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Advice on pushy adult student? (Read 8740 times)

Offline musicfairy

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Advice on pushy adult student?
« on: April 10, 2014, 09:08:21 PM »
I just started teaching an elderly retired person piano. They played other instruments in the past and some piano - learned mostly by ear, never learning to read the bass notes. Before the lessons began, I do what I usually do and set musical goals and expectations with the student. Learning to read music so he could pick up other pieces in the future was a big reason that he wanted to take lessons.

Sadly, today (the second lesson) was a bad lesson and has me considering whether I should dismiss he student. I started him off on Bastien's older beginner book with the chord approach so that he could learn to play music while still playing pieces at sounded good. In the past he says he played Bach's prelude in c major and the moonlight sonata - although he can only get through the first few bars of them now. (My guess was mostly by ear since he cannot read the bass cleft).

Today, he came to the lesson and told me that is was too easy for him. This is despite him still having trouble with bass notes. He insisted that we do the Bach prelude even when I tried to explain to him that he still couldn't read many of the bass notes on the music. I showed him the music and he was surprised at how complex it looked but insisted on starting it because "it has all white notes so it must be easy". I tried to reason politely but he was stubborn about wanting to learn "fun" music and ultimately, I gave in to his insistence. We did none of the easy duets I had planned, and he struggled with learning the A,B and middle C notes on the bass cleft.

I am all for flexibility in teaching but this experience made me wonder if this was someone worth teaching. Giving someone a Bach piece when they can scarcely read half the bass cleft notes didn't sit well with me. He didnt seem to like easy sounding pieces even though he needs to build up his ability to read. He seems to only want to play the specific pieces that make him "sound good".

I was left feeling that the entire lesson was a waste of my time. Any advice is appreciated.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #1 on: April 10, 2014, 10:30:05 PM »
If you can't even spell clef, I suspect he left feeling much the same.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline schwartzer

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #2 on: April 10, 2014, 10:49:32 PM »
Yea, it's spelt clef.

Anyways, if he thinks he's good and all, just give him the Bach Prelude and tell him to show you what he can do with that.

If he can't do a damn thing, give him the Moonlight Sonata sheet. If he can't do a damn thing either, tell him that you need to start from easier pieces. Tell him you gotta teach him some musical theory. Tell you can't arrive in the first lesson without even knowing how to read the bass clef and learn Bach's prelude in C major simply because it's all in white notes. (IMO, the C major scale is the hardest to play. Easy to read but hard to play)

If he keeps bit**ing, then I wouldn't waste my time with him. Someone with that much experience should know that patience is mandatory when learning to play an instrument.

Offline musicfairy

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #3 on: April 10, 2014, 11:07:51 PM »
Thanks for correcting my spelling - it is not my strong suit.

My bad spelling notwithstanding, thanks for the advice schwartzer. I will try suggesting stepping down to easier pieces next lesson and see how it goes.

Offline schwartzer

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #4 on: April 10, 2014, 11:11:44 PM »
Sorry if I sounded rude or something, but these kind of people really get into my nerves. If he's so good like he says he is, and if the Prelude is so easy like he says it is, he can just learn it by himself.

But I wish you good luck nonetheless.

Offline musicfairy

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #5 on: April 10, 2014, 11:15:08 PM »
Schwartzer, you were fine, and I truly appreciate you taking the time to advise me on the matter rather than lingering on my spelling faux pas.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #6 on: April 10, 2014, 11:16:27 PM »
It's also possible that he's frustrated with himself and taking it out on you.

The bits he can do, he can do easily, and the bits he can't seem to him like they should be as easy.

If he can read a treble clef, he should be able to pick up the bass clef reasonably readily. Why not have him just do some reading of it for a few weeks?
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline musicfairy

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #7 on: April 10, 2014, 11:19:36 PM »
That was my plan. He told me his trouble was reading both clefs at once and making the mental change when switching. It's the reason I started him out on easier pieces last week to focus on being able to read both. Yet this week, he seemed to think it was too easy because the pieces he played didn't sound as complicated as the ones he had learned to play by ear.

Offline j_menz

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #8 on: April 10, 2014, 11:25:40 PM »
That's probably true. It may also be useful to have a chat with him and explain your approach - what you're trying to achieve and how. If he doesn't know why he's doing what you're suggesting, he may not feel that you understand where he's coming from, which will impact on how diligently he works on it.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline Bob

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #9 on: April 10, 2014, 11:28:59 PM »
I'd give him more of the 'easier' music.  More than he could memorize in a week.  That would force him to start reading more.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Bob

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #10 on: April 10, 2014, 11:30:40 PM »
Flashcards might be interesting too, if it hits him over the head with the idea that he doesn't know the notes.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline musicfairy

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #11 on: April 10, 2014, 11:45:17 PM »
Good idea with the flashcards - it might give a jolt of reality. I'll have the chat and suggest the easier pieces next week. Today I got the impression that it was perhaps an ego thing - not wanting to hear oneself sound bad while practicing when one thinks they should sound good. But sounding bad during sight reading and practice is essential to learning - if he understands that then great, if not it may not work out.

Offline faulty_damper

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 12:07:30 AM »
I've dealt with students like this before. (I used to be one. :P) Part of the problem is that your student doesn't know just how ignorant he is. (Dunning-Kreuger effect.)  There is nothing he can do about his ignorance until he acquires both experience, knowledge, and skill.  But as the teacher, you can do a tremendous amount.

Here are two suggestion for this particular student:
1. let him discover his ignorance for himself by teaching him what he wants to learn.
2. he's not interested in reading so show him how to play by rote.  You'll achieve faster results.

Offline outin

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #13 on: April 11, 2014, 03:52:53 AM »
I may not have been quite as pushy myself, but I do have bad lessons and when I do I don't listen well to what my teacher says (I will think about it later when I am at home). Some of us just need to learn the hard way, I also started with pieces that were too hard for me at the time. My teacher let me have those in addition to easier ones, and I gradually started selecting very easy pieces myself when I realized what exactly I needed to learn. Some people are more independent than others, just let him make his mistakes and learn from them. There's a risk that he will get so frustrated that he will quit, or he might get into his senses and listen to you more. Just keep telling him what is missing in his playing and teach him one thing at the time. He should gradually realize that he needs something easier to get it all together. As a teacher you should not get annoyed when someone is acting stupid :)

Stubborness is both a good and a bad thing in learning. Although it migh prevent one from taking in all the good advice offered, there will be times when it helps one get through something that seems hopeless.

Offline musicfairy

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #14 on: April 11, 2014, 04:43:48 AM »
I may not have been quite as pushy myself, but I do have bad lessons and when I do I don't listen well to what my teacher says (I will think about it later when I am at home). Some of us just need to learn the hard way, I also started with pieces that were too hard for me at the time. My teacher let me have those in addition to easier ones, and I gradually started selecting very easy pieces myself when I realized what exactly I needed to learn. Some people are more independent than others, just let him make his mistakes and learn from them. There's a risk that he will get so frustrated that he will quit, or he might get into his senses and listen to you more. Just keep telling him what is missing in his playing and teach him one thing at the time. He should gradually realize that he needs something easier to get it all together. As a teacher you should not get annoyed when someone is acting stupid :)

Stubborness is both a good and a bad thing in learning. Although it migh prevent one from taking in all the good advice offered, there will be times when it helps one get through something that seems hopeless.

Thanks so much for your advice. You're right that as a teacher, someone's stupidity should not annoy me. It's a learning process for me as well :)

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #15 on: April 17, 2014, 12:17:05 AM »
Whenever I've seen student who learned by rote and who could not even begin to read the score for what they played, there was nothing I could teach them. I'd suggest a change, but they had so little conception of what they were doing (which was purely physical), they couldn't either implement it or even go slow enough to observe the existence of the problem that I needed them to improve on. There was no way in whatsoever. It takes a near genius to actually be self aware and capable of fine tuning by rote. Most just end up trying to jab at buttons in a specific order, as if they're typing.

I don't say this lightly, but if you do press on the only way to go is to set very low expectation and do it for the money. This might sound awful, but otherwise you'll simply become very frustrated and have a terrible time (which they will probably pick up and make it a bad experience for them too). The only way for it to be a pleasant situation is to expect no achievements at all apart from cash and to take anything that can be achieved beyond that as a big positive. But if you feel you NEED those positives then you'll probably hate every moment. Either that or you can just tell the student straight up that they are not going to go anywhere unless they are willing to seriously consider your point of view and see how they respond. A small minority of ignorant people may listen to someone who is blunt with them.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #16 on: April 18, 2014, 02:05:12 AM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #17 on: April 18, 2014, 02:49:42 AM »
There was a time when I worked three jobs and was in my fledgling first year of undergrad, where I was attending 3/4 time.  I was just a tender 18 year old.  I was absolutely exhausted all the time and fell asleep a couple of times at my evening job at the grocery store bakery, on the large table in the back.  I simply couldn't stay awake sometimes, and fell asleep in class once with a large textbook on my lap, which dropped to the ground, and I fell asleep when I was driving once.  My first job of the day involved waking up for the opening shift at a local diner, where I would meet the alcoholic owner.  He would sometimes be there and sometimes wouldn't.  If I would show up to work before him, I would wait (without pay, of course) in my car for up to an hour before he would finally show up.  

Sometimes he'd have fallen asleep in the diner the night before, and would be in a stupor that next day, and I'd get the honor of cleaning beer bottles and puke up, and unclogging the toilet from his good times at the diner the night before.  He was a jerk.  He'd yell at his workers in front of the costumers and even got into a couple of fist fights (and lost) with the other cook, also with customers in the diner.  One of the other waitresses would steal my tips if I started a table and had to leave before the part where they paid.  I just couldn't do that whole life anymore.  I finally decided to stop allowing myself to be in that situation, and so I worked my courage up and told him I was quitting and that this was my two weeks notice ... and he told me that I was not.  At first I didn't know what to do until I realized I absolutely couldn't live that way anymore.  I asserted myself and, after some arguing with him, I just left the diner in that very moment and never went back again.

Sometimes adults get "pushy" about their life for very good reasons.  I understand what it's like to work with students who are motivated in ways that I feel are a stretch to my comfort zone, but motivation is sometimes the most difficult thing to come by in a student.  Generally, if they have some kind of motivation already, I try to find a way to work with it, even if it means doing something radically different on my end, as a teacher.


What's the relevance between the story and the situation? The boss was being pushy so you walked out. So surely the  moral of that story would to walk away from people who are unreasonable? But you've followed up by saying that such people may have good reason? Did your boss have a good reason? The story didn't suggest any. I don't follow either how the story might be seen as comparable to anything in the situation or how it leads or relates in any way to what you express in the final paragraph. You've just painted a picture of walking away from a cock-basket who was portrayed with no redeeming features,  then gone and said that pushy people may actually have just reasoning and that we should persist with them. Am I missing something?

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #18 on: April 18, 2014, 02:56:50 AM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #19 on: April 18, 2014, 02:59:08 AM »
Yeah, I figured you'd say as much and that's OK with me.  I could be mean and say that, apparently, your own musical path and life must have been a beautiful one if you can't see any relevance or you simply must bother to pursue your fussiness about it out of boredom.  But, I don't actually think that's true, either, and I'm too tired to fuss with it myself.  I will go ahead and just drift for now instead.

See the edit I went back and made. The conclusions you draw at the end run contrary to events in the story. I'm bemused by how the story either relates the situation or to your conclusions. If you were trying to be some kind of Aesop, you're really going to have to spell it out. Perhaps you were too quick to place yourself in the lead role to realise that (in order to get the most basic degree of comparing like with like) the boss character would best serve as a relevant allegory for the student and you for the teacher?

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #20 on: April 18, 2014, 03:36:35 AM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #21 on: April 18, 2014, 04:10:23 AM »
 Live your life in my shoes for a bit and feel free to feel the entire gamut of what that's like, and maybe I'll give a little rabbit poo about that label.


Did you know that rabbits actually eat their own poo?

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #22 on: April 18, 2014, 04:14:27 AM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline awesom_o

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #23 on: April 18, 2014, 04:23:19 AM »

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #24 on: April 18, 2014, 11:13:57 AM »
For me it was part of a huge turning point (but, when I say part, I mean part, and when I say a huge turning point, I mean huge) which ultimately led to me committing to a serious pursuit in music for the first time in my life (... 4-5 years later).  Hasn't exactly been smooth sailing and if in these years I hadn't have been very clear about pursuing music and especially piano, despite anything and anybody else, I wouldn't be ... in the hopeless situation I am now ... haha.  :P  Well, I had to make myself laugh out of survival.

Obviously I can probably identify with being labeled "pushy," as I have tended to be a person who bites off extremely large chunks at once in my pursuit.  Not only was serious study already delayed so much in my life that it actually caused some pretty big problems for me, pursuing it came to mean my very life to me, so there has also been an extra dose of importance to the endeavor for me.  If somebody wants to sit comfortably in their plush musical chair and label me pushy because of it, so be it.  Live your life in my shoes for a bit and feel free to feel the entire gamut of what that's like, and maybe I'll give a little rabbit poo about that label.

*instantly tired again*

Um. Okay. But it you were to look at the story from in an impartial rather than self-absorbed point of view, you'd realise that the boss was the pushy character. Instead of telling anyone to live in your shoes, try seeing a situations from a non self based point of view. You merely walked out on him in direct response to his own actions- compromising the link between the story and the moral and rendering parallels between you and the student close to nil. If you tried to look at the story from an impartial point of view, depicting a horrible pushy boss with no mitigating qualities and walking away is not a very good way to draw an allegory- for how we should find the best in people and give them a chance. Are you honestly missing the irony? The real moral from this story is quite how selectively people see what they want to see rather than the whole picture.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #25 on: April 18, 2014, 03:22:29 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #26 on: April 18, 2014, 03:35:20 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #27 on: April 18, 2014, 05:02:03 PM »
Dang, N.  I am curious what makes your constant arguing worth it to you?  For almost every time I choose to partake in a debate (at all, in my entire life), I weigh out what it is worth and most of the time I don't feel it's worth it.  When I do choose to partake, it is for pretty specific reasons that usually seem to carry a perceived benefit of possible clarification, even if only in the act of structuring my own thoughts.  But you are so consistent about arguing with everything possible, and in such a specific way, that I've just fully realized it must be your actual job to do so  :D!  I won't spend my life trying to compete with that.

I write what I write for fairly specific reasons, and sometimes it matters to me to say more and sometimes it doesn't.  In this case, in what ways can you provide for me that I should put some sort of weight on what you think and say?  I don't see the benefit of arguing further with you about this, not even just to try to "win" an argument (which I know for certain you would make sure there is never (ever) an end, since that is your very job  ;)).  Hey, but I don't even wish to throw you a spiked sentence to close with.  Peace out.

On a anthropological level I just found your me-based anecdote intriguing. It's a reminder of when you felt wronged after your false accusations of the past and, instead of apologising to Keypeg for false accusations of fraud, you wrote a lot of self absorbed posts about how you were feeling. Here, not only was it the case that your role in the story had almost no paralell to the situation, but there was a character who actually had a very good parallel that you didn't even notice. The extent to which you were unable to view it from anything but a self-based perspective meant that you didn't realise that the only logical conclusion to be drawn from the story (if using it as an example) ran contrary to your conclusions at the end in just about every respect.

If you want to use a story to illustrate why you think pushy people have their reasons and deserve a chance, you could do a lot better than one in a which the pushiest person is written off as an ass with no qualities at all and walked away from (rightly so, I'm sure- but that really doesn't support your conclusions about giving people a chance and trying to make positives from the situation. What you are really saying is that you want people to be understanding of YOU-even though the story doesn't either portray you either leading by example when dealing with your pushy boss or reaping any positives from doing so.). if you're going to use a story to portray a moral, it helps to choose a story where the most directly comparable events actually support, rather than squarely contradict, that moral.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #28 on: April 18, 2014, 05:27:52 PM »
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Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #29 on: April 18, 2014, 06:09:37 PM »
:P

I do still feel the same way about that whole PS competition, just to be clear  ;D.  I mean, I can't exactly change my soul, and that's about all I ever said about it, even at the time.  Hope that whoever felt the need to function that way felt it was worth it!  I'm sure it must feel good walking around like that.  

It would be rather exciting to me in life to see something more unexpected happen, like things working out despite what the world says should happen, or in the case of that competition, AJ coming clean about the truth.  I mean, that would just be pretty cool.  But, I realize I can't wait on it, that is whomever's own thing to work out, as far as I can tell.  When it came to realizing that I would be lying to myself if I apologized, because somebody I wanted to trust told me to, I realized I wasn't willing to betray myself and what I believed was true.  And I realized that if I brought it to somebody that I felt was an expert and who I would want to (and did) trust more than anybody else, and realized that even if I did that I would still believe what I felt I knew was true (and didn't want to put this person directly in that position), I guess there was just nothing more I could do except for get from it what I could.  

In the end, I am still me, but my perception of a lot of other people has changed and I am not sure how to change that again, or what could possibly happen that it would change again, in the opposite direction.  I can only assume that is part of what the goal was, and if so, mission accomplished I guess, congrats!

If you're serious so incapable of being honest with yourself that you still believe this ludicrous  theory (which has various pianostreet members down as liars within a highly organised conspiracy against you) I'm not going to go any further down this route. Do you seriously think you're the star of the Truman show? I stopped reading early in the second paragraph. This sense of overwhelming self-absorption (where you see the world as you choose rather than through a lens of rational objectivity) is exactly what I was commenting on in the bizarre and irrelevant anecdote that was designed to turn this thread about you (rather than to make a meaningful connection with a relevant life event). You got so lost in your own feelings that you didn't even notice that there was no meaningful connection between either your story and this thread, or even between your story and the illogical conclusions (which you did the opposite of within the story).

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #30 on: April 18, 2014, 06:26:22 PM »
Quote from: Mayla
:P

I do still feel the same way about that whole PS competition, just to be clear  ;D.  I mean, I can't exactly change my soul, and that's about all I ever said about it, even at the time.  Hope that whoever felt the need to function that way felt it was worth it!  I'm sure it must feel good walking around like that.  


Whoever? 

In other words, your view is that the blame for that unfortunate fight remains 100% external.  Somebody did it TO you, there is not even the slightest chance you yourself made some error.

It must be nice to be that self confident. I certainly am not. 
Tim

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #31 on: April 18, 2014, 08:07:28 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline seanrb

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #32 on: April 18, 2014, 09:10:10 PM »
...but motivation is sometimes the most difficult thing to come by in a student.  Generally, if they have some kind of motivation already, I try to find a way to work with it, even if it means doing something radically different on my end, as a teacher.

I am [very] new here, and I find this argument quite immature. I obviously don't know the "social hierarchy" of this forum, but this needless and off-topic debate has allowed a true gem of a statement to go unnoticed. (see the above quote) I generally never give-up on students. They do not all reach their "untapped potential," but it is my job to constantly strive to help them get there. The man mentioned in the original post wants to learn, and I think the teacher and the student need ensure that they are on the same page regarding the goals of the lessons so that they can then discuss the means at which they can be achieved. An adult can handle this and should be aware of the "battle plan" in the same way that a child's parents are supposed to be kept in the loop.

Offline pts1

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #33 on: April 26, 2014, 02:32:28 AM »
My my... I see this Mayla character has not changed one iota.

She is still posting self-important, delusional, gobbledegook.

Back during that competition of AJ's, she absolutely accused Keypeg of "stealing" her competition recording entry, which was ridiculous and impossible, since his was posted before hers.

This was gone over, proven and put to rest many times. She was chastised roundly and also voted out of future competitions due to her dishonesty and low moral character.

But in spite of this, the delusional Mayla doubled down with her loony rants deciding that her recording had not only been stolen, but the competition participants were in a conspiracy against her.

I see that she is still a mess and struggling to impose her version of reality on the world.


Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #34 on: April 27, 2014, 12:35:14 AM »
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Offline outin

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #35 on: April 27, 2014, 08:30:43 AM »
I have changed.  I am in deep thought these days, whereas before I was not.

Just don't get sucked in too deep, it might be hard to get back to surface again :)

Offline pts1

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #36 on: April 30, 2014, 04:18:53 PM »
Mayla

If you have really changed then apologize for accusing Keypeg of stealing your competition submission.

Apologize for accusing the other participants of conspiring against you.

Apologize for your dishonest and arrogant behavior throughout that regrettable event.

Apologize to each person you lied to on this board.

This means apologize to Keypeg,  Nyiregyhazi, AJ, and all the others involved.

Show us you have matured and have gone in deep thought to atone for these failings.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #37 on: May 04, 2014, 02:27:15 PM »
I am going back to the original post and topic, because the underlying themes have interested me for a long time.  One factor is that music learning is not how a novice might imagine it, and this in itself is a first hurdle.  If a teacher is trying to build skills along a given path, but the student thinks that his job is to learn pieces, then they're at cross-purposes.  It affects how student and teacher are able to work together during lessons, what the student listens for during the lesson, and how he practices at home.  I.e. it affects everything.  That is why it's a "first hurdle".

So as you guys know, to play piano you probably want to be able read notes, and that in itself entails a number of things: keyboard geography, basic theory in the sense of recognizing a key and sharping F and C for D major etc.  There is basic technique for efficient movement which works well with the body and the instrument etc.  And to get at these skills, the music has to be simple.  A student needs to know that he is getting at such skills, and in themselves they are quite a challenge.  While the music may be "simple", the skills are not.  They need a paradigm shift.

Conversely:
I started him off on Bastien's older beginner book with the chord approach so that he could learn to play music while still playing pieces at sounded good. ...
.... Today, he came to the lesson and told me that is was too easy for him.
My hunch is that this choice of: book with chord approach for playing music that still sounds good, is not the right one.    He came in with serious goals.  I suspect that if you gave him a standard book meant for students i.e. kids, and pointed out the skills that you were going after mutually, he would be more open to it.  At the same time, point out the specific skill you want him to chase in that week's practising and how to go about it.  Don't present it as fun, easy etc. because that is a turn-off.

You have an additional problem in that he has played in a self-taught way and he has played other instruments.  That means it's easier to stay skimming over the surface, and not getting at the meat of what is unique to piano.  To relate the note between two black keys to the note hanging just below the treble clef (D) is an important skill.  But if you can already sound out a melody, you may skim over this and not get at it because of what you can already do.  He should be aware of this to make him more open to working with simple material.  He needs to shift the goals themselves to such things as seeing that D and developing the reflex of playing that D (reading skill).

What has happened since you first posted?

Offline keypeg

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #38 on: May 04, 2014, 02:59:21 PM »
The event several people have been referring to has meaning for me in the context of this thread.  I hope I can explain, and tie it in to the OP's question.

I started as an adult student.  It was with a different instrument.  At some point I began to look at what the goals of lessons might be, what you might work toward and so on.  I then got a piano (DP).  Decades before I had been self-taught as a teen, and I knew that this was a poor base to continue from.  What I had as "technique" was awkward with no real foundation, and "reading" was also some patched together affair.  By this time I knew that the way to go was to go after skills.  I'd say that there are three main areas:
- technique, i.e. getting a good foundation for physical playing and building on it
- getting solid reading skills
- "approach" - how to practice, to how to build a piece, how to build the skills, how musicians build a piece

I was writing about these things and was pretty passionate about them: besides being a student, I am also a teacher by training.  Thing is, it could have been pure intellectual waffling since I was only writing about them.  I had no playing to show for it back then.

Then I found my present teacher, and his goals go along those three areas that I mentioned: it was a perfect match.  We began to work along these areas, and it was clear that this worked!

I had been studying with my teacher in this manner for about a year when the project of AJS came along.  Now, the main point of his project was to get students to approach pieces differently, and with a different attitude.  It was along the lines of what I believed in: look deeply into the piece, take it apart, put it back together again, find how to approach technical hurdles to build the technique you need into it, etc.  And APPROACH - something that had mattered a great deal to me.

I joined this project, because it was a chance to offer something concrete.  I'd been waffling on about approach, skills, etc. but it was all words.  Here we actually got to talk about what we were seeing in the music, how, individually, we were tackling components.  If I could end up playing the piece half decently, then it might prove that learning to work on skills - on approaching pieces etc. - will give the result of a nice sounding piece.  The trick is that while you're working on it, you are aiming at the skills, and end up with nice music.  You don't start off wanting nice sounding music like a package off the shelf: you have to work a certain way.

When my piece was developed by working in this manner, and by my having studied with my teacher aiming toward skills and such ---- when the recording that resulted from working that way sounded rather good ---- this was a chance to demonstrate that working in this way did work.  It was not just intellectual words.

When it is claimed that the recording is not my own work, then ALL THAT is taken away.  It is the idea of working on skills, and on learning how to approach skills as well as pieces while practising and while working with a teachers ..... the proof that it does give results .... that is taken away.  And this is pertinent to this thread.  That whole paradigm shift that I wrote about in my previous post is involved here.


Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #39 on: May 04, 2014, 03:31:41 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline outin

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #40 on: May 04, 2014, 05:36:59 PM »
I am standing up for myself
...
Something is wrong with the equation.

Something is wrong with your equation. You are not standing up for yourself, that's a delusion. Instead you are just causing someone else suffering with your unfounded accusations (yes, a whisper can be just as bad as shouting). If you had any proof that there was foul play, it would be fine to insist that you have been wronged. It wasn't even that bad to ask once if something like that could have happened. But now the decent thing would be to admit that you jumped into conclusions, because it is simply IMPOSSIBLE that you could be right. It's not healthy to believe something with a passion even though all objective evidence points otherwise. So either you don't really and are just being mean or you should be more worried about your mental health than your recording.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #41 on: May 04, 2014, 06:32:16 PM »
Who you are and the skills that you develop cannot be taken away from you.
I did not write about who I am or the skills I am acquiring.  I wrote about posting in the forum about a way of students studying with teachers, and being able to illustrate that it works.  If it is claimed that my work is not my work, then the proof that working in this manner with a teacher gives good results also disappears.  Clearly enough people had ears and paid attention to what led up to it.

 
Quote
  It is strange that I would have moved forward...
But you haven't. Months and months later, you suddenly brought it up in another thread.  Yet you are a teacher and musician with loads of opportunities to perform and cannot let go.  And here I was, an adult student, daring for the first time ever to post anything of mine which was a huge step - yet you are the person who is still dragging this out almost a year later.

The question you ask about harm is a strange one coming from a teacher.  You write of finding ways of motivating adult students, encouraging them - yet when one comes out, works hard, and gets somewhere - dares to post a performance in a form, denying the existence of that work is not harmful?  If you worked with a student and your student posted his or her work in this forum, and its existence were denied, would you be blase about it?  That is to answer your question about what harm there would be.  One can move on and past or around such things, but that doesn't mean that the potential harm is there.

This is the antithesis of motivating a student of any age.  I thought at the time that you, of all people, would delight in the progress, and my good fortune of finding an excellent teacher.  It was disappointing.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #42 on: May 04, 2014, 06:37:49 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #43 on: May 04, 2014, 07:12:26 PM »
What matters is if the opposing view has value or not.  You and others continue to put into writing that an opposing view to your own does not have value, yet simultaneously insist by action that it does.  Does what I believe have value to "you" or not?  If not, then why would you care?  If so, then how does it harm?

To me it is not impossible that I was right, my proof is personal to my own understanding, and every time I thought through it and listened through it, I came up with the same conclusion, even if I would have preferred not to.

Perhaps you could enlighten me on what value this is supposed to have for me?

The opportunity to learn that not everything in the world has to be tailor made to serve you. And the chance to learn humility and ability to accept reality. Also to learn that feelings do not trump reality, regardless of how much arrogant faith you place in yours.

Stop speaking in hypothetical terms. There are specific facts here.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #44 on: May 04, 2014, 07:25:00 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline keypeg

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #45 on: May 04, 2014, 07:30:54 PM »
I'd like to bring this back on topic.  My first post in this thread is on the topic - some of the second one points back to those things.  These are the issues in regards to an adult student learning to play an instrument.  In fact similar issues present themselves with children, if the parents have misconceptions about what learning involves, since they play a role as well.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #46 on: May 04, 2014, 07:33:42 PM »
What value would I possibly have ever perceived in this situation, to motivate me to go against what has been presented to me as "objectively" logical, in the first place?  I brought it up before a winner was declared.  How would it have helped me at all, especially in the face of criticism to everything people imagine I am, to have brought it up in the first place?  And, at a time in my life that was already turbulent to nearly the max with numerous other things.  What would have made me even think, let alone want, to do that to begin with, do you suppose?  

If this is the only light in which you can see the situation, you need urgent psychiatric treatment for delusional egotism. The universe is not shaped around you and if you can only make sense of situations by asking how they benefit you, you have alarming issues. Reality is what it is. Situations are not there for your benefit but merely exist on their own independent terms, regardless of selfishly you wish for them to exist and how ignorant you are to the truly wronged parties.

If you accused someone of murder and they were recorded as having been abroad at the time would you ask how it would help you to be told you are wrong and that your feelings were concocted nonsense- rather than apologise like a human being? Stop placing so much egotistical faith in your feelings and stop expecting everything to benefit you and you alone . Nobody will warm to you for it, so it's yourself you harm when you refuse to face reality. In fact, it's a truly repulsive quality in a person and I'd avoid such characteristics like the plague if I met anyone who could see nothing but their own feelings. Few can even tolerate, nevermind like such a person.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #47 on: May 04, 2014, 07:38:07 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #48 on: May 04, 2014, 07:40:19 PM »
As you know, motive is always necessary, and that is what I am asking.  What would be my motive?  But, I know that you already know that.

You don't get it one bit. I couldn't give a damn about your motive. Sadly the only issues you can see are about you. Nobody else cares about your take-as it's based on delusion. Delusion doesn't even need a motive other than egotism.

Offline Mayla

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Re: Advice on pushy adult student?
«Reply #49 on: May 04, 2014, 08:13:28 PM »
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"The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we are, but in what direction we are moving"  ~Oliver Wendell Holmes