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meghdad Offline OP
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Motivated by a constant and relative dissatisfaction with my teachers, -whether objective or subjective, justified or otherwise- I ask you to please share whatever experience you've had with your teachers so that this could serve as reference for those doubtful about their teachers or those who are looking for one. Please include the following items in your posts:

  • Your age.
  • Your level approx.
  • How many teachers you've had?
  • Rate your overall satisfaction with teachers in percentage.
  • The reason(?) you changed your teacher(?), if any.
  • Were/Are the teachers free-lancers or music school employees?
  • Positives points overall.
  • Negative points overall.
  • Session duration and price.
  • While not at a session, are/were they available to answer your possible questions? Do you think it's necessary?


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There isn’t a formula, it comes down to your style as a student, flexibility on both sides and what are your goals? For adults, the fit is more important and they have experience in teaching all age range. If you have a rigid framework, you aren’t ever gonna be happy


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I’ve had the same one since I started four and a half years ago.
One hour lesson every week and rarely missed any.
Used to be in person but the last year it’s been Skype due to COVID
Very patient teacher. I’ve never wanted to try anyone else. I think he’s very good - seems to do everything properly- no shortcuts

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3 teachers in 5+ years now. 1st moved away, 2nd .. I moved away, and now a 3rd.

The 3rd really changed how I think about articulation, phrasing, relaxation, etc. It was clearly lacking when I started with her. I've been with her about a year and half now.


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Originally Posted by bSharp(C)yclist
3 teachers in 5+ years now. 1st moved away, 2nd .. I moved away, and now a 3rd.

The 3rd really changed how I think about articulation, phrasing, relaxation, etc. It was clearly lacking when I started with her. I've been with her about a year and half now.
Consider how much time you have wasted with the first two teachers and also the time needed to reverse possibly learnt bad habits.

And that is my problem with all the three teachers I've had during the last 9 months or so.
Every single one of them have had obvious stumbles in their teaching approach. This has been discussed in my other thread, where many people stood against my so-called "arrogance", pickiness, obsessiveness etc

I stand by my position though. Obvious faults in teaching are obvious. It's not rocket science. I am an adult, not a kid. I have had numerous teachers during the college, the high school and while learning other instruments and crafts etc. I can recognize careless, unresponsible teaching.
  • Having a student record a video of a piece performance by the teacher -with almost no instructions- and asking them to prepare the new piece for the next session IS a fault.
  • Not giving proper attention to the sitting position of a student, and not being rigid in this regard, IS a fault.
  • Not checking and monitoring any exercise, like the Hanon, IS a fault. Plus, telling a student to speed up the tempo for an exercise, or to add more exercises -without checking the result of the previous ones- IS a double fault.
  • Introducing a new piece with little or no fingering numbers, from random sources on the internet without using a standard method, without teaching the piece especially when there are new tricks to be learnt, IS a big fault.
  • Ignoring mistakes by a student, in the sitting position and overall body posture, IS a fault. Ignoring comments and questions by the student in this regard, because "you are overthinking stuff" when I know that I'm not, IS a fault.
  • ...


I will keep switching teachers until I find the right one. That, or I will seriously talk with the current teacher and settle stuff for once and all.

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There isn’t a formula, it comes down to your style as a student, flexibility on both sides and what are your goals? For adults, the fit is more important and they have experience in teaching all age range. If you have a rigid framework, you aren’t ever gonna be happy
Very true. Flexibility is very important, time-wise and teaching style-wise. I believe that with a freelancer teacher I'll have a better outcome especially as far as time flexibility is concerned.


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This has been discussed in my other thread, where many people stood against my so-called "arrogance", pickiness, obsessiveness etc

I did not see the other thread but I can see why people say that.

There are a few things you mentioned I wouldn't consider "careless, irresponsible teaching". For example asking the student learn a piece without instructions -- it really depends on where you're in your learning. I think there's a lot of value in trying to understand a new piece, figure out fingering, etc all on one's own, and then when you compare your results with the teacher's, you'll see difference and where to improve. If you take math, teachers demonstrate solving some problems in class and then assign you new problems for homework -- you don't complain about the teachers not showing you step by step do you? Why should piano homework be different?

Also ignoring mistakes by a student -- if you're a beginner like me, if the teacher corrected every single mistake you make, you would not even get past a single measure of music. Students can only focus on one or two things at a time, it's completely reasonable to point out one mistake, have the student fix it, and then move on to something else.

Last edited by Yao; 03/26/21 09:45 AM.
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Originally Posted by meghdad
Motivated by a constant and relative dissatisfaction with my teachers, -whether objective or subjective, justified or otherwise- I ask you to please share whatever experience you've had with your teachers so that this could serve as reference for those doubtful about their teachers or those who are looking for one. Please include the following items in your posts:

  • Your age.
  • Your level approx.
  • How many teachers you've had?
  • Rate your overall satisfaction with teachers in percentage.
  • The reason(?) you changed your teacher(?), if any.
  • Were/Are the teachers free-lancers or music school employees?
  • Positives points overall.
  • Negative points overall.
  • Session duration and price.
  • While not at a session, are/were they available to answer your possible questions? Do you think it's necessary?
I'm 38. I've only had one teacher, for about a year. Having a teacher isn't feasible for me at the moment. My teacher was a Taubman instructor who taught full-time and was of some renown as an instructor.
I really liked lessons. One of the things she did was encourage me to find my own works to learn. This was important to me, because I've actively listened to music for decades and have had by then developed musical tastes, which made a lot of the easier repertoire painful for me to learn--I was bored by it, couldn't feel it, and it felt like a chore to me. My teacher let me seek out easier pieces of the period I like and explore them. Lessons consisted of me playing. She would offer different fingerings, and she gently introduced me to matters of rotation and articulation. One of the surprising parts to me was that she focused on repertoire instead of exercises--I had been very familiar with exercises, and being of a certain athletic mindset I had thought that plowing through exercises was the best method to advance. She however thought that these should be approached with caution, urging me to simplify and work on the basics through actual pieces, only gradually showing me how to approach technique work through the Taubman technique. This was something I wasn't sure about at the time, but which I'm realizing now is an approach I think is more beneficial long term.

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Regarding @Yao’s 2 points, I kind of agree.

I usually learn my pieces without prior instruction from my teacher because I already know how to learn a piece. What I need instruction on is how to improve the piece after I’ve learned it, how to make it musical. So that’s normally where all my instruction is focussed on. At this point I’m probably an advanced beginner but this was how I was taught from the very beginning, but I did have a bit of foundation in music already as a child. I can see how an absolute beginner might need a little more front-end instruction at the very beginning but this period shouldn’t last too long.

I also think that a teacher must balance how many mistakes he fixes per session. If he chooses to fix every single mistake, that would be too frustrating and overwhelming for the student. A good teacher will eventually fix all mistakes but over time so as not to overwhelm. At least that’s how I think it should be done.

I don’t think @bSharp wasted his time but we’ll let him speak to his thoughts on that.


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  • I would count that as an excuse on the teacher's part i.e laziness. I pay the teacher, he/she has to walk me through everything, or at the very least give me hints when introducing a new piece to learn.
  • Otherwise, what's the value in having a teacher? Are you suggesting that it's OK to waste time, because that's not wasted time in your eyes? Are you telling me trial and error is fine? I'm not saying there's no value in trial and error but then, why? Let's see...
    I figure out fingering in one bar on my own (as I have already have). Next session, teacher "corrects" me. What exactly did I gain here? The wasted time?
    Now, I figure out fingering in another bar and it happens to be correct. So again, what did I learn here?
    Don't get me wrong. I am all for figuring things on my own. I have this OCD type mentality that forces me to stick to one thing, one little thing, until it's perfect, or near perfect. But then why am I paying the teacher? To set goals? To give me encouragement? Not saying it's cheap, but the teacher's price should be set fairly then.
  • You brought up the math example. When was that? Oh yes, like 15 years ago. I had lots of free time, and a relatively relaxed, free mind. I'm 33 now. I'd rather be taken through baby steps, be spoon-fed- for the most part- than to die or lose job or whatever that puts me under time/financial strain, with my piano progress being 1/2 the amount it could be otherwise.
    Not to mention that the example doesn't apply to the piano course anyways. There are lots of theoretical stuff to be learnt during math courses, and only after being thoroughly thought those stuff, you can go on your own to solve the related, appropriate problem. What is the piano teacher "teaching" me while introducing a new piece? Nothing.
    "Here is your new piece with no fingerings, these are the notes. You memorize bar 1 to 10 first, then move on to the bars 11 to 20 and repeat the same procedure. Also practice each hand separately." Right? For every new piece, this is the procedure. No explanation on how to apply dynamics and sonorité using physical, anatomical language. "Play this part softly, play this part more forcefully" Great, thanks for pointing me the obvious written on the sheet paper. I am not a retard you know? I can read, I can research, I can copy.
    Again, what use is such a teacher?


For reference, here's the new piece I'm talking about. The actual file that the teacher send me:
https://www.mfiles.co.uk/scores/beethoven-minuet-in-G.pdf

There are parts where I need to move my hand close to the top of the keys, or some weird fingerings to play lagato. I figured some on my own, the rest with the help of a version with fingerings that I found on the musescore website.

I hope you understand that spoon-feeding was an over-the-top phrase to to convey that time is, in my age and situation, the ultimate deciding factor, besides the money that's spent for the teacher.

And your last paragraph seems irrelevant and just doesn't apply to my situation.

Last edited by meghdad; 03/26/21 10:45 AM.

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Originally Posted by lautreamont
I'm 38. I've only had one teacher, for about a year. Having a teacher isn't feasible for me at the moment. My teacher was a Taubman instructor who taught full-time and was of some renown as an instructor.
I really liked lessons. One of the things she did was encourage me to find my own works to learn. This was important to me, because I've actively listened to music for decades and have had by then developed musical tastes, which made a lot of the easier repertoire painful for me to learn--I was bored by it, couldn't feel it, and it felt like a chore to me. My teacher let me seek out easier pieces of the period I like and explore them. Lessons consisted of me playing. She would offer different fingerings, and she gently introduced me to matters of rotation and articulation. One of the surprising parts to me was that she focused on repertoire instead of exercises--I had been very familiar with exercises, and being of a certain athletic mindset I had thought that plowing through exercises was the best method to advance. She however thought that these should be approached with caution, urging me to simplify and work on the basics through actual pieces, only gradually showing me how to approach technique work through the Taubman technique. This was something I wasn't sure about at the time, but which I'm realizing now is an approach I think is more beneficial long term.

Sounds like a true teacher to me. May I ask the price and time per session? And is she a freelancer, who comes to your place (So you're at the comfort of your place and the piano)?


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All in all, I believe that this 0.5 hour per week norm is a total rip-off, at least for most of the adults.


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Originally Posted by meghdad
Originally Posted by lautreamont
I'm 38. I've only had one teacher, for about a year. Having a teacher isn't feasible for me at the moment. My teacher was a Taubman instructor who taught full-time and was of some renown as an instructor.
I really liked lessons. One of the things she did was encourage me to find my own works to learn. This was important to me, because I've actively listened to music for decades and have had by then developed musical tastes, which made a lot of the easier repertoire painful for me to learn--I was bored by it, couldn't feel it, and it felt like a chore to me. My teacher let me seek out easier pieces of the period I like and explore them. Lessons consisted of me playing. She would offer different fingerings, and she gently introduced me to matters of rotation and articulation. One of the surprising parts to me was that she focused on repertoire instead of exercises--I had been very familiar with exercises, and being of a certain athletic mindset I had thought that plowing through exercises was the best method to advance. She however thought that these should be approached with caution, urging me to simplify and work on the basics through actual pieces, only gradually showing me how to approach technique work through the Taubman technique. This was something I wasn't sure about at the time, but which I'm realizing now is an approach I think is more beneficial long term.

Sounds like a true teacher to me. May I ask the price and time per session? And is she a freelancer, who comes to your place (So you're at the comfort of your place and the piano)?

This sounds like a true teacher to you? That sounds like a lot of good teachers to me. I’m confused by your opinions.

Anyway, I hope you find someone who fits your version of ideal teacher.

Last edited by WeakLeftHand; 03/26/21 10:56 AM.

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I agree with the Yao, lautreamont and WeakLeftHands points above!

I'm 24, and played for 6 months, had only 1 teacher during this time and I love her to death. What an amazing lady. She has a similar style to lautramonts teacher. I do learn a lot of technique ahead of the method books we use but I love already knowing something once it comes up in my books. Makes me feel smart 🤓.

I'll add, as an early adult beginner myself, I would be very frustrated if every lesson my teacher was picking apart every performance. It would make me nervous and perform even worse. I think most teachers know this about students of all ages but especially adults, I'm sure they come across many a hot headed student thinking they're the best thing since sliced bread and had to correct many mistakes only to be left with an angry unwilling student. However, if this is your preferred teaching style I think you'd need to be specific and really let your teacher know that's what you want/looking for from them. Many adult students are very relaxed in the learning of piano I feel, they're not trying to be stage performers generally, just playing for fun. I think a lot of teachers general approach would be more relaxed unless otherwise directed by the student.

A teacher normally will ask at the first lesson what they're trying to get out of this and tailor they're teaching to match you. If your teacher has not done this I suggest bringing it up!

I do see it as a big error not checking your exercise work. I'd definitely have a chat about that as well.

My teacher does assign me pieces without instructions. She likes me to try and figure out my own fingerings the first week and if they aren't good or I still need help she comes and adjusts things for me. She also like to do this with a piece I pick for myself. She gives new ones each week and I pick one to work on generally for about a month-ish.

It really helps to like your teacher and have a strong open dialog.

Goodluck to you OP! I hope you figure this teacher mess out! A good teacher is all the difference and makes playing that much more enjoyable!

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I have no idea how far you want to take your piano learning, if you’re content with being spoon fed, fine, tell your prospective teachers that’s exactly how you want to learn and see if you find someone who agrees.

At least I want to be able to become sufficiently independent that I can find new music on my own and learn to play it myself, without having to ask a teacher to explain everything to me.

As for what I learn by figuring out things on my own, for example if I choose a fingering and my teacher thinks it should be different, I will ask why. Sometimes she agrees that my fingering is also okay, and other times she explains the reason behind her choice, maybe it’s to emphasize a note or maybe it makes the transition smoother, whatever, and I find that illuminating as well. This is the kind of conversation you will never have if you always just take the fingering from teachers or books without thinking about it on your own.

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P.S The sheet linked above is supposed to be about learning how to play legato using finger stretching and stuff.

The version I am using now instead of the teacher's:
https://musescore.com/user/9292486/scores/5286801?share=copy_link


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Originally Posted by Emily2Lame
I agree with the Yao, lautreamont and WeakLeftHands points above!

I'm 24, and played for 6 months, had only 1 teacher during this time and I love her to death. What an amazing lady. She has a similar style to lautramonts teacher. I do learn a lot of technique ahead of the method books we use but I love already knowing something once it comes up in my books. Makes me feel smart 🤓.

I'll add, as an early adult beginner myself, I would be very frustrated if every lesson my teacher was picking apart every performance. It would make me nervous and perform even worse. I think most teachers know this about students of all ages but especially adults, I'm sure they come across many a hot headed student thinking they're the best thing since sliced bread and had to correct many mistakes only to be left with an angry unwilling student. However, if this is your preferred teaching style I think you'd need to be specific and really let your teacher know that's what you want/looking for from them. Many adult students are very relaxed in the learning of piano I feel, they're not trying to be stage performers generally, just playing for fun. I think a lot of teachers general approach would be more relaxed unless otherwise directed by the student.

A teacher normally will ask at the first lesson what they're trying to get out of this and tailor they're teaching to match you. If your teacher has not done this I suggest bringing it up!

I do see it as a big error not checking your exercise work. I'd definitely have a chat about that as well.

My teacher does assign me pieces without instructions. She likes me to try and figure out my own fingerings the first week and if they aren't good or I still need help she comes and adjusts things for me. She also like to do this with a piece I pick for myself. She gives new ones each week and I pick one to work on generally for about a month-ish.

It really helps to like your teacher and have a strong open dialog.

Goodluck to you OP! I hope you figure this teacher mess out! A good teacher is all the difference and makes playing that much more enjoyable!

Thanks for wishing me well. :-)

Regarding your fist paragraph, good for you. I have no method book though. The teacher himself is basically the "method" book. So I'm not sure what is he teaching, is it a method or whatever. I have put only my faith in him so far.

About your second point. I do like to be able to play for fun and of course I don't intend necessarily to become a performer. But that doesn't mean that the teaching approach has to be for the lack of a better word, careless or sloppy. I wan to be able to play even for myself, the best that I possibly can. I don't want nit picky teacher, that's just different.

And I suppose he has assumed that I just want to play for myself, on the basis that I have a full-time job and I'm almost in my mid-thirties etc
However he did ask me about the style I want to learn and I replied Classical, or Jazz maybe in the end or both.

About the fingering matter that everybody here seems to be focused on: It was just an example of something I consider essential to teach the basics first and then let the student to figure it out on his own slowly and gradually.

In this new piece, you can see the (at my level) crazy amount of finger and hand stretching, and even some rotation that he has absolutely never taught to me. A good teacher, imo, has to be orderly in his approach to teaching even such basic stuff. I'd say he should start with simple finger stretching pieces that have some fingering numbers on them and then slowly make it difficult and challenging by removing the finger numbers or giving more complex pieces.


Originally Posted by Yao
As for what I learn by figuring out things on my own, for example if I choose a fingering and my teacher thinks it should be different, I will ask why. Sometimes she agrees that my fingering is also okay, and other times she explains the reason behind her choice, maybe it’s to emphasize a note or maybe it makes the transition smoother, whatever, and I find that illuminating as well. This is the kind of conversation you will never have if you always just take the fingering from teachers or books without thinking about it on your own
Illuminating? Maybe you're thinking about it in terms of learning math? Because you aren't solving puzzles here, that is why there some fingering numbers even in the more challenging and advanced pieces. You get used to different fingerings and rotations gradually and you subconsciously apply them to suitable patterns of notes.
The teacher isn't being "benevolent" or special by not "recommending" you fingerings during the beginner stages of learning. In this case, he/she is only taking your precious money and time for basically nothing in return.

Case in point, I am learning this Minuet piece with basically no teacher instructions whatsoever, using the numbered version I found on the musescore app. Note that this piece is supposed to teach me hand/finger stretching while playing legato, and the only possible good the teacher has done up to this point, is just introducing this piece which I believe any disciplined and orderly self-study method could provide.

P.S This piece sounds great especially Fa key (bass clef).

Last edited by meghdad; 03/26/21 12:27 PM.

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Illuminating? Maybe you're thinking about it in terms of learning math? Because you aren't solving puzzles here, that is why there some fingering numbers even in the more challenging and advanced pieces. You get used to different fingerings and rotations gradually and you subconsciously apply them to suitable patterns of notes.
The teacher isn't being "benevolent" or special by not "recommending" you fingerings during the beginner stages of learning. In this case, he/she is only taking your precious money and time for basically nothing in return.

I already gave examples of the types of discussion that may arise from learning things on my own and then going back to my teacher to compare and discuss, and that I find this valuable.

Yet you’re completely invalidating my experience and going as far as insulting my teacher for duping me for my money, when you have never witnessed a single moment of the lessons I have with her.

It’s clear that it’s not your teachers, but your attitude that’s the problem when you are so unwilling to listen and assuming the worst intention in other people. No teacher can work with an attitude like this.

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@meghdad, after reading many of your posts, it's pretty clear to me that you are clouded by your sensitivity to being ripped off and your need to "get your money's worth". I agree that you shouldn't be ripped off and you should get your money's worth but I think maybe you're taking those concepts too far?

Anyway, you've started many threads and they all seem to end up with you complaining about your teacher(s) and how they're ripping you off and they're not worth the money you pay for them...and calling them lazy and sloppy...and many other posters have suggested maybe they're not as bad as you think but to no avail.

Instead of an in-person teacher, maybe a good online course that sets out a lot of info right up front might work for you. Graham Fitch's online academy seems to provide a lot of info for you to digest.


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Normally my advice would be to trust your teacher to know more about how to teach you this instrument than whatever a students preconceived notions are, and to follow their advice and lesson plan, but I don't think you're in a place mentally where you're able to do that. Skip trying to find a teacher and follow WeakLeftHand's advice.

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Originally Posted by Yao
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Illuminating? Maybe you're thinking about it in terms of learning math? Because you aren't solving puzzles here, that is why there some fingering numbers even in the more challenging and advanced pieces. You get used to different fingerings and rotations gradually and you subconsciously apply them to suitable patterns of notes.
The teacher isn't being "benevolent" or special by not "recommending" you fingerings during the beginner stages of learning. In this case, he/she is only taking your precious money and time for basically nothing in return.

I already gave examples of the types of discussion that may arise from learning things on my own and then going back to my teacher to compare and discuss, and that I find this valuable.

Yet you’re completely invalidating my experience and going as far as insulting my teacher for duping me for my money, when you have never witnessed a single moment of the lessons I have with her.

It’s clear that it’s not your teachers, but your attitude that’s the problem when you are so unwilling to listen and assuming the worst intention in other people. No teacher can work with an attitude like this.
There, I gave you an excuse to make an incorrect assumption about my situation and my attitude. All you got from my post was the part about the cost of teacher.
If you had the mind capacity, It was a general idea that I formed in my mind based on the matter at hand and your previous post and that doesn't necessarily mean that I am insulting your teacher, or necessarily passing a judgement on her. That's your shortcoming of not being able to comprehend the big picture.


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Juggling Piano!
by Sam S - 06/14/21 07:25 PM
Please help: Kawai ST-1 (institutional) or K-300?
by SantaCecilia - 06/14/21 07:11 PM
Kawai VPC1 velocity curve
by luigigiul76 - 06/14/21 06:17 PM
Quality of the piano dealership shop
by lct14558 - 06/14/21 05:58 PM
Studio piano vsts? eg Ivory, Alicia's Keys
by MarkOfJohnson - 06/14/21 05:30 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
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Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
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