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#2485747 11/29/15 05:38 PM
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I found a teacher who really amazed me and decided to switch. I'm probably overestimating how much my old teacher will care but UGH the guilt. I feel bad because my old teacher was good and taught me a lot. I am grateful. But, I couldn't shake the feeling that I should explore teachers with a different style. I thought about giving my old teacher a chance but my gut told me that if I did not take this opportunity I would really be missing out on something special.

Wanted to post in case any others wanted to commiserate.


"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine." -Beethoven
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I wouldn't worry about it to much. I think students in general value the relationship a lot more than the teachers, the student has 1 teacher but the teacher might have 20-30 students that constantly change.

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Did you ever try to change things with your "old" teacher? We aren't mind readers, and so unless someone says they'd like to learn a certain thing, we assume all is going well. Then suddenly, "I'm just not happy because you're not teaching me XYZ," when you never requested that to begin with.

I have no idea what the situation is with your "old" teacher, but I thought you may want to see it from a teacher's perspective. If you have spoken to them about the things you are not satisfied with and it hasn't changed, then you can discontinue lessons according to their policy (or give them at least 2 weeks' notice if they don't have a policy) and do so guilt-free.

AndrewJCW: I think your opinion is a supposition on your part without really knowing. Good teachers do not have students that constantly change. I have students that I have seen grown up, and many of them spend over 5 years with me. I have a max of 20 students, usually less, and I care a lot about each of them. There are those that come and go, of course, but the majority stay for years, and most that leave do so due to circumstances in their lives that do not involve me.

Sure, there are those teachers that don't care, barely know their students, etc., but that doesn't mean we are all like that.


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I did think about bringing some things up, for some time. However, I think it would be difficult for him to change in the way that I want. It isn't the problem of I want to learn x, y, z. It was more of how he communicates at times, and I have this feeling after a lessons that something is missing for me as a student. I wasn't sure what. Also, the idea of bringing up the subject feels pretty awkward because then I feel like the most demanding student ever.

The other part is that when I was with the new teacher, I felt like it was the best lesson I have ever had. I would feel wrong just trying to force my old teacher into the mold of this new teacher...you can't turn people into someone else. If it was something as simple as I want to learn these types of songs or this specific technique my problem would have been easy to fix a long time ago. But, it isn't that simple so I looked elsewhere.



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I wouldn't sweat it too much. We all go to different people to learn different things. I've had tons of teachers over the years and still do (though when professionals go to one, we call them "coaches". I guess it sounds better.). Not every teacher is good at teaching everything, and personalities play into it as well. If you're getting more of what you want out of this new teacher, great. It's not always a matter of skill level, but where their specialty and focus is as well. Every teacher should know their strengths and weaknesses.

It's like any other relationship... some last years, some outlive their usefulness.

Oh, and students stop taking lessons all the time. Your old teacher should be used to it and not take it personally.


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I must confess that personally I could not change teachers and keep a clear conscience. I have only been playing for about 5 or 6 weeks and saw a teacher the second week that I bought my piano. She gave me some rather cloudy signals and the following week I went and saw another teacher. I now see them both, one on a Monday evening and one on a Wednesday evening. Teacher 1 is quite loose with her teaching style and guides me in the direction that I tell her I wish to go. Teacher 2 is far more strict and rigid and has me concentrating on fingering and will not allow me to deviate. Both teachers tell me that they feel I am progressing and that they both appreciate the fact that I am practicing extremely heavily. Both fully appreciate that I am absolutely desperate to progress. Both are helping me in considerable ways to do so. I appreciate that I have fallen into a trap largely of my own making but now I could not dispatch either of them. I suspect people far more clued up than I will suggest that this is not the correct way to do things but I can also see progress in myself. Until this progress ceases I am very happy to continue. I suspect the time will come when I am forced to drop one or the other and I am probably postponing the inevitable by which time it will be even more difficult for me. At this point in time though I just cannot let either go.

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Originally Posted by Tonedeef
I must confess that personally I could not change teachers and keep a clear conscience. I have only been playing for about 5 or 6 weeks and saw a teacher the second week that I bought my piano. She gave me some rather cloudy signals and the following week I went and saw another teacher. I now see them both, one on a Monday evening and one on a Wednesday evening. Teacher 1 is quite loose with her teaching style and guides me in the direction that I tell her I wish to go. Teacher 2 is far more strict and rigid and has me concentrating on fingering and will not allow me to deviate. Both teachers tell me that they feel I am progressing and that they both appreciate the fact that I am practicing extremely heavily. Both fully appreciate that I am absolutely desperate to progress. Both are helping me in considerable ways to do so. I appreciate that I have fallen into a trap largely of my own making but now I could not dispatch either of them. I suspect people far more clued up than I will suggest that this is not the correct way to do things but I can also see progress in myself. Until this progress ceases I am very happy to continue. I suspect the time will come when I am forced to drop one or the other and I am probably postponing the inevitable by which time it will be even more difficult for me. At this point in time though I just cannot let either go.


As long as it works for you, keep on playing.. you can learn from both
you will know when it becomes confusing and non-helpful and that you need to drop one


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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@Tonedeef: I would at least let each teacher know of the other one so that there are no surprises and conflicting teaching.

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Changing teacher is a necessary step in music education. The most important thing for a musician, or a wannabe musician, is to be able to find your own way. Using multiple teachers, therefore gaining multiple point of view, is a necessity, not an option.

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I have been struggling with this for a while now. I seem to be doing ok with my present teacher but he frequently has lots of drama going on in his life and this can be distracting. We will spend time at the beginning of the lesson discussing his drama and that takes away from the time allotted for the lesson. Then I can tell there are times he is distracted. I was ready to start looking for new teacher and then this week we had a good lesson. So the struggle will continue for a while. Just the thought of telling him I am moving on makes me feel guilty


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I took introductory lessons with a teacher at a local music store for a year. It was a great experience in that I learned to read music and the basics, but the lessons were lacking in enthusiasm and technique criticism. I found a new teacher I absolutely love who is working on all those things my last teacher missed.

If you're having reservations about your current teacher, I'd say to vocalize them with him/her. If nothing really changes, move on. If you're like me and piano has become an important part of your life, you getting fulfillment out of it is more important than sticking with a teacher out of guilt.

Last edited by joename; 12/01/15 10:09 AM.

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I don't think that learning from two teachers is bad thing for everyone. However, for me I do not think it would be a good thing. I would start to feel like there was too much feedback to process and it would be hard to select which goals are the most important to work towards. We all have our differences and I would think this depends on what your current goals and abilities are.

However, if you stick with two teachers because it is difficult for you to handle confrontation or deal with feelings of guilt/disloyalty then I don't think this is healthy. You should be able to make decisions about what is best for you as a student, because no one knows you better than yourself. I understand that confrontation or giving feedback is not easy. Additionally, I think it may be harder for some students because our teachers are our primary way that we receive feedback and unless the teacher is totally unqualified (which I am sure I would notice, but I am at an intermediate level) I have a strong sense of respect and gratitude for what I have learned.


"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine." -Beethoven
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Yes, I think that this has been the most important realization in all of this. I will never be done learning more about music until I am dead. I sometimes have a slight twinge of regret that I did not go into music education - but like most careers each comes with their pros and cons and I don't think I would have been well equipped personality wise to handle the aspects of being a musician or a music teacher as a career.

For now I am just very grateful that my current career allows me to afford lessons. So, learning as a hobby to hopefully improve greatly over many years is good enough for me. My next goal after I work out my technique issue is to push myself to perform. I'm getting there slowly but surely and I have faith that this next teacher can help in a way that will be very beneficial.


"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets; art deserves that, for it and knowledge can raise man to the Divine." -Beethoven
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As a bit of an aside to piano playing and piano teachers I teach fly fishing for salmon and trout. Every student I have and have ever had I give and have given my complete all. When I first started out the thought of a client going away from me without reaching their full potential made my stomach churn. When I teach now I get that same feeling. Some clients however just don't want to learn and don't really listen. I still see this as a failing on my part on not on theirs. This is because teaching is about finding what best switches the student or client onto the subject matter and holds them there long enough for the lesson goal to ingrain itself. I feel that we should give teachers of whatever subject matter some latitude since they are just trying to do a job to the best of their own ability. I don't wish this to sound like a cop out but teaching any subject matter is not easy.

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Originally Posted by Bsw
I have been struggling with this for a while now. I seem to be doing ok with my present teacher but he frequently has lots of drama going on in his life and this can be distracting. We will spend time at the beginning of the lesson discussing his drama and that takes away from the time allotted for the lesson. Then I can tell there are times he is distracted. I was ready to start looking for new teacher and then this week we had a good lesson. So the struggle will continue for a while. Just the thought of telling him I am moving on makes me feel guilty
Approximately how much of your lesson time is spent with your teacher discussing non-lesson things? If it's only a few minutes out of thirty or five out of an hour, then shrug it off.

If it's more, then maybe you could try pre-empting it by following your greeting ("Good afternoon, Mr. Piano Teacher") with something like "Today I'd like to start right away with a problem I'm having with m. 586 of the 'Goes-On-Forever' sonata."

Or you could try telling him you'd rather get down to the lesson than chat about his problems. Doing this diplomatically might not be easy. Maybe something on the order of "Lately it seems like we've been spending a lot of time on other things. I feel like I really need my lesson time for working on what you've assigned me."

If you do decide to get another teacher, find the new teacher first before you sign off with the first teacher.


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Thank you for the advice. This week I started right in playing and that seemed to get him(or me) focused right away. My lessons are 30 minutes and when we start late, as happens, or spend more than 5 minutes on his latest drama I feel cut short.


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million$glasses, maybe you can see you changing teachers from the perspective of your style did not match with your old teacher, so you are freeing up your time slot so other students whose style match better with your old teacher will get the chance to take it.

I changed teacher once, but my old teacher was not very good at all (chatting + cleaning her office + not noticing my deliberate mistakes during lessons), so no guilt at all.

However, if I need to change from my current teacher, I think I will have to revisit this thread and eat lots of chocolate to ease the guilty feeling. smile

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Bsw, my situation is the opposite. smile The first words that my teacher said every lesson are always "How's your music going?", and at first I thought, shouldn't we say, hello, good morning, how are you or some sort of pleasantries first. But now I appreciate that approach because it gets us talking about music right away.

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Originally Posted by HappyBee
million$glasses, maybe you can see you changing teachers from the perspective of your style did not match with your old teacher, so you are freeing up your time slot so other students whose style match better with your old teacher will get the chance to take it.

I changed teacher once, but my old teacher was not very good at all (chatting + cleaning her office + not noticing my deliberate mistakes during lessons), so no guilt at all.

However, if I need to change from my current teacher, I think I will have to revisit this thread and eat lots of chocolate to ease the guilty feeling. smile


I had my last lesson with my old teacher. It went so well! Which may sound odd since I am no longer with him. I will miss him he taught me a lot in a short period of time, I was with him for less than a year. We were a good match in some ways but not others. Primarily because I have so many technique issues that I want to focus exclusively on for a while and my new teacher uses a different method that I think will help me change entirely how I play.

The thing that really sucks though is that I will not start with my new teacher till after the holidays. So, I have a month that I am "off" from the piano in a way. It feels so aimless without lessons. I hate it. I am trying to brush up on theory stuff and sightreading. But, ugh I really dislike not having a teacher. I am one of the few people out there where I feel like I don't really want to play without a teacher because it is so frustrating to not have guidance.


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Originally Posted by million$glasses
I don't really want to play without a teacher because it is so frustrating to not have guidance.

One of the skills a good teacher can teach you, is how to learn to swim.

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