2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments.
Over 100,000 members from around the world.
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
44 members (3B43, Craig Hair, anotherscott, claburo, clothearednincompo, Blague, 11 invisible), 319 guests, and 481 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 15
R
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
R
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 15
Good afternoon everyone,

I frequent the Piano World forum, but this is my first actual post. I know, you get a lot of these posts probably. Real brief about me; I'm 31 and this year (January) I decided to learn piano. Bought a Yamaha P-45. Never touched an instrument before, they weren't a thing in my life growing up. I'm older now, and I'd like to believe wiser. I practice about 1 hour/day. Sometimes longer on weekends. FT job, gym and toddler take up most of the rest of my time. I realize this is a journey and I don't expect to be really good until I'm 40 or something. And that's alright by me. I just enjoy playing and anything that's not mashing the keys impresses my wife so that's cool. I started without a teacher and bought Faber's Adult Piano Adventures (Book 1). Took me about 2 months to finish the book comfortably. At that point I decided to get a teacher...

My current, on this day, "skill level";
- Play Minuet in G Major comfortably
- Play Minuet in G Minor comfortably
- 2 Octave C Major at 180 bpm
- 2 Octave G Major at 90bpm
- 2 Octave G Minor (both harmonic and melodic) at 90 bpm
- 1 Octave D Major at 120 bpm

I take 1 lesson per week which is anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour long. Due to the teacher's apparent lack of any real curriculum, the duration of the lesson varies and since I only pay for 30 minutes, that's alright by me. At the start of the lesson, she has me play scales specific to the piece we are working on. Then I'll do whatever Hanon exercise I'm working on. The rest of the lesson is spent practicing the piece and the teacher addressing any issues she identifies. The first real piece she had me learn was Minuet in G Major by Christian Petzold because it was in my Faber book. It took me about 3-4 weeks to play and memorize this piece comfortably. Then we moved on to Minuet in G Minor by Christian Petzold. Took me another 3 weeks to play and memorize this piece comfortably. I still review these frequently because I like playing them. I pretty much tell her I'll study whatever classical piece she believes is a good fit for my skill level and will help me get better. Then at yesterday's lesson, she was looking for a new piece for me to learn and she picks "Für Elise". Now, I may not know that much about sheet music yet, but this looks a whole lot more complicated than what I've worked on so far. She continues to show me the fingering for the piece and has me repeat it... We don't even really look at the sheet music, which I can only imagine is sitting there wondering what the heck I'm doing. After the lesson I felt somewhat demoralized, because I suddenly felt like she's not necessarily teaching me how to play piano, but rather she's teaching me how to play musical pieces. YouTube can do this too. For free. Does that make sense? We don't use a specific book, even though I've asked about that. No time is spent on chords. I realize the lesson is short, it's all I can afford, but she also doesn't recommend any music theory/curriculum to work on at home. It's kind of like: "Okay practice that piece, do some scales and Hanon and I'll see you next week". I'm not sure if this is what I was expecting from a teacher. I'm asking because I'm eager to, in time, become really good at playing piano. I'm a very methodical and disciplined person and I don't like wasting time. I'm a dad, so any time spent at the piano needs to be productive. My toddler doesn't allow for a lot of free time.

Should I look for another teacher? Or is that what I can expect from most piano teachers?

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 30,128
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 30,128
Some questions to help us get to know things a little better:How many lessons have you had with this teacher? Have you discussed any of your concerns with the teacher? Do you know much about the teacher's teaching experience? Do you know if the Fur Elise the teacher suggested was the original version or a simplified version or only the first part which is the easier than the rest?

Joined: May 2021
Posts: 15
R
Junior Member
OP Offline
Junior Member
R
Joined: May 2021
Posts: 15
I've taken about 8 lessons with this teacher, give or take. I haven't discussed my concerns directly, as I didn't feel it necessary until yesterday, but I've asked many times whether she recommends a specific book for me to purchase and how she believes I should structure my practice sessions to get better. She's rather vague. A little scatter-brained. "Do some scales", "Do some Hanon", "Practice pieces" is what she has told me. I've also mentioned many times that I feel I don't read sheet music well enough, but she hasn't suggested anything to improve that. So I go out on my own and research how to improve those skills.

I know she teaches at the local elementary school, she mentions often that she doesn't "get to work on advanced stuff" except for when she's teaching me.

She didn't specify what version it was, I've added a screenshot of the exact first page.

[Linked Image]

Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 1,617
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jun 2018
Posts: 1,617
Hi Rokushji!

I can fully empathise with your concerns. She doesn't seem to lay the grounds for you to become really good at piano. "Do some scales", "Do some Hanon" without telling how to do them and what you should focus on is simply not good.
My advice to you is to find another teacher. As you don't seem to be able to afford much, maybe you would like to consider an online video teacher with feedback? Mine is great, with a very thorough beginners' course that teaches you step for step. High quality lesson. Let me know if you are interested, I can tell you more.


Playing the piano is learning to create, playfully and deeply seriously, our own music in the world.
*
... feeling like the pianist on the Titanic ...
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,358
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,358
I had a teacher like this once. I stopped after about 2 months. I would have stopped sooner if I’d known that it was a waste of my time, but I figured it out eventually. There are good, solid teachers out there who have studied piano pedagogy and I’m confident you’ll be able to find one. You’ll see such a big difference when you do!

Teachers are supposed to inspire you and help you advance, not make you play follow the leader. Anyone can mimic a YouTube video. That’s not what learning piano is all about. The teacher’s job is to help turn you into a competent piano player by teaching you the necessary skills. Your job is to practice the skills they share with you and to keep asking questions. 😊


Lisa

Playing RCM 7-8 repertoire
Cunningham Studio Grand & Yamaha CLP645

"I tell my piano the things I used to tell you." - Frederic Chopin
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,971
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,971
Two months is enough to give you a good idea of how lessons will continue. You should be getting more specific instruction on how to practice the pieces and exercises that have been assigned. A red flag is the teacher's comment that she doesn't get to work on advanced stuff except with you. You should not be her outlet for getting out of the rut she feels working with at the elementary school.

Time to look for a better teacher. Your local or state (don't know your location) teacher's association may have a list of teachers. Local community college or universities might also be able to guide your search.


P.S. You mention memorizing your pieces. Don't let memorization deflect you from becoming proficient at reading from the score.


[Linked Image]
Yamaha C3X
In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,145
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Feb 2015
Posts: 2,145
My thoughts on this.

I think the other posters above are right. It doesn't look like she is really teaching. The first page you posted looks like the actual first page of Für Elise, not a simplified version, which is way too hard for someone with your level of experience. Another red flag is telling you to work on scales and Hanon without supervision. Another red flag is saying that she only works on "advanced" stuff with you. Although, this piece is too advanced for you it's not really advanced per se. If she calls this advanced then she might not be able to teach much beyond beginner level.

However, I'd like to point out that learning piano is done mainly by working on pieces. But you shouldn't just memorize pieces and play them like a monkey. The point is to learn technique and musicality through playing a variety of music and almost all teachers in the world use pieces to teach that. I would also say you should get a new teacher but don't get discouraged when you will be working mostly on pieces.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,197
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,197
I don't think that this teacher is doing the OP any good pedagogical service! There seems to be little instruction, guidance or direction to these lessons, and this can be discouraging whereas lesson sessions should be encouraging and motivating.

Based on what I have read from the OP, I think a search for a better (more competent?) teacher is the right move at this time.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,673
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 14,673
Originally Posted by Rokushji
I've asked many times whether she recommends a specific book for me to purchase and how she believes I should structure my practice sessions to get better. She's rather vague. A little scatter-brained. "Do some scales", "Do some Hanon", "Practice pieces" is what she has told me. I've also mentioned many times that I feel I don't read sheet music well enough, but she hasn't suggested anything to improve that. So I go out on my own and research how to improve those skills.

I know she teaches at the local elementary school, she mentions often that she doesn't "get to work on advanced stuff" except for when she's teaching me.
Für Elise is way beyond you - a few years, in fact.

If you can't change teacher, and you want to try to persevere with your current teacher, I suggest you download the RCM curriculum (if you're in North America) or ABRSM (any other country) and show it to her, and tell her you want to follow it to the letter, level by level, not skipping anything, so that you acquire all the necessary classical skills to enable you to be a proficient pianist. Both have lists of suitable pieces for each level, so that will stop her picking something five years beyond where you are now to learn:

https://files.rcmusic.com//sites/default/files/files/RCM-Piano-Syllabus-2015.pdf
https://old.reddit.com/r/piano/comments/fueib5/rcm_syllabus_level_15_list_of_pieces_available_on/


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 49
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 49
Similar for me. I’ve had 2 teachers who I enjoyed working with and learned from, but neither were greatly motivated to teach me reading. (One was all about improv and one about chord theory for jazz) This time around I set the goal of learning to read and found a teacher who focuses on that with me. Once you find a teacher who aligns with your goals and skill levels and adapts to you, you feel it in each lesson.


Roland FP30, VILabs etc, adult beginner. Get your personal pianist emojis: Emoji Me App
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 813
S
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
S
Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 813
I would say that it sounds like that teacher is just winging the lessons like you said some lessons are short and some are longer no actual lesson plan. There are plenty teachers out there. I suggest trying a new one and finding that you're excited work with. I will also add that it sounds like you've made some great progress already.

Joined: May 2001
Posts: 30,128
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 30,128
I agree with all the above posters who think your present teacher is far from ideal and with the reasons they gave for that opinion.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 05/08/21 06:24 PM.
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 186
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Apr 2021
Posts: 186
I'm new on my piano journey too. I had no idea how to read music two years ago. I can tell you, it is a process. Gradually I've improved and I need to improve exponentially still. Sight reading is one way to do this. I will admit I don't take time to sight read. It is very frustrating for me.

I recently ordered the RCM 2015 Etude for level 1 and ABRSM Level 1 and 2 exam pieces for 2019-2020. Lots of good tutorials online for these pieces. I'm enjoying working on them and I find them challenging, especially when adding in dynamics, articulations, etc. The tutorials online can be a good example of what I would expect from an in person lesson. Good luck. Quit wasting your time and money. You will be wanting to upgrade your keyboard soon!


SunnyKeys - from Florida but not the Keys. Learning for 2 years.
Newbie - RCM Level 1 etudes, ABRSM Level 1 2019-20 Exam pieces. Sans exams.

Yamaha P125
Ritmuller UP 121
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 185
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Feb 2021
Posts: 185
Rokushji - Welcome to the forum.

That's the most nightmarish piano teacher story I've ever heard. Nothing but red flags. Fur Elise after just 8 lessons is ridiculously difficult. That's at least a 4th or 5th level piece. She isn't teaching you effectively at all. I'd say she is just stealing your money. Drop her first thing tomorrow and seek out a good teacher.

Good luck,

Stormbringer

Last edited by Stormbringer; 05/08/21 10:53 PM.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Working on Alfred's Adult AIO Book 2
1970's: Took piano lessons. 2021: This old man is giving it a 2nd go.
<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<Feel The Power>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,024
E
4000 Post Club Member
Offline
4000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,024
Originally Posted by Rokushji
At the start of the lesson, she has me play scales specific to the piece we are working on. Then I'll do whatever Hanon exercise I'm working on. The rest of the lesson is spent practicing the piece and the teacher addressing any issues she identifies.

Actually sounds like a normal lesson. What sort of issues is the teacher identifying? Are you being taught note values and how to count? Are you being taught basic dynamics?

My only real concern was the selection of Fur Elise. Although it is not unusual for beginners to learn the A section until they and their family are sick to death of it, the subsequent sections are far too difficult (although I did give it a nudge by the end of my first year 😎). So the question is were you being expected to learn the whole piece or just the A section?

If you read some of the horror stories of teachers in previous threads, this one doesn't even come close to making the cut of being bad. I personally spent my first two years with less than perfect teachers but I don't think I wasn't learning, was irreparably damaged, or was held back from fulfilling my destiny of being great smirk. You already wrote the important words "methodical and disciplined", so if you want to continue with this teacher, either for a personal connection or for financial reasons, I found those two qualities very important. There is a way forward but it does depend on the questions raised and the main one "are your being taught anything?''

PS

Originally Posted by Rokushji
I'm not sure if this is what I was expecting from a teacher.

My first lesson with a good teacher was spent discussing my expectations/preconceptions. Turned out I was wrong😁


Surprisingly easy, barely an inconvenience.

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


13x[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,971
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,971
Originally Posted by earlofmar
.....If you read some of the horror stories of teachers in previous threads, this one doesn't even come close to making the cut of being bad. I personally spent my first two years with less than perfect teachers but I don't think I wasn't learning, was irreparably damaged, or was held back from fulfilling my destiny of being great smirk. You already wrote the important words "methodical and disciplined", so if you want to continue with this teacher, either for a personal connection or for financial reasons, I found those two qualities very important. There is a way forward but it does depend on the questions raised and the main one "are your being taught anything?....
Well, the OP states he's a methodical and disciplined person, but I'm not so sure about the teacher. The leap to Fur Elise from Minuet in G doesn't sound very methodical or disciplined on the part of the teacher. Neither is ignoring the score and teaching the OP by rote during the lesson. I do agree it's not the worst teacher story we've heard here. smile


[Linked Image]
Yamaha C3X
In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

Joined: Sep 2020
Posts: 351
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Sep 2020
Posts: 351


Pianoteq + Korg C1.

I shall be "thankful" for this decent alternative to an upright piano. Hallelujah.
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,519
J
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,519
Personally I would give this teacher a little more time and see how things turn out. Kind of unfair to judge her from our perspective when she’s giving you quite a bit extra of her own time to go over things with you. It might seem somewhat disorganized but she saw you already started yourself with Faber and some Hanson books on your own and she might be picking up clues on how she thinks you like to learn from that so she might just be trying to get a handle on your learning style. She might also see something in you that tells her Fur Elise would be appropriate for you. I would see what happens over a little more time. Give her a chance. That said, if you are already committed to trying someone new it’s your prerogative.


Working on:
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,519
J
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
J
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 2,519
Also look at this beginner’s post and his YouTube channel. He took on Fur Elise as a newbie and although not absolutely perfect the piece is doable even by a total beginner. Your miles may vary but I would first see how you do. I don’t like it when teacher’s stifle a students progress by their own preconceived notions of what they should or shouldn’t be able to do at a certain point in time. You don’t want a “cookbook” teacher. For adults, I like teachers and students who push the envelope a little and think outside the “box”. We’re handcuffed enough as adult learners and we all come from different backgrounds. You want a teacher who’s flexible in my opinion, but yes at some point she should have a clear strategy that you both agree upon.

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads.php/topics/3114074/1.html

Btw if good teaching only required for someone to regurgitate what some standardized syllabus has to say there would no reason to have Masters and Doctorates in Piano Pedagogy studies. Those students are not spending years in school learning how to teach from a cookbook. You need a strategy that yes might involve a system of teaching to keep things organized but there are many systems and ways of teaching them. On top of that teaching adults is very different from teaching children.

Last edited by Jethro; 05/09/21 03:22 AM.

Working on:
Preludio: Bach/Rachmaninoff E Major Sonata for Violin
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,154
5000 Post Club Member
Offline
5000 Post Club Member
Joined: Oct 2008
Posts: 5,154
Wow--- not a single vote for the teacher. And I agree. More red flags than a May Day parade in Moscow. I hope this lady was cheap.

Still, it's a good time to do some writing about what you want to learn, and the kind of teacher you're looking for. Temperament, experience, etc. You might want to do a little writing about the kind of teacher you don't want, as well.

Have you looked at the Teachers' Forum on this site? Could be of some interest to see how this situation looks from the other side. And, they answer questions, if you have them.

The best thing I'm seeing, from the situation as you describe it, is that you're not giving up. This allows momentum to build up on your piano (and music) education, and momentum is one of the great secrets of achievement. Without it, things fall apart. The surfer can't catch the wave. The performer runs aground, without a clue about how to get going again.

On the other hand, with the ever-building momentum of daily practice, of attending performances, of listening to recordings while you read along in the score, of meeting with a teacher who both challenges and supports you... I see great things ahead for you.


Clef

Page 1 of 6 1 2 3 4 5 6

Moderated by  BB Player 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Recommend me a stand for my Kawai ES920
by Jojovan - 06/24/21 08:42 AM
pianoteq keystroke sound control
by ronlefebvre - 06/23/21 10:16 PM
Bachendorff Piano
by trr04002 - 06/23/21 09:56 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics207,677
Posts3,106,783
Members101,892
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers

Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | MapleStreetMusicShop.com - Our store in Cornish Maine


© copyright 1997 - 2021 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.5