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Lucas Debargue - A Matter of Life or Death
Pianist Lucas Debargue recently recorded the complete piano works of Gabriel Fauré on the Opus 102, a very special grand piano by Stephen Paulello. Eric Schoones from the German/Dutch magazine PIANIST had a conversation with him. Read more >>

Topic: My dilemma  (Read 2315 times)

Offline RappinPhil

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My dilemma
on: July 02, 2004, 07:24:22 AM
Hello everyone. I posted a message recently and was very pleased with the feedback I recieved, so keep it up!

To avoid confusion, I will give a little background information. I am 17 and have only been playing for 7 months. Most of these months were spent with one teacher. I was never really motivated to practise because (and understandably) I was given kiddie books. I understand fully that one must start somewhere. I had grudgingly accepted this. As of late, however, I have hired a second teacher (a friend of mine, my age) who has been helping me learn Raindrop Prelude. This piece is waaaaay harder than anything I have learned with my old teacher. Now that I am practicing this piece, I find it exceedingly difficult to practice his (my first teacher's) kid books, because I just love practising and learning this piece. If you may be wondering, these (learning?)books are written by John W. Schaum. It starts from A to H, grades 1-6 (with two half grades). Now the first three books tought me all the fundemnetals, (dotted notes, trills, tie-overs, etc). This fourth book he has assignned me (D)contains nothing of the sort. I skimmed through it and found just more of the same simplified, crappy sounding songs. For example, there is this one song which makes you play with an orange (an orange!). It seems like a colossal waste of time, and most of all, it does'nt make me want to play piano!!! Now, to not sound like a lazy bastard,  he (old teacher) has given me a Hanon book. This I practise fervently because I am fully aware of the tremendous importance of this book. The kiddie books, however, I just cannot stomach. So there it is, I spend most of my time on Raindrop (and a good deal for Hanon) while little for John W. Schaum and his A-H books.

What do I do? Must I continue with this abdominable book (btw, this is the last one he has issued) or tell my teacher my desire to play some REAL peices? (or am I just making a big hubub out of nothing and just finish this last book)

Bottomline: No motivation/desire to play for first teacher, tremendous motivation/desire for real peices.

Offline donjuan

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #1 on: July 02, 2004, 07:44:19 AM
You are ambitious, so you have limitless possibilies.  Tell your teacher that you have tried really hard to understand your own situation and that you respect the effort the teacher has put forward in making you do these useless (to you) books.  But really, it just doesnt sound like you and your teacher have a good connection.  If one doesnt understand the other, nothing will work and you will probably be better off with a different teacher.  

I recommend Barbara Wharram's theory book "Elementary Rudiments of Music".  It has clear diagrams and logical exercises (with no oranges lol), and teaches you everything from the very beginning.

Hanon is good..You have the "Virtuoso Pianist" book, yes?  -exercises are great for technique and not too boring..Bernhard doesnt really care for them, but I think they are excellent!
Gook Luck
donjuan

p.s. stop saying "SONG"!!! There are people on this site with sniper rifles just for people you.  It doesnt really bother me too much, I'm just warning you about the others....start saying "piece"- It is easier to say, anyway.

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #2 on: July 02, 2004, 07:46:04 AM
I feel you. That is, why I have no intention to take lessons.

Tell him what you think of Hanon and give him a chance to turn you around or try to sparkle you up, motivate you for it. But also tell him of your motivation to study real music, communication between the teacher and the pupil is invaluable if you want to get most out of it.

Oh and dump those kiddie books. Seriously, even reading that pisses me off.

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #3 on: July 02, 2004, 07:49:06 AM
Quote

p.s. stop saying "SONG"!!! There are people on this site with sniper rifles just for people like you.


LOL

Offline donjuan

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #4 on: July 02, 2004, 07:54:33 AM
Linguo says people like you
smartass...lol :)

Offline RappinPhil

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #5 on: July 02, 2004, 08:04:27 AM
Quote
stop saying "SONG"!!! There are people on this site with sniper rifles just for people you.  It doesnt really bother me too much, I'm just warning you about the others....start saying "piece"- It is easier to say, anyway.


Sorry man! Piece, piece, piece...Oh yes, it is the Virtuoso Pianist book.

I will talk it over with my teacher and write it down here Tuesday night.

Thanks fellas!

Offline willcowskitz

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #6 on: July 02, 2004, 08:07:17 AM
;D

I just cracked up at that comment but when I quoted it I noticed it was missing something.

Offline donjuan

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #7 on: July 02, 2004, 08:09:40 AM
k, since this is the internet and you cant see my face, I am going to suggest you do something highly unethical..

Bring a tape recorder and record your lesson (like, put your music books in a bag and have the tape recorder stick inconspiculously out to record everything your teacher says).  then, play it back at home and write up everything he says for us to read.

Of course, the nice thing to do would be to ask him if you can record him talk, but then his ideas would change.
What do you think?
I wouldnt do it because I trust my teacher, but maybe you should because you are at a crossroads right now..
donjuan

Offline RappinPhil

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #8 on: July 02, 2004, 08:22:19 AM
Hm...ok. I will bring a backpack with the books and place a tape recorder inside and exposed to the air so it can pick up the converstation well.  ;D (btw, my teacher is very old, like in his eighties, so it might be a little hard to hear)

Offline pianiststrongbad

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #9 on: July 02, 2004, 08:49:01 AM
I think it is wise to practice Hanon for a few months and acquire finger strength, but those exercises are sooo damn boring.  I just started Czerny thinking it might cover some of my weak spots, and it seems much more interesting.  I also have a book published by Alfred "Liszt Technical Exercises"- I recommend that one.  Anyways, in all of your ambitions, make sure you don't get ahead of yourself.  I think the most important part though, is to enjoy what you do in life.  

Offline Daniel_piano

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #10 on: July 02, 2004, 02:39:24 PM
Quote
Bottomline: No motivation/desire to play for first teacher, tremendous motivation/desire for real peices.


Well, I hate those kiddy-books
(expecially because children are actually more intelligent than the peope writing them so it is an offence to link those book with childrens/kids)
They are usually the same melody with numerous variation through the whole book
This is lack of fantasy but also lack of purpose if not money

But there are many beginner real pieces without using those books

Bach - Anna Magdalena Notebook
Schumann - Album for the Young
Kachaturian - Album for the Young VOL I & II
Kabalevski - op. 68 & op. 39
Beethoven - Easy Sonatinas
Mozart - Six Viennese Sonatinas
Haendel - Aylesford Pieces
Ciaikovskji - Album  for the Young
Burgmuller - 25 easy pieces op. 100
Levitin - Pan Flute
Kuns - 200 Canons
Kuhlau - Sonatinas op. 55
Dussek - Sonatinas
Clementi - Sonatinas

So has you can see you have a lot of real pieces choices without need to play a too hard piece and injury your hands
Ask your teacher about these pieces/albums if he says he still want you to study those horrible pictures-books change teacher imho

Daniel

"Sometimes I lie awake at night and ask "Why me?" Then a voice answers "Nothing personal, your name just happened to come up.""

Offline bernhard

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #11 on: July 02, 2004, 03:27:14 PM
Quote


Well, I hate those kiddy-books
(expecially because children are actually more intelligent than the peope writing them so it is an offence to link those book with childrens/kids)
They are usually the same melody with numerous variation through the whole book
This is lack of fantasy but also lack of purpose if not money

But there are many beginner real pieces without using those books

Bach - Anna Magdalena Notebook
Schumann - Album for the Young
Kachaturian - Album for the Young VOL I & II
Kabalevski - op. 68 & op. 39
Beethoven - Easy Sonatinas
Mozart - Six Viennese Sonatinas
Haendel - Aylesford Pieces
Ciaikovskji - Album  for the Young
Burgmuller - 25 easy pieces op. 100
Levitin - Pan Flute
Kuns - 200 Canons
Kuhlau - Sonatinas op. 55
Dussek - Sonatinas
Clementi - Sonatinas

So has you can see you have a lot of real pieces choices without need to play a too hard piece and injury your hands
Ask your teacher about these pieces/albums if he says he still want you to study those horrible pictures-books change teacher imho

Daniel



And let us not forget Prokofiev's wonderful Op. 65 ("For young people") :D
The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative side. (Hunter Thompson)

Offline cellodude

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #12 on: July 02, 2004, 03:48:44 PM
Yeah, I agree with Daniel, ditch your teacher. Get someone else who knows what s/he's doing. Those books have their place although there are excellent alternatives as given by Daniel but for a 17-year old? Sheesh!

Regards,

dennis lee
Cello, cello, mellow fellow!

Offline donjuan

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #13 on: July 02, 2004, 06:27:43 PM
Quote
Hm...ok. I will bring a backpack with the books and place a tape recorder inside and exposed to the air so it can pick up the converstation well.  ;D (btw, my teacher is very old, like in his eighties, so it might be a little hard to hear)

Great!  When is your next lesson?  You know, your problem may be the age of your teacher.  When they get older, their minds, like other people begin to slip...It is quite possible that he perceives you as younger than you really are just because he is so old.  So maybe that is why he pushes the kiddy Attention Deficit learning books on you.

Offline RappinPhil

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #14 on: July 02, 2004, 06:42:29 PM
My next lesson is on Tuesday at  6:00 CT (usa). I should be home by 7.

Any suggestions or requests for me to say?

Offline donjuan

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #15 on: July 02, 2004, 06:53:16 PM
Phil, ask him why those books he makes you do are beneficial, and why he prefers them to Hanon.

Now what he says may or may not make sense, but record it anyway and type it up.

Also, the most important question: Ask him why he wants you to do the simplified pieces from the books, rather than simple, real pieces.  I am expecially interested to learn what he says to this one.

Good Luck, and dont get caught!!  maybe, dont have it sticking out of your bag, but in the bag, but leave the bag open.
donjuan

Offline RappinPhil

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #16 on: July 02, 2004, 07:25:51 PM
Ok, I'm going to go out today and pick up a tape recorder and play around with it to see what works.

Offline yamaha

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #17 on: July 07, 2004, 01:25:42 PM
Hi Phil  :)

How did your lesson go yesterday?  Did you tape it?

Offline lani

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #18 on: July 07, 2004, 04:19:24 PM
About those "kiddie books" , even kids don't like them!  My daughter suffered through the Alfred "Piano Party" books (yeah, right)when she was six and talk about de-motivating!  Ugh, these pieces were terrible to practice and to listen to! She wanted to quit piano after about a year of this, and she finally talked her teacher into letting her work on Fur Elise and Clementi Sonatina.   Two and a half years later we moved on to a more challenging instructor.  You're right to question these books, there are so many wonderful pieces you can learn from.   In retrospect, she could have been much further along hand we looked for another teacher, but we simply didn't know any better.  Admittedly, when she came to her new instructor he said she had good basics, so I guess there is something positive in that! By the way, older teachers can be very open-her current teacher pretty much lets her choose any piece she wants, is 74 years young, and has taken up her enthusiasm with her latest Scarlatti piece (thanks, Bernhard )!  ;)

Offline alvaro_galvez

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #19 on: July 07, 2004, 04:35:08 PM
Quote
About those "kiddie books" , even kids don't like them!  My daughter suffered through the Alfred "Piano Party" books (yeah, right)when she was six and talk about de-motivating!  Ugh, these pieces were terrible to practice and to listen to! She wanted to quit piano after about a year of this, and she finally talked her teacher into letting her work on Fur Elise and Clementi Sonatina.   Two and a half years later we moved on to a more challenging instructor.  You're right to question these books, there are so many wonderful pieces you can learn from.   In retrospect, she could have been much further along hand we looked for another teacher, but we simply didn't know any better.  Admittedly, when she came to her new instructor he said she had good basics, so I guess there is something positive in that! By the way, older teachers can be very open-her current teacher pretty much lets her choose any piece she wants, is 74 years young, and has taken up her enthusiasm with her latest Scarlatti piece (thanks, Bernhard )!  ;)


Im sorry, I missed the Scarletti piece, which one is it?
damm

Offline lani

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #20 on: July 07, 2004, 04:52:11 PM
k 201-very hard sheet music to get a hold of. You can look at past threads on this by searching for Scarlatti. Regards, Lani

Offline RappinPhil

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Re: My dilemma
Reply #21 on: July 07, 2004, 05:03:36 PM
Alright, I think it's part of my nature to make a mountain out of a molehill. Here, there is no exception. I talked to my Dad (who studied music composition for 2 1/2 years) about music and understanding the fundementals. He explained to me how knowing the scales by heart, along with good sight reading, pretty much lets you play stuff you've never seen at first glance. I now see the bigger picture and am willing to sit through this last and final kiddie book my teacher has assigned me to build that latter skill.

I didn't tape or record the lesson because I was throughly convinced I was in the wrong before, but I did ask him why I can't learn simple real pieces compared to the songs out of the kiddie books. His answer was that I'm just starting out. My teacher knows what I can do and sees his limited time with me, and he honestly wants to move me forward as quickly as possible.

If I never had motivation to play before for him, but with this new information, I do now.
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