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Joined: Apr 2011
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Jolteon Offline OP
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So, I recently changed piano teachers to somebody who is very experienced, and very good. I've only had two lessons so far, and we've worked on the Bach and Chopin which I learnt over the Christmas break, and everything has been going great; and I feel like I've improved a heap already.

However, since the second lesson (on Monday), I'm finding it very difficult to sit down and practice the stuff we worked on. I feel like my head has been turned upside down, and no longer know where I'm going. Mostly, I think it has something to do with how she wants me to approach the Bach, as it is almost the opposite of what other people say, and how other people play it; and her way makes the otherwise fairly simple prelude, into something quite musically complicated. With this, I find that each day I get farther away from being able to play it - and that causes me to get distracted and waste time on other things.

Does anybody out there have any help as to how I can get out of this rut? Would it be a good idea just to leave the Bach alone until next lesson, or should I just struggle forward with it?


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I think you pretty much answered it in the last part of the post. It sounds like what your teacher suggested is counter to any way that you're able to feel or understand the piece. It's not surprising if you're having a block against practicing it in a way that goes against how you feel it and understand it.

If it were me, I'd feel I had two choices: Either just let myself continue to be "on strike" till the next lesson (with this understanding of what's causing it) and then discuss this all with the teacher, or meanwhile just don't worry about what was said in the lesson and let myself practice the piece freely according to however I want, and then still discuss it all in the next lesson. You need to discuss it regardless, and hopefully the two of you will arrive at something that works better -- either the teacher finds a way to help you feel it and understand it in her way, or she sees that you need some different kind of approach than she gave you last time.

A way to avoid something like this, I think, is to make sure that everything important that gets said in a lesson makes sense to you, and if it doesn't, discuss it until it does. I've always tried to do this, and it has sometimes been frustrating for my teachers when they've wished I'd just try stuff instead of trying to understand what is behind the suggestion. But I'm comfortable with it, my teachers have wound up being more-or-less comfortable enough with it ha .....and it avoids scenarios like you're describing, because I never leave a lesson with any loose threads like that.

BTW, if it's possible to have an extra lesson sooner than scheduled, that might be a good idea. And also, since this is a new teacher, I think we have to say that maybe it means the two of you just don't click well enough, but of course best to reserve judgment on that....

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If your teacher is an open-minded person, I would discuss your struggle with her.



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Originally Posted by Mark_C
I think we have to say that maybe it means the two of you just don't click well enough, but of course best to reserve judgment on that....


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I've been on this mortal coil since Noah ... and I still can't get Bach to knuckle under ... the chappie takes a lot of patience and dedication.

By packing the Bach in for a while, the Chopin should
find a new fizz.

Kind regards, btb

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Originally Posted by Jolteon
...and her way makes the otherwise fairly simple prelude, into something quite musically complicated.

But Bach, even when he seems simple, can be very complicated. Sometimes thinking carefully about the complicated aspects are necessary for achieving a good simple-sounding performance.

Anyway, which prelude is it, and can you give an example of the sort of musically complicated thing your teacher is imposing on you?


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Originally Posted by beet31425
But Bach, even when he seems simple, can be very complicated. Sometimes thinking carefully about the complicated aspects are necessary for achieving a good simple-sounding performance....

Well said. And your post makes me wonder if maybe the teacher just tried to give too much at once, or didn't explain it well enough (or at least not in a way that Jolteon could absorb), or maybe that the lesson was too short for what the teacher was trying to do.

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Jason is right. Maybe she is just trying to make you reach a higher performance level.

What is your impression when SHE plays? Do you like it?



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Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
Jason is right. Maybe she is just trying to make you reach a higher performance level....

But part of the teacher's task is to make it make sense to the student. If the teacher doesn't, then maybe it's that the idea isn't right for that student. Or, at least it means that the teacher didn't convey it well enough.

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Maybe she is trying to make it make sense to Jolteon, but a new approach takes some time to be internalized.
After two lessons I think it is a bit premature to really know if she is the right teacher for him.



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Struggles and working through struggles can often offer more learning experience than ease and coasting withing one's comfort zone.

Presumably you hired this teacher for the learning experience not for the comfort?

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Jolteon Offline OP
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Originally Posted by beet31425
Originally Posted by Jolteon
...and her way makes the otherwise fairly simple prelude, into something quite musically complicated.
Anyway, which prelude is it, and can you give an example of the sort of musically complicated thing your teacher is imposing on you?


It's the D minor prelude (and fugue) book 1. Whereas it's common for people to play it almost like a toccata, she has said it should be much slower: shaping each individual triplet as a micro-phrase, as well as the many other interwoven phrases as you look at the bigger picture. And she asked me to try and find some kind of "hidden melody" (or something like that) in the right hand figuration, as well as the left.

I do trust her opinion (she did study under a very big name pianist), and when she plays it like this, it does make a lot of sense. Maybe it's just my own incompetence right now that's causing me problems. smile


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I personally feel it like her, but it is just my opinion or preference.



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