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) SWEETWATER Cyber Week Deals
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
Who's Online Now
67 members (An Old Square, anotherscott, accordeur, bubbaXzone, 23 invisible), 617 guests, and 519 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 153
M
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 153
Hey guys, has anyone ever encountered or wondered why certain teachers behave as "gate keepers" when it comes to who they think should or should not study music? A friend of mine from Missouri was in college and he had always wanted to take piano lessons, but the piano teacher on staff had refused to teach him because he felt that it was too late for him to learn, and thus a waste of his teaching abilities! I scoffed at this, because my own voice teacher in college had started taking piano lessons when he was in High School and could sight-read almost anything; but this teacher from Missouri was of the belief that my friend had to begin taking lessons by the age of 6. Personally, I wish that I had known that vocal programs had required a knowledge of piano, because I'd have asked my parents for lessons.

Sadly, when I was in High School, one of my worthless guidance counselors not only told me I didn't have the math grades to study music, which I came to discover was a very common lie to tell would-be musicians, but he told me I had no talent as a singer in front of my Mom! She wanted to reach across the table and slap him for that! He'd literally never heard me sing before. Heck, auditioning for a lead in the HS musical was almost impossible because our choir director had her ingenues she awarded every role. I also believe she chose the musicals to highlight these students! Why else would she choose a musical where the lead female role was plotted half a dozen solos and 2 duets? But these students were taking private voice lessons with teachers who had their Ph.Ds in voice at a nearby University renowned for two things: Its vocal program, and it's lawyer program. If I had known that it would be possible to take voice lessons, here, I'd have begged my folks to sign me up for lessons! Then I might have been more competitive with our choir director's ingenues, but everyone who knew about this option simply didn't tell me about it.

My choir director, who is a nice person, also tried to dissuade me from studying music in college. My final week as a Senior, she had a party for all her Senior students and gave us a towel as a college gift with a note inside. Mine said, "Good luck, Wade. I hope you continue to pursue music AS A HOBBY." But, I wish that I had had the options that other students did, but weren't allotted to me. smirk

IMO, what's worse about this gate-keeping by these privileged teachers is that I sat in on a conference for piano teachers where the teacher's themselves confessed to struggling with sight-reading! That is usually used in college as a test of musical literacy.

Last edited by MacMorrighan; 07/16/21 02:20 PM.
(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,148
6000 Post Club Member
Offline
6000 Post Club Member
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 6,148
No one ever said that life would be fair.

In many fields, teachers are free to choose their students based on whatever criteria they wish.


Learner
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 153
M
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Aug 2013
Posts: 153
I never said that life ought to be fair, but what seems to have happened to me at least is those who knew about being able to take voice lessons with a Dr. of vocal pedagogy, simply didn't tell me. Also, I never thought that the staff at my High School would actually lie to me!

Last edited by MacMorrighan; 07/16/21 02:26 PM.
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,475
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2001
Posts: 25,475
Your personal experiences are just that: personal. I don't know that one can necessarily extrapolate from those experiences "why certain teachers behave as 'gate keepers.'"

Nor can one answer why those who knew about voice lessons didn't tell you about pursuing them.

I guess I'm not sure just exactly what you are asking, nor what sort of answers you might be expecting.

Regards,


BruceD
- - - - -
Estonia 190
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 667
R
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
R
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 667
I don't see anything specific to music in your post. Bad teachers and poor guidance counselors exist, unfortunately, and there's nothing much you can do about it while in school.

I don't think your experiences reflect piano teachers' views as a whole. Take this as a lesson that you should never trust authority figures too soon.

Last edited by ranjit; 07/16/21 03:26 PM.
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,820
E
EPW Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
Online Content
1000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Jul 2012
Posts: 1,820
I agree with Janjit above. By daughter just graduated High School and the first two years she have the worst guidance counselor. He was totally useless. Never returned emails. The least he could of done was forward them to some other counselor. His excuse was that he was the only one speaking Spanish at the time and was over-booked. Thankfully he left the school and we got a wonderful Counselor who was reaching out to our daughter. I also had quite a few bad teachers and Professors too. It is par the the course of getting a education. I keep telling my kids that they have tons of resources now with the internet that my wife and never did. They better use them all.

Also want to add this new counselor told our younger daughter about a special program at the State University that is very limited. She helped my daughter and 3 others get into the program by reviewing their essays. This counselor also has been in touch with my daughter for her schedule for this fall.

So in closing I think almost all of us have had our share of sub-par teachers. I also had a few really great teachers that almost 40 years later I still remember.


All these years playing and I still consider myself a novice.
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 237
M
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
M
Joined: Nov 2014
Posts: 237
Re: the staff piano teacher passing on your friend: an unfortunate outcome, but likely an informed decision on the teacher's part. My analysis from limited experience in academia: the staff has a mission to produce musicians of a certain caliber. Statistically speaking, older-starters tend to flake out more, and tend not to achieve as much (musically) as those who start early. An apposite axiom -- though sadly, rather harsh -- is that the teacher felt it was throwing good money after bad. The teacher's time and the money the college pays them is limited, and they have to do the best with their resources. Your friend didn't make the cut. Private teachers might not be so strict in this regard and could answer only to themselves.

Re: the choir director: an insensitive, but understandably myopic way of telling you not to waste your time. The problem is: only we ourselves know what a waste of our time is, because only we know what we get out of experiences. Your journey through music, had you taken it, might not have been sufficient for her, but for you...it could well have been fulfilling. It's a shame.

Joined: May 2015
Posts: 9,102
Gold Subscriber
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 9,102
@mcontraveous
The OP is pursuing music— per another thread he is looking for post-graduate programs in vocal pedagogy.


"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

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 1,442
L
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
L
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 1,442
Originally Posted by ranjit
Take this as a lesson that you should never trust authority figures too soon.

Very true, but sometimes the answer that you need to hear is not the answer that you want to hear.


When you play, never mind who listens to you. R.Schumann.

Casio GP-400

2006 August Förster 215
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,123
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2017
Posts: 2,123
In my high school days I got enrolled in Strings class with beginners. The teacher taught students who learned violin, viola, cello or bass at the same time. My main instrument was violin and I was already slightly ahead of the group because I had half a year of private lessons. I got into the school orchestra and was comfortable playing student level repertoire. However, only 5 were able to join the ensemble group. Those who got accepted had played for at least 4 years and passed several conservatory grades. A lady who was in my class playing violin had no experience playing the instrument but was able to join the school ensemble because she was playing piano at a Gr. 6 level.

There are a lot of people who would start piano as adults including myself. We're not learning to become professionals but as a hobby before & after retirement. A college that is mainly teaching students to become professionals may not be the place for you. There are private teachers who are willing to teach adults.

I started piano without a teacher for a few years with experience reading music from high school. After that I enrolled in a beginner keyboard program for adults who learn to play as a hobby. After the first lesson the teacher thought that I was too advanced and advised me to transfer to the next level. I ended up with another adult group at a local conservatory.

I'm playing at an intermediate level. Occasionally I'd get into an advanced piece on my own. It's nice to have a teacher around but even without guidance, I can get into pieces I'm comfortable with and learn on my own. In the beginning we feel that we lack the technical skills to play even beginner pieces without help. When we get to a certain level, we can just pick up a book with pieces at that level and play such as seasonal Christmas tunes.

There are people in my family who took music lessons much earlier (before 10). You ask them to play you a song and they would hesitate since they haven't touch a piano for years. I started much later and have been playing since. In my piano group most of the people are 60+ and retired so never too late to start.

Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 44
J
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
J
Joined: Aug 2020
Posts: 44
Originally Posted by MacMorrighan
Hey guys, has anyone ever encountered or wondered why certain teachers behave as "gate keepers" when it comes to who they think should or should not study music?

Sure! Because what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
If a person like that is enough to dissuade you then anything will dissuade you.
If I paid attention to every instance where I was shot down, misdirected, misinformed, trodden upon, not gotten a cookie, I'd have gotten nowhere.
There's a motivational speech on Youtube where Arnie Schwarzenegger talks about simply ignoring the negative part of a statement. You CAN'T do that, should be interpreted as I CAN do that. You can do anything you put your mind to. Why have anyone deter you from your goals or even care what they think?
Some teachers are ignorant, most are mediocre, some are great. It's your choice what you take from them. I take motivation and recognize the rest is just noise.
If you recognize them as monkeys then you're best off swinging in another direction!

Last edited by JohnnyIssieBangie; 07/25/21 12:31 AM.
Joined: Jul 2021
Posts: 16
W
Junior Member
Offline
Junior Member
W
Joined: Jul 2021
Posts: 16
often jealousy/misinformation as well as being unsure of your perseverance/work effort.


mainly play metal/rock on guitar. mainly classical on (weighted) digital piano, but also interested in jazz/gospel/pop piano styles.
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 611
W
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Jan 2013
Posts: 611
From my own experience and observation I found piano teachers irrelevant. Trying to learn at age 39 I was told that I would be wasting their time; my time; I was too old to learn; would never be “good”; was expected to play the same children’s piece for 6 months; all kinds of small minded, stupid things.

Teachers kill more dreams and aspirations than they nurture. Sure they all want that child prodigy but anything else don’t bother them. So I did them a huge favor a couple decades ago and stopped bothering them. Saved me a ton of money.


-Bill L. - former tuner-technician
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 9,102
Gold Subscriber
9000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
9000 Post Club Member
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 9,102
WB Lynch
My experience with teachers as a returning adult student has been diametrically opposed to yours: they have treated me as if I was a young teenager ‘with potential’, they have heard my dreams and aspirations and have been positive and supportive. I’m sorry you haven’t found this experience.

And BTW, I am much older than you are

Last edited by dogperson; 08/02/21 05:13 PM.

"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

It's ok to be a Work In Progress
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,680
W
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,680
I too have had only excellent supportive teachers since I started a couple years ago, in 3 different instruments. Not only do they see my future potential, one even went so far as to hint that I might be able to teach after reaching a certain level in my instrument.


Kawai K-500
Casio PX-735 (in retirement)
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,426

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012
1000 Post Club Member
Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 11 2012
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2008
Posts: 1,426
My first piano teacher was of the gatekeeper school, so after a year or so I was traumatized by being fired "for lack of aptitude or application." This, along with being excluded from the mandatory school glee club that the rest of my classmates did their best to escape*, convinced me that I was tone-deaf and utterly untalented. I avoided singing or learning an instrument for decades, even though so very many of my friends were musicians. And then my midlife crisis demanded that I give it another try, and here we are.

So my experiences make me agree that these attitudes among teachers can inflict lifelong crises of confidence. But all of the music teachers I've studied with since then have all been kind and encouraging, so now I know that my childhood piano teacher was the exception rather than the rule (or perhaps times have changed since then).

I now even enjoy some retrospective gratitude toward that grumpy old piano teacher, since, miserable as I was during lessons, subsequent piano teachers have approved of my posture and hand position, and been impressed with my sight-reading skills (how I used to shudder when she spoke the words "sight reading"--so it's ironic that it's now one of my favorite piano challenges!).

* Also, many, many years after being banned from the school glee club, I discovered that I'm that rare phenomenon, a female baritone. This amused me since, whenever glee club practice took over our usual music class, I protested by rebelliously singing with the baritones (and the teacher never noticed). My glee club audition problem was merely from trying to sing waaay up there like all other little girls--even now, while my range is theoretically impressive, I continue to have major intonation issues with my falsetto.


Please step aside. You're standing in your own way.
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,335
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 1,335
Teachers have seen reality. They have probably seen that even talented students could not make it to becoming professional musicians. If you cannot make music as your profession that will yield adequate and reliable income, who is going to pay your rent, your bills, your food, your clothing etc.?

If you want to be a professional musician, the teacher is probably right in saying that it's too late for you. If you want to pursue music despite that, then it is a hobby. There is nothing wrong for having music as your hobby! A lot of us in this forum have enormous passion for music even though it remains a hobby for us, albeit a serious one.

If you are born in a rich family where you don't have to worry about income for the rest of your life, that's a different story.

Good luck!


Be yourself


Link Copied to Clipboard
What's Hot!!
Pianos - Organs - & Keyboards, Oh My!
My first professionally recorded piece
---------------------
Visit Maine, Meet Mr. Piano World
---------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
(ad)
Pianoteq
Steinway Spiro Layering
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Cateen plays I Got Rhythm
by pianoloverus - 12/02/21 04:38 PM
Cateen plays I Got Rhythm
by pianoloverus - 12/02/21 03:44 PM
My tech knows I am OCD
by RobAC - 12/02/21 02:09 PM
A little OT - a Thanksgiving Day piano float
by Rich Galassini - 12/02/21 01:50 PM
Preventing noise transmission
by happyhacker - 12/02/21 01:35 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums42
Topics210,354
Posts3,150,268
Members103,492
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