is a mother to do when a child has so much talent but to encourage her on the RCM route?

If your child is really, really, really talented, then send her to competitions! Then you'll see what really, really, really talented kids sound like.
I see what you did here, AZNPiano, but I'd like to differ a little.

Do NOT send her to competitions! I mean don't we have enough kids under enormous pressure? Let her be. If she likes Lady Gaga, have her play that. If she likes NIN let her play that. If she likes Chopin let her play that. ALL of that! Have her enjoy what she's doing, because if we go back 6 pages, SHE wants to stop and you're considering it!

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Here is what I can gather from MegaMa’s posts:

1.Daughter is intelligent. “skipped grade 1 and is constantly getting A’s at tests studying by herself"

2.Daughter is musically gifted. “9 year old daughter is having her RCM Grade 7”, “doesn't feel the level 7 pieces are hard to play”, “to play radio songs on the piano and even composed simple tunes and wrote them down on staff lines”, “She can hear a piece of music and tell me right away what key it is in. 2. She has a repertoire song memorized within a week of practising (without meaning to)”

3. Daughter has been taught by Mom at home before formal lessons. “She was already playing techniques and RCM Level 4 songs by the time she started lessons with piano teachers”, “I started her young at home”

4. Daughter is taking lessons from teachers to prepare for exams. “What is a mother to do when a child has so much talent but to encourage her on the RCM route?”, “She got to RCM Level 7 because the teachers she's been with decided so after trying her on different levels”

5. Daughter finds preparing for exams are boring, “she finds practising the same songs for months to be laborious and boring”

6. Daughter wants to quit formal lessons, but continues to learn from Mom. “What I was thinking is buying her RCM grade 8 repertoire and studies as well as technique books and have her play them leisurely at home while I try to help her along (her 11 year old sister is doing RCM Grade 8 now so I have an idea of what is required). That way, she won't feel the pressure so much to be ready for the next lesson.”

7. So, Mom comes to the forum and asks if daughter should quit formal lessons, which presumably are paid for to prepare her for exams (“What is a mother to do when a child has so much talent but to encourage her on the RCM route”), if she’s not interested in taking exams.

The situation is unique, but the question is legit. Speaking as a parent who is in a similar situation regarding lessons for another activity, my answer is Yes. If the sole purpose of taking lessons is to prepare for the exams, and your daughter is no longer interested in taking them, then it logically seems like you’re wasting your money if your daughter continues. You have done a good job guiding her on your own (“She was already playing techniques and RCM Level 4 songs by the time she started lessons with piano teachers”), so continue to do so if she stops formal lessons. I do want to caution you regarding teaching your own child however. I’m not a teacher, but from what I can gather from reading the numerous posts in this forum, and from my own experience at teaching my son tennis, a damaged relationship is a likely outcome in such an arrangement.

Regarding the negative responses you have received, I think it’s all a misunderstanding. When teachers see “stop lessons”, they read “quit playing (learning)” without reading further. The thing that I like about this forum is that the teachers, parents, and lurkers that frequent here are very passionate about piano teaching and music. You’ll therefore get many good suggestions here. But perhaps because of their passions, you might get crucified if they misunderstand your posts. I hope you can ignore a few negative posts, and continue to visit the forum for the wealth of information it offers. Welcome to the forum, by the way!

--------------------

To the forum posters –

Since my son started piano lessons a few years back, I have visited this forum frequently to post or read the information here. What I like about the forum is that the suggestions/discussions are helpful, thoughtful, and for the most part civil. I have never thought I would see a day in this forum that a caring parent with a legitimate question regarding her daughter’s piano study is called “overbearing”, “a liar”, “bragging”, “a troll”, etc.

It’s a shame, really…

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Originally Posted by hippido
I have never thought I would see a day in this forum that a caring parent with a legitimate question regarding her daughter’s piano study is called “overbearing”, “a liar”, “bragging”, “a troll”, etc.

It’s a shame, really…
I do agree and I find that all these comments are completely overboard, but not without reason.

I think that it's also legit that someone may assume that megamam a is bragging for her daughter. You see it's something that some parents (me inclusive) do sometimes. I mean I made a thread about a month ago, about my own son, aged 8, etc... Linked to some thoughts about talent. And I LOVE talking about myself! grin.

So it's no wonder some people felt weird with this thread, given the fact that we know very little about megamama and her recent appearance over here...

Now, the fact that some posters went too aggressive remains true and I regret that! frown

Oh well

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano

If your child is really, really, really talented, then send her to competitions! Then you'll see what really, really, really talented kids sound like.

I fail to see how sending a child to competitions will give a parent an idea of what direction to give her child. I also think that if the child is already feeling pressured to the point of wanting to quit, then it's as unwise an advice as telling a thirsty person in the desert to eat bread crumbs. Additionally, some kids in competitions learn a handful of pieces which are drummed into them to perfection according to judges' tastes, and they may not be given the other skills of musicianship (reading, for example). An added thought is that when you are not trained as a musician, you may not even hear what makes this performance superior to that. I have a pretty good ear and musical instinct, but I hear a lot more now than I did before starting lessons, and even now I am light years away from hearing what a good trained musician can hear.

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I think that the general idea behind AZNs proposal was that the kid be seen and judged by someone other than the mother/parent and teacher. Someone who will objectively offer some insights... It's quite bad to have a child labelled 'a talent' at an early age, but it's even worst if there isn't a shred of evidence to that... And right now a teacher and her mother are not really able to offer accurate insights to that, I think.

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Here is what I actually see:

A bright self-motivated child whose senses include a strong ear began learning to play the piano via a parent who is not herself a trained musician. Those particular strengths run in my family, including myself, so I recognize them (esp. ear and self-motivation). The surface things of music are readily picked up: recognize the melody, the music, play it mostly by ear. A strong teacher would have aimed to give skills that run underneath from the very beginning, and would continue developing them. This is the "depth" part of music. If you can catch on fast, then you will ride the surface without knowing it. Some teachers are then mesmerized by how "fast" the student is, and they race through the grades. It's exciting to "progress" fast, and it can even enhance a teacher's reputation that she can get a student to reach grade 8 so quickly. There are also the politics and pressures of remaining competitive among customer demands.

I would think immediately that a child who has the listed abilities might be weak in reading abilities because they are not needed. It can fool you - in my case I covered 5 grades, never hearing examples of what I was playing, before we discovered I couldn't really read even while I was staring at the sheet, and had taken written music home to learn the piece in the first place.

A bright child with instinct in music who started off self-motivated needs musical depth for two reasons. By depth I mean other aspects of music such as reading, theory, articulation, voicing, technique, which can also involve things like improvisation. One reason is that producing pieces that are harder and harder, without seeing what lives inside this music, is ultimately boring. When you start understanding the nature of music it is fascinating, and it becomes a toy - a set of building blocks that sets the imagination free. Secondly, IF you have an ear and try to do more with the music, you don't know enough (you don't have enough tools) to bring it about, and then it becomes a frustrating struggle.

There is too much of an emphasis at "product" - getting at higher grades, getting a nice sounding piece, winning at competitions or having high exam marks - and not enough on "process" - developing a student and understanding how to make music in depth instead of quantity. If a parent has been caught out in this and misguided (or not guided), then you can't blame the parent. This parent has come to the point of seeing that there is some kind of problem and that is a good first step, no?

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Honestly, I think people on this forum can actually see very little from the short description that the mom gives about her child. People fill in the blanks themselves and arrive at very different conclusions.

The mom should direct her questions to the teacher, instead of strangers on a website.

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People on this forum have always been quick to jump to conclusions, very often negative, when dealing with new posters.


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