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joename Offline OP
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I started taking lessons in August 2014 at a local music store. I worked through Alfred's book 1 with my teacher (who also taught guitar, bass, and voice) in a tiny room on an old digital piano. Lesson would generally unfold like this: I'd play the piece I was assigned the week before. If it was generally note perfect I would get a pass. Then I would struggle to sightread through the next piece. By the time I got to the end of that the lesson was usually over. It was a good experience in that I learned to read music, had to practice weekly to report back on progress, and I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment after getting a check mark. But I felt like I was missing something from the experience. Very little theory. No analysis of the piece. No criticism of my technique. No suggestions on phrasing, expressiveness, or dynamics.

I stopped with lessons in September, and casually searched while practicing on my own. Made very little progress since then, but finally found a local music school that looked good. Had my first lesson with my new teacher this morning and I was blown away.

We went through scales of C, G, and D to start (with cadences) and he got right to work correcting my technique, my posture, and my positioning. He explained using arm weight and relaxing (which I've been trying on my own, but it's difficult to monitor without someone observing).

We moved on to me playing one of the pieces I learned at the end of Alfred's book one. Right away he was giving me suggestions on phrasing and playing more expressively. He said I had things pretty much note perfect, but needed to work on putting emotion into the music. He started breaking the piece down into sections, and explained how one portion of the piece was a response to another, how this chord progressed to that, creating tension, etc, etc. It was fantastic.

For those beginners maybe not happy with your current teacher, consider shopping around. It's much easier to do this a bit into your studies because you have more of an idea what you're looking for, and what you want to get out of playing.

I just needed to get this all off my chest because it was such a wonderful lesson. I can't wait to go back.

Last edited by joename; 11/21/15 10:55 PM.

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It is amazing how much more can be gained from working with a motivated, talented teacher.


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congratulations joename on finding a good teacher. It is going to make a vast difference to your learning experience.


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

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Sounds like you met the right teacher at the right time. Sometimes it seems magical - and truly one of the many wonders in the world of music.



Enjoy.


"Imagine it in all its primatic colorings, its counterpart in our souls - our souls that are great pianos whose strings, of honey and of steel, the divisions of the rainbow set twanging, loosing on the air great novels of adventure!" - William Carlos Williams
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Yes, a teacher should get involved in his/her work.


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You can spend the rest of your life looking for music on a sheet of paper. You'll never find it, because it just ain't there. - Me Myself
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Cant imagine what a teacherd say to me; probably "you see the door you came in through. . . "


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Quote
. . .
We moved on to me playing one of the pieces I learned at the end of Alfred's book one. Right away he was giving me suggestions on phrasing and playing more expressively. He said I had things pretty much note perfect, but needed to work on putting emotion into the music. He started breaking the piece down into sections, and explained how one portion of the piece was a response to another, how this chord progressed to that, creating tension, etc, etc. It was fantastic.


Your first teacher was teaching piano. The new one is teaching music.



. Charles
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Originally Posted by joename
I started taking lessons in August 2014 at a local music store. I worked through Alfred's book 1 with my teacher (who also taught guitar, bass, and voice) in a tiny room on an old digital piano. Lesson would generally unfold like this: I'd play the piece I was assigned the week before. If it was generally note perfect I would get a pass. Then I would struggle to sightread through the next piece. By the time I got to the end of that the lesson was usually over. It was a good experience in that I learned to read music, had to practice weekly to report back on progress, and I enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment after getting a check mark. But I felt like I was missing something from the experience. Very little theory. No analysis of the piece. No criticism of my technique. No suggestions on phrasing, expressiveness, or dynamics.

I stopped with lessons in September, and casually searched while practicing on my own. Made very little progress since then, but finally found a local music school that looked good. Had my first lesson with my new teacher this morning and I was blown away.

We went through scales of C, G, and D to start (with cadences) and he got right to work correcting my technique, my posture, and my positioning. He explained using arm weight and relaxing (which I've been trying on my own, but it's difficult to monitor without someone observing).

We moved on to me playing one of the pieces I learned at the end of Alfred's book one. Right away he was giving me suggestions on phrasing and playing more expressively. He said I had things pretty much note perfect, but needed to work on putting emotion into the music. He started breaking the piece down into sections, and explained how one portion of the piece was a response to another, how this chord progressed to that, creating tension, etc, etc. It was fantastic.

For those beginners maybe not happy with your current teacher, consider shopping around. It's much easier to do this a bit into your studies because you have more of an idea what you're looking for, and what you want to get out of playing.

I just needed to get this all off my chest because it was such a wonderful lesson. I can't wait to go back.

Fantastic joename!

You have in just a few sentence described our teacher almost perfectly. Imagine how far you will be if this first lesson experience can continue for several years or more. That's where my wife and I are right now.

But a cautionary note: Adult students can be notoriously short on patience and long on expectations. You can read some threads about adult student issue in the Piano Teachers forum. There will be a steep learning curve, trust me. But if you put in the practice time and stick with it, the combination of a great teacher, great lesson material, and dedicated practice habits will probably yield great results over time.


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Thank you all for the kind words!

BrianDX,

I've struggled with having lofty expectations as an adult student, but I've been tempering them more and more when I look at the progress I've made over the last year. Looking forward a year from now I'm trying to be realistic, while also remaining excited about the potential a new teacher might have on my progress.

Last edited by joename; 11/23/15 12:53 PM.

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Awesome! I always tell people to beware and not just assume that a teacher is good, especially when you feel little or no progress. I believe the vast majority of people teaching music are unqualified to do so. Glad you didn't give up and found a good one!


-Brian
BM in Performance, Berklee College of Music, 23+ year teacher and touring musician
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