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How the heck do you teach this kid? (Read 3276 times)

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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How the heck do you teach this kid?
« on: June 19, 2013, 11:31:31 AM »
Okay so I'm trying to teach my little cousin right?  He's like 10 years old right? 

And Like we go over the same stuff every lesson!

Like I have to keep showing him where middle C is, he refuses to read notes.  I have to keep showing him hand position, and he doesn't practice!!!  I can't even begin to show him scales.  He can't even discern major from minor what the heck?!  Like dude, I'll play some random ass notes and he'll say that it's a major chord.

Our lessons are half an hour.

And what the heck he can't play loud.  Like, I told him to bang on the piano.  And he like can't do it.  What the heck?  Like dude, just throw all your weight on the piano.  He won't do it!

And I can keep going on and on about this.  And it's not like I show up and tell him to do all this stuff.  I break it down like soo hard, but it's just not cutting it.

So...

How do I teach him?  I'm getting paid for this, and I really want him to learn.  Well I don't care that I'm getting paid, I just want him to learn.
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Offline timothy42b

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #1 on: June 19, 2013, 12:05:59 PM »
Bribery.

Surefire method for this problem.
Tim

Offline magic_sonata

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #2 on: June 19, 2013, 07:32:40 PM »
Here is some of my advice. Try making it fun for him. Stay calm during the lesson, and try to reason with him.
I use the 'animal notes' technique. This usually works for kids 10 and under, so hopefully this kid will at least try to learn. Even though his note naming technique may seem childish, it has shown results for my students.

Show him two black keys, and show him how they are grouped together throughout the entire piano. That means that there is a pattern. We'll call the two black keys the doghouse.
Show where the middle 'C' is. Tell him that 'C' is the cat.
Then, move on to 'D'. 'D' is called the dog. Since D is in between the two black keys, the dog is in the doghouse. Another way to remember it is that the dog always chases the cat. So, 'D' comes before 'C'.
Show him 'E'. E stands for earthworm, which is outside the doghouse. He hangs out in the backyard.
Now, show your student the three black keys. We'll call the three black keys the forest. Show him the the three black keys are grouped together and repeat themselves in a pattern throughout the piano.
Show him 'F'. The 'F' stands for finch which eats the earthworm and lives in the forest.
Show him 'G'. The 'G' is the garden snake. The garden snake always eats the finch.
Show him 'A'. The 'A' is the alligator and eats the garden snake.
Show him 'B'. The 'B' is the brown bear and eats the alligator.

Then, show your student how you came back to the 'C' (the cat) and the animals repeat itself over again.

If teaching him the notes doesn't inspire him in any way, this is what I suggest.

Explain to him why you want him to learn. Tell him why learning piano is fun. If he still refuses, he may not want to learn. Have a discussion with your aunt and uncle about how he isn't interested. If they still insist that he loves piano, refer him to another teacher if the teaching just gets to hard for you to handle.

Good luck.

magic_sonata
magic_sonata

Offline cabbynum

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #3 on: June 19, 2013, 07:45:32 PM »
I ran into a similar problem when some family friends came to stay with us for 2 weeks. They have a 6 year old and they told me to teach him piano. I think mostly to keep him out of their hair, but I tried pretty hard. What I found actually made it work is find a piece that you can play that they really like, for this kid it ended up being Turkish march by Mozart. So I sat him down and explained that you need to learn how to push keys down and at least learn a few simple pieces before trying to learn mozarts alla turca. He then understood that what I was trying to teach him before was stepping stones to get to Mozart. At least I think he understood. By the end of 2 weeks and me trying to teach him every day. He could play a C scale. He could also play that thing that everyone learns where you make a fist and roll the black keys and so on.

My point is, find something they want to learn. Explain how you need to know the notes before you learn it. Candy is always good, also if you are decent at arranging music. Find what he wants to play and simplify the crap out of it
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Offline the_fervid_pig

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #4 on: June 19, 2013, 08:20:55 PM »
I

My point is, find something they want to learn. Explain how you need to know the notes before you learn it. Candy is always good, also if you are decent at arranging music. Find what he wants to play and simplify the crap out of it

Agreed, he's 10 years old, he doesn't care what the difference is between major and minor, he probably doesn't want to learn scales, they're boring. He probably wants to learn the theme tune to his favourite tv programme, find out that it is and try that.
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Chopin 10/9

Offline ajspiano

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #5 on: June 19, 2013, 10:28:07 PM »
whoa man, your moving about 186 x faster than you should be.

scales are WAY ahead of you... do you know how freaking difficult it is to pass the thumb?!

get the names of the keys down, the finger numbers.. then you're probably going to have to start teaching like 46 different songs all in C using 5 finger positions (songs he knows ideally). No freaking HT just yet either.

don't be so worried about dynamics either. You're not going to ignore it long term (or even short term) but seriously whoaaa he's dealing with a mental overload trying to figure out which key is where, you can make elements of musical sensitivity more of a focus when he's a bit more confident.

one thing at a time. not everyone is a fast learning ultra motivated piano freak such as yourself.

buy (or at least look at) a beginner book like bastien or the piano adventures series. Pay attention to why each piece is getting more challenging. What is introduced each lesson and why do it in that order...?

...and have new found respect for your own teachers.  ;D

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #6 on: June 19, 2013, 11:48:18 PM »


scales are WAY ahead of you... do you know how freaking difficult it is to pass the thumb?!



That's why I said that I can't even begin with those.  I didn't even tell him what they are yet.
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Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #7 on: June 19, 2013, 11:52:05 PM »
whoa man, your moving about 186 x faster than you should be.

scales are WAY ahead of you... do you know how freaking difficult it is to pass the thumb?!

get the names of the keys down, the finger numbers.. then you're probably going to have to start teaching like 46 different songs all in C using 5 finger positions (songs he knows ideally). No freaking HT just yet either.



...and have new found respect for your own teachers.  ;D

That's EXACTLY what I'm trying to do!!!

And actually that gave me more respect for myself. 

I'm a good ass freaking student!  They shouldn't freaking charge me soo damn much for lessons! >:(
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Offline ajspiano

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #8 on: June 20, 2013, 12:34:06 AM »
Ok, let me rephrase a little.. 

You have an expectation of the rate of learning, probably based on your own rate of learning (since you have no one else to compare to) and when it doesn't match up you're getting frustrated.

Try not to look so far ahead at what you would like to be doing with him because you know its worth while, and instead focus on musical content that he will consider worth while and motivating, and use that material to teach basics that you know are important...   like a kind of covert piano teaching ninja. He won't know what he's learning, but he will learn it..

Like if he wants to learn song "x" which starts on middle C, you just say it starts on middle C rather than show him directly what key to play, and then he will ask which one is middle C because now its worth while for him to know. Now he doesnt need to be able to read it because you are there to show him right? but - if he needs to remember it when you're not there, writing it down might be a good tool for that, and thats how you introduce the need to be able to read notes (or a simplified notation system at first possibly).

If you can't find a song that he wants to learn, you can get him to compose his own.. BUT, place simple constraints on the compositional elements, such as only use crotchets, then ask things like "should we start on C or D", then "should the next note be the same, or one step up?" So that he won't create things that are stupidly challenging for him or don't sound any good.

Don't move on or change what you are doing until he is either competent in regard to the skill or knowledge you wanted him to gain, OR he becomes obviously disengaged with learning and you can't talk him into sticking with it easily...  at which point you need to create a new musical situation that will foster the same skill..  moving on to a new skill once you know he is ready.

Now he might throw weird crap at you like, "I dont want to start on middle C, i want this C" ...Just let him run with it, because the you are fostering that interest - where he is engaged with the piano. Just use middle C as a point of reference... "How will we remember which C? its the C above middle C" ..so he still learns where middle C is..  (if that was what you were going for that lesson)

Offline ajspiano

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #9 on: June 20, 2013, 12:52:09 AM »
And actually that gave me more respect for myself. 

I'm a good ass freaking student!  They shouldn't freaking charge me soo damn much for lessons! >:(

Bullshit. You don't like bach. You're all sorts of challenging.

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 02:00:46 AM »
Ok, let me rephrase a little.. 

You have an expectation of the rate of learning, probably based on your own rate of learning (since you have no one else to compare to) and when it doesn't match up you're getting frustrated.

Try not to look so far ahead at what you would like to be doing with him because you know its worth while, and instead focus on musical content that he will consider worth while and motivating, and use that material to teach basics that you know are important...   like a kind of covert piano teaching ninja. He won't know what he's learning, but he will learn it..

Like if he wants to learn song "x" which starts on middle C, you just say it starts on middle C rather than show him directly what key to play, and then he will ask which one is middle C because now its worth while for him to know. Now he doesnt need to be able to read it because you are there to show him right? but - if he needs to remember it when you're not there, writing it down might be a good tool for that, and thats how you introduce the need to be able to read notes (or a simplified notation system at first possibly).

If you can't find a song that he wants to learn, you can get him to compose his own.. BUT, place simple constraints on the compositional elements, such as only use crotchets, then ask things like "should we start on C or D", then "should the next note be the same, or one step up?" So that he won't create things that are stupidly challenging for him or don't sound any good.

Don't move on or change what you are doing until he is either competent in regard to the skill or knowledge you wanted him to gain, OR he becomes obviously disengaged with learning and you can't talk him into sticking with it easily...  at which point you need to create a new musical situation that will foster the same skill..  moving on to a new skill once you know he is ready.

Now he might throw weird crap at you like, "I dont want to start on middle C, i want this C" ...Just let him run with it, because the you are fostering that interest - where he is engaged with the piano. Just use middle C as a point of reference... "How will we remember which C? its the C above middle C" ..so he still learns where middle C is..  (if that was what you were going for that lesson)

Well I got him to learn one song.  Kinda two, but that's it.

I have to keep reminding him where middle C is.

And I like can't talk to him.

This is what a lesson is like...

Me:  So...  What do you wanna do today?

Him:  ...

Me:  Huh?

Him:  ...

Me:  Do you like any songs you wanna learn?

Him:  ...

Me:  Okay...  Then we'll do this then!

*a couple minutes later*

Me:  So, where's middle C?

Him:  ...

Me:  ...

Him  ...

Both of us:  ...

*He FINALLY moves!*
*He hits D or something*

Me:  Uuuuh, okay maybe next time.  Don't forget Middle C is right here.

*I show him where it is*

Yes, I do the numbers with the fingers and everything.  Now THAT actually works. 





But dude he's like not responsive.  I understand what you're trying to say, but it won't work if he won't respond. 
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Offline lilla

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #11 on: June 20, 2013, 02:06:03 AM »
Just out of curiosity, have you considered the familiarity aspect?  Perhaps you will never be successful teaching your cousin because he knows you too well.  Perhaps he needs some distance between himself and his teacher.  I taught my son when he was five.  If I said something he didn't like, he would freeze, slowly rotate and fall entirely off the bench and onto the floor.  After this happening several times, I signed him up with another teacher.  Thankfully, today he is an awesome keyboard player, but more by ear than from lessons.  Still, I'm grateful he plays.  But it was simply not going to work between him and me.  

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 02:09:59 AM »
Just out of curiosity, have you considered the familiarity aspect?

Lol he likes me, that's the reason why they wanted me to hook him up with lessons... :-X
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Offline ajspiano

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #13 on: June 20, 2013, 02:31:21 AM »
Take more direct control, but leave it up to him still.

Don't ask open ended questions like "what do you want to do?" - Instead ask yes or no questions, or questions where there is only a couple of possible answers. ..  "We're going to learn about a song today, I have 2 to choose from..  play them..  get him to choose.."  if he has no opinion still get him to choose in an arbitrary fashion.  Just first one or second one with no real reason.

Also, it may benefit you to simply get him talking, this is just a rapport thing.. make sure he is comfortable with you in the lesson. So you can ask him about school, friends? computer games? whatever..  you can prompt answers to, like "I did this on the weekend, what did you do" so he has some idea of what an appropriate response is..

With quiet kids you need to ask SPECIFIC questions, or you'll just get a generic nothing response.. so its not like "how was school?" its more like "did you do any maths at school today?" .. "do you do music at school? whats the teacher's name?"  just stuff where there is a really direct and obvious simple answer..  the lesson should feel like you're just hanging out together, but you're at the piano.

...

on the lesson front..

If that is exactly how you're getting him to find "C" you are missing steps. Don't worry about middle C, lets just get any C.

Find groups of 2 or 3 black keys, play them.. do it with eyes closed by feel, do it with RH, do it with left hand.

Now say, C is the white key, on the LEFT of a group of 2 black keys.

NO POINTING AT C. He must find it on his own based on your description of its location.

 Get him to play ALL of the C's, and say "C" out-loud while he does it. Saying it out loud is important because it creates a mental association between the letter C and the physical position of the key. When you come back to it, if he hits D, dont say "thats wrong" say "I think is close to that, do you remember how to find it? wasn't it on the left of 2 black keys? can you find 2 black keys, now where is the key on the left.. that one is C.

..be prepared to have to remind him which way is left.

Teach these in the same manner, and in this order.

C, left of 2 black
F, left of 3 black

Now test, "find me a C, find me an F, find me a different F, find be a C and play it with LH finger number 2" etc.

E, right of 2 black
B, right of 3 black

test again, adding these keys so now there's 4.

add in other keys, D is between 2 black keys, G and A are between the 3 black keys.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #14 on: June 20, 2013, 05:51:14 PM »

Show him two black keys, and show him how they are grouped together throughout the entire piano. That means that there is a pattern. We'll call the two black keys the doghouse.
Show where the middle 'C' is. Tell him that 'C' is the cat.
Then, move on to 'D'. 'D' is called the dog. Since D is in between the two black keys, the dog is in the doghouse. Another way to remember it is that the dog always chases the cat. So, 'D' comes before 'C'.


I like the idea of making it fun, but I have to say that you've lost me on that particular idea. How can D come "before" C?  The alphabet proceeds along with the same simple logic that it usually does ie ABCDEFG from left to right and this is the order you used in your list. So in this case the cat is chasing the dog. Reversing the perspective for the sake of maintaining the logic of cats and dogs (rather than in reference to the logic of how the alphabet proceeds in the standard order) strikes me as causing needless risk of confusion. Is it really so hard to just remember that the alphabet goes ABCD- rather than have to remember that it's the dog that chases a cat (but only if you are going backwards rather than forwards)?

Offline bmbutler

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #15 on: June 20, 2013, 06:06:46 PM »
I knew the younger generation used the word "like" between every other word, but to actually write that way.  Really?

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #16 on: June 20, 2013, 06:32:43 PM »
I knew the younger generation used the word "like" between every other word, but to actually write that way.  Really?

So?

I'm not writing an essay or anything.
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Offline ajspiano

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #17 on: June 20, 2013, 11:33:58 PM »
I'm not writing an essay or anything.

It still comes off fairly douchey to anyone older than 20.. 

Obviously I don't personally mind because I know you're a decent enough person. However, in a forum of teachers, and discussing the education of a child and the influence you have on him it makes you sound very immature and not really ready to be a teacher.

While you can certainly teach someone something you're going to find people here that take teaching quite seriously and so are looking for mature adult conversation on the topic.

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #18 on: June 21, 2013, 02:21:10 AM »

While you can certainly teach someone something you're going to find people here that take teaching quite seriously and so are looking for mature adult conversation on the topic.

That's ridiculous.

It doesn't matter how I use diction, it's about the content.  If you think diction is more important than the content, then there's something wrong with you.  Obviously not YOU...

I'm serious about teaching that kid, and that guy who got upset at me is gonna have to deal with me using 'like'.

I don't care whether or not you're serious about teaching and looking for "mature adult" conversations, complaining about my diction over an internet forum is just whining over petty ass stuff.  Now THAT'S immature.   
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Offline lilla

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #19 on: June 21, 2013, 10:44:30 PM »
Well, the thing is, that there is much discussion now-a-days about how the younger kids just don't know how to talk anymore.  They have trouble at job interviews, for example.  I see it in my business all the time.  Somewhere along the line, kids stopped being able to converse in a way that we older people were taught was proper and correct.  So, that's why you get comments.  Perhaps, just to appease us older ones, you could use more regular language (without being ridiculous and over-bearing!).  Just a thought.  (Hopefully, not expecting snide remarks or complaints, of course.)

Offline ajspiano

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #20 on: June 21, 2013, 11:17:41 PM »
That's ridiculous.

Actually, the impression you make by the way you talk/write/dress/act makes up for about 105% of your success in 150% of circumstances. The content it a secondary factor, no one pays attention to the content unless you give the impression that you might be worth paying attention to.

Its stupid and fairly unfair, but that's how it is.

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #21 on: June 22, 2013, 03:07:35 AM »
So?

I'm not writing an essay or anything.

This is an online piano forum...

I know what I'm doing. 
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Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #22 on: June 23, 2013, 03:01:44 AM »
Take more direct control, but leave it up to him still.

Don't ask open ended questions like "what do you want to do?" - Instead ask yes or no questions, or questions where there is only a couple of possible answers. ..  "We're going to learn about a song today, I have 2 to choose from..  play them..  get him to choose.."  if he has no opinion still get him to choose in an arbitrary fashion.  Just first one or second one with no real reason.

Also, it may benefit you to simply get him talking, this is just a rapport thing.. make sure he is comfortable with you in the lesson. So you can ask him about school, friends? computer games? whatever..  you can prompt answers to, like "I did this on the weekend, what did you do" so he has some idea of what an appropriate response is..

With quiet kids you need to ask SPECIFIC questions, or you'll just get a generic nothing response.. so its not like "how was school?" its more like "did you do any maths at school today?" .. "do you do music at school? whats the teacher's name?"  just stuff where there is a really direct and obvious simple answer..  the lesson should feel like you're just hanging out together, but you're at the piano.

...

on the lesson front..

If that is exactly how you're getting him to find "C" you are missing steps. Don't worry about middle C, lets just get any C.

Find groups of 2 or 3 black keys, play them.. do it with eyes closed by feel, do it with RH, do it with left hand.

Now say, C is the white key, on the LEFT of a group of 2 black keys.

NO POINTING AT C. He must find it on his own based on your description of its location.

 Get him to play ALL of the C's, and say "C" out-loud while he does it. Saying it out loud is important because it creates a mental association between the letter C and the physical position of the key. When you come back to it, if he hits D, dont say "thats wrong" say "I think is close to that, do you remember how to find it? wasn't it on the left of 2 black keys? can you find 2 black keys, now where is the key on the left.. that one is C.

..be prepared to have to remind him which way is left.

Teach these in the same manner, and in this order.

C, left of 2 black
F, left of 3 black

Now test, "find me a C, find me an F, find me a different F, find be a C and play it with LH finger number 2" etc.

E, right of 2 black
B, right of 3 black

test again, adding these keys so now there's 4.

add in other keys, D is between 2 black keys, G and A are between the 3 black keys.

Nothing worked...

Today all he did was put his head in his shirt and complain that he was cold. 

Like literally we did nothing today.
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Offline ajspiano

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #23 on: June 23, 2013, 04:58:22 AM »
Nothing worked...

Today all he did was put his head in his shirt and complain that he was cold. 

Like literally we did nothing today.


so is he like that outside of the piano lesson context? like finds social situations difficult?

did he ask to learn piano or did the parents kind of just go hey rach4 is family and could teach him without any real consideration to his level of interest..?

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #24 on: June 23, 2013, 03:05:18 PM »
so is he like that outside of the piano lesson context? like finds social situations difficult?

did he ask to learn piano or did the parents kind of just go hey rach4 is family and could teach him without any real consideration to his level of interest..?

Well he keeps saying he wants to do it, but then when it comes to actual playing, he doesn't want to.

His parents say he's like that with everything. 
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Offline ajspiano

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #25 on: June 23, 2013, 10:10:28 PM »
ok well at this stage, and assuming he's not just saying that because he knows thats what everyone around him wants to hear..

..your main focus should really be just to generate a positive interaction with the piano. If you can play a SIMPLE accompaniment in F# major then you can get him to play any black key as an improvisation. Don't worry about his timing or whether there's a real melody.. This should generate a bit of a pentatonic jumble, but no bad harmony so it will sound ok so long as you provide some kind of uniformity in the accompaniment.

you can incorporate 'fun' sound effects like glissandos for endings and things like that. Kids usually like doing that kind of thing.

you can try and demo little things that he may be able to mimic to help get him going..    sit at the piano by self on advance of this and have a think about and practice exactly what your going to do. Not that what you play will be difficult but you do need to be able to do it without focusing on it and all while talking to the student probably, and observing and considering what they are doing.

...

its also possible that there is some kind of learning barrier for him that just genuinely makes it really damn hard, an example of this would be a vision impairment, so maybe he actually cant see the difference between the keys. This is very unlikely though, especially given his age as this would effect so many things and should've been picked up by now. Really I'm just saying that you may need to consider why the explanations/lessons you are providing are resulting in a non-engagement with the student rather than just looking for an alternative that does work...


Offline j_menz

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #26 on: June 24, 2013, 06:25:53 AM »
Really I'm just saying that you may need to consider why the explanations/lessons you are providing are resulting in a non-engagement with the student rather than just looking for an alternative that does work...

In other words, identifying the nature and cause of the problem before trying to find a solution is probably the logical way to proceed.

@Rach4 - have you had a chat to him about what he wants to do/learn and what he's hoping to achieve?
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #27 on: June 24, 2013, 10:08:15 PM »

@Rach4 - have you had a chat to him about what he wants to do/learn and what he's hoping to achieve?

Well I can't really chat with him.

Me:  So...  Why do you wanna play piano?  What do you wanna do?

Him:  ...

Me:  ...

Both of us:  ...
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Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #28 on: June 24, 2013, 10:09:48 PM »


..your main focus should really be just to generate a positive interaction with the piano. If you can play a SIMPLE accompaniment in F# major then you can get him to play any black key as an improvisation. Don't worry about his timing or whether there's a real melody.. This should generate a bit of a pentatonic jumble, but no bad harmony so it will sound ok so long as you provide some kind of uniformity in the accompaniment.

you can incorporate 'fun' sound effects like glissandos for endings and things like that. Kids usually like doing that kind of thing.

you can try and demo little things that he may be able to mimic to help get him going..    sit at the piano by self on advance of this and have a think about and practice exactly what your going to do. Not that what you play will be difficult but you do need to be able to do it without focusing on it and all while talking to the student probably, and observing and considering what they are doing.




He has a digital, so we play on different instruments.  I haven't done the f# major thing, but I've tried jamming with him, but he just won't budge!!!
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Offline j_menz

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #29 on: June 25, 2013, 12:25:36 AM »

Me:  ...



For some reason, I'm having conceptual difficulties with this.  :o

Why don't you have a more general chat with him about the music he likes to listen to. 

Difficult as it may seem to believe, he may just be a little awestruck by you as well. You're his "big cousin". He may be trying so hard not to appear a dork, to impress you, that he can't actually concentrate on anything else.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline harusame

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #30 on: June 26, 2013, 02:55:38 PM »
find him some motivations
be it by bribery or self-induced

you cant teach someone who doesnt want to learn
so at first you must make him want to learn

Offline danthecomposer

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #31 on: June 30, 2013, 09:49:19 AM »
And to think of all the practice time you are losing for your own development on this uninterested child.

A revision of priorities, perhaps?
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Offline bernadette60614

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #32 on: July 03, 2013, 12:29:47 AM »
I'd suggest:

Take one class is conversational Chinese.

Or

Learn how to play squash.

Or

For one hour, do everything with the hand different from your usual dominant hand.

It is hard (assuming that you don't typically do any of the above.)

When you do anything often enough, you forget how much time, effort and focus goes into learning something totally unfamiliar.

To your 10 year old relative, piano is like Chinese, squash or using his nondominant hand.  It isn't just notes, scales, fingering, will or interest....it is feeling like everything is too much, overwhelming and beyond his ability.

My advice:

Take one thing each time for a 10 to 15 minute "mini-lesson". For example, just put sticky notes on all the Cs and have him play them up and down the keyboard..over and over. Then, next lesson, have him play them by skipping around the keyboard.

Find the most basic score that you can featuring kids' songs he might have heard in school and let him accompany you as you signal him to play C.  There, in three lessons, he's learned to "play" a song.

When I resumed lessons after decades of hiatus, our teacher started us on Alfred's Adult Piano book one..and we played the first notes of Ode to Joy..3 or 4 notes. Four accomplished adults took 2 weeks to learn a 4 note combination....(I stuck with it and now I'm playing Beethoven and Schubert).

Give him a little calendar and have him put a check each day he practices for 5-10 minutes a day.  Ask him to go for as many checks as he can.  Kids love those intrinsic reward systems.

Once he sees that he can learn and that he can practice, he'll want to learn more...but right now, it is all Chinese...!

Offline muleski

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Re: How the heck do you teach this kid?
«Reply #33 on: July 16, 2013, 02:09:50 PM »
You're flogging a dead horse.

He might 'say' he wants to learn, but his behaviour, total lack of concentration & apparent lack of actual interest speak volumes. 

I'd go to his parents & say 'despite the fact that he says he wants to learn, it's clear that he doesn't.'  If the boy decides in the future he'd like to learn & is then willing to actually practise & put in some effort, then fine.  As it stands, you're wasting your time & his parents are wasting their money.  He obviously doesn't appreciate the expense & effort being showered over him.  He's 10 & doesn't comprehend the long term benefits.  Sometimes, as much as you want the best for them, you can't force it.