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Minniemay #2116697 07/12/13 05:20 PM
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Actually, yes, they listened to me! I was shocked. But I've never blown up at a parent the way I did at this one. No, I didn't yell, but I certainly expressed my deep frustration. I think she was really surprised.



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Minniemay #2116705 07/12/13 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
She smiles when we talk, but not while she plays.

I never smile when I play, and neither do my students, although they often smile when *I* play. smile

Minniemay #2119874 07/18/13 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
This is so interesting. This child is only 5, yet seems to not experience an active fantasy life that most 5 yr olds seem to have. I even tried playing with an stuffed toy monkey with her and the only responses I got were facts about actual monkeys. She could not enter the make-believe world.

Cultural, perhaps? Parental environment?


Perhaps too much structure at home, with no down time. Just a thought.

Interesting thread.


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Minniemay #2119901 07/18/13 10:52 PM
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I've always thought my most important role was one of modeling [ not runway].....what I mean is I try to figure out how they learn and I adapt my teaching as necessary. I'd like to think the most important thing I do is share the love of the piano but it really is the love of humanity and their capabilities.

rada

I rarely show face emotion when I play...I don't want my listeners to watch my face....I want them to close their eyes and listen and if needed watch my hands....

Minniemay #2120264 07/19/13 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
Actually, yes, they listened to me! I was shocked. But I've never blown up at a parent the way I did at this one. No, I didn't yell, but I certainly expressed my deep frustration. I think she was really surprised.



Minniemay, did the parent sit in on lessons and interrupt? How did the parent interfere? I would be very interested to learn how you expressed your frustration.


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Minniemay #2120364 07/19/13 10:41 PM
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The parent interfered by doing everything counter to my instructions in home practice. The father was the offending parent, but I blew up at the mother because she was there.

It started with me inviting her into the lesson half way through and asking her some questions and offering some observations about what I saw happening with the child. When she described what the dad was doing at home (having previously been shown what was necessary and what should not be done), I actually started pulling at my hair and and telling her exactly how frustrated I was, that if this continued, I would not continue to teach them. I did actually raise my voice.

She took it seriously and things have been going better.

I think Barb nailed it on the head. These children are constantly structured and pushed. They are two girls that don't have dolls! I don't think imaginative play is encouraged.


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AZNpiano #2120428 07/20/13 05:49 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
When I teach piano, I don't just teach music. I teach the entire student, filling in gaps of knowledge and experience whenever and wherever it's necessary.


You sound like a really good teacher. I teach high school kids (not music) and I often find myself attempting to teach them things like kindness, grace, manners, patience, general knowledge. I think lessons learned about life are just as important as the subject studied.


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Minniemay #2120778 07/20/13 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Minniemay
She smiles when we talk, but not while she plays.


I honestly don't know if this is on topic or not.

My handbell choir has mastered the "look of grim death."

I start every performance the same way. "Bells down." All bells on the table, all ringers at attention. "Bells up." All bells come simultaneously to the shoulder ready to ring. "Eyes up." All eyes fixed on me, ready for my downbeat. "Smiles up." Brief grudging attempt at a smile, followed by quick sag into "look of grim death." And then we play.

They enjoy it at some level, yet the concentration required for amateurs to perform in public seems to add considerable stress.

I rarely ring but have done so at festivals filling in for a vacancy, and I find that shortly after starting the music catches me and I can't stop that inane grin from spreading over my face. Same thing happens when I play brass, the embouchure demands may prevent a real smile but it's there internally.

I've also played piano for church services, at the ragged edge of my capability with a train wreck possible at every beat, and I guess it's not impossible I was unable to smile. Until it was over. <g>

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The Elwood Blues I know once said that no pharmaceutical product could ever equal the rush you get when the band hits that groove; the people are dancin', and shoutin', and swayin'; and the house is rockin'!


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Minniemay #2120848 07/21/13 03:32 AM
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"grim look of death" haha! So true!

I not only grimace when I play, but I adopt a variety of ugly concentration faces.


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Minniemay #2120873 07/21/13 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Toastie
I think lessons learned about life are just as important as the subject studied.


Personally, I think lessons learned about life are *more* important, especially with a subject like piano. Few of the pupils being talked about here will ever become professional musicians in any way, shape or form. Many will play for a few years, and then stop forever, or only play very occasionally after.

AZN has previously described some of his students as 'sheltered' and 'unused to adversity'. He might not be able to train all of them to become great pianists. But I guarantee that even those who stay with him for only a couple of years (and learn relatively little, musically) will remember him for having taught them how to persevere when things don't come falling out of the sky into your lap.

My second piano teacher, to whom I will be forever grateful, got me to the point where I could play one of Bach's Little Preludes in nine months or so. Which I gather isn't bad, but I never played it all that well. Far more importantly, to me, she taught me to be OK with making mistakes in front of others. Although that remains a work in progress (and will remain so for a long time, I think), I have to say that it's a skill that comes in handy far more often, and in a far wider variety of situations, than being able to sorta-kinda play a three-hundred-year-old piece of music.

So yes, do teach the entire student. Try to provide what the parents can't, or won't. Sit down with this girl, and make her listen to an epic orchestral work, and imagine the story that goes with it. Somewhere down the line, she'll be glad you did.


Plodding through piano music at a frustratingly slow pace since 9/2012.

Standard disclaimer: I teach many things. Piano is not one of them.
Saranoya #2121190 07/21/13 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Saranoya
Originally Posted by Toastie
I think lessons learned about life are just as important as the subject studied.


Personally, I think lessons learned about life are *more* important, especially with a subject like piano.


Well I was going to say that, but I phrased it carefully, as I thought someone was likely to take offence. I myself have learned far more useful things than piano in my piano lessons.


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Toastie #2121229 07/21/13 07:36 PM
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I've learned far more useful things than playing the piano in lessons both as a student and as a teacher.

For one thing, when people are more concerned about the importance of playing well rather than in becoming a better person, it seems to me that everything that is really important has been lost.

Minniemay #2121296 07/21/13 11:51 PM
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This is an interesting article I just read today that relates to the OP's subject:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19212514


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Originally Posted by dumdumdiddle
This is an interesting article I just read today that relates to the OP's subject:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=19212514


Interesting article! Thanks for sharing!


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