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What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly (Read 7883 times)

Offline outin

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #50 on: July 29, 2014, 05:04:46 AM »
Only to a point. People who use other methods are better equipped to deal with non-cartesian and 4+ dimensional geometries.

I'll have to take your word for it :)

You don't usually get to that until you've passed the simple things...


Why? An image is one of the least efficient means of encoding information.

Is it really if it all happens fast and partly unconsciouss? It is quite fast and if those images are detailed enough to study, they can contain a lot of information in one "package".

And I'm sure you are aware of the exercise to memorize a list of random words by using mental images?

I still feel it would be very useful to have a visual mental keyboard available at all times to study as opposed to needing a picture or a graph to look at.

Offline j_menz

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #51 on: July 29, 2014, 05:16:21 AM »
Is it really if it all happens fast and partly unconsciouss? It is quite fast and if those images are detailed enough to study, they can contain a lot of information in one "package".

Yes, but it is inefficiently stored, and includes a lot of wasted information - stored but not needed.

Consider the relative file sizes of a picture of a page and a txt file.
 
And I'm sure you are aware of the exercise to memorize a list of random words by using mental images?

I am, but I've never seen the point.

I still feel it would be very useful to have a visual mental keyboard available at all times to study as opposed to needing a picture or a graph to look at.

Why? A keyboard is a keyboard - they don't change much. What's a constant picture of it going to achieve?  And since I rarely look at it anyway, what role would it have in imagining playing it?
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline outin

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #52 on: July 29, 2014, 05:29:48 AM »
Yes, but it is inefficiently stored, and includes a lot of wasted information - stored but not needed.

Consider the relative file sizes of a picture of a page and a txt file.

I'm not quite sure that analogy works until we have developed proper biological computers :)


I am, but I've never seen the point.

You could actually make money by doing something like that  :o


Why? A keyboard is a keyboard - they don't change much. What's a constant picture of it going to achieve?  And since I rarely look at it anyway, what role would it have in imagining playing it?

Not imagining playing but for studying theory. To study things like chords for example I think it would be helpful to be able to mentally place them on the keyboard as well. I often need either a picture of a keyboard or a piano to put things into the context.

Offline j_menz

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #53 on: July 29, 2014, 05:37:07 AM »
I'm not quite sure that analogy works until we have developed proper biological computers :)

We have trillions of biological computers all around us. No waiting!

You could actually make money by doing something like that  :o

I could also sell my soul, but meh!

Not imagining playing but for studying theory. To study things like chords for example I think it would be helpful to be able to mentally place them on the keyboard as well. I often need either a picture of a keyboard or a piano to put things into the context.

But the relationship of the notes in a chord is mathematical and aural rather than a physical accidence on the keyboard (until you go to play them, of course).
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline outin

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #54 on: July 29, 2014, 05:49:45 AM »

But the relationship of the notes in a chord is mathematical and aural rather than a physical accidence on the keyboard (until you go to play them, of course).

Maybe, but I am not really able to connect theory to practice without placing the notes on a keyboard at some point. That's probably because my hands and ears have spent so little time on the thing compared to you. My other abilities are not developed enough to compensate.

Offline j_menz

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #55 on: July 29, 2014, 05:59:19 AM »
My other abilities are not developed enough to compensate.

Perhaps. But like the geometry student who initially struggles to "visualise" a circle, you may find yourself much better equipped when you get to a hypersphere.

You need to work with what you've got, but also recognise that it is capable of becoming more than you might think.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline outin

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #56 on: July 29, 2014, 07:05:21 AM »
Perhaps. But like the geometry student who initially struggles to "visualise" a circle, you may find yourself much better equipped when you get to a hypersphere.

When it comes to understanding complex mathematical equations yes, that was my experience when studying such things. But since I have poor ability to make calculations mentally, in addition to understanding things theoretically I usually need some external device to help to apply them in concrete tasks. So it's the combination of abilities that counts really...

I sometimes practice on going through the task of drawing the circle of 5ths purely mentally and it takes ages because of the difficulty to reliably calculate the intervals only in my head to get to the next key and then figuring out where the black and whites keys are in relation to that key. If I have pen and paper or a picture of the keyboard available or sit at the piano it is quite an easy task. So it seems probable to me that the task would be easier if that image of the keyboard was available in my head to check things :)

You need to work with what you've got, but also recognise that it is capable of becoming more than you might think.

Despite of what N believes I do that very well. While gladly taking advantage of the traits that make many things very easy for me,  I still  frequently search for things to do that are outside my comfort zone and try different ways to complete these tasks. It has simply always been interesting to me to also consider how people do things differently when having different abilities. I find the differences intriguing rather than disturbing, so unlike N I feel no need to try to deny their existence. I can actually imagine how it would be to make mental pictures and what I would do with them, even if I cannot. I do not lack imagination, it is just not so much visual kind.



Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #57 on: July 29, 2014, 05:15:05 PM »
What makes you think so? This is a general thing that we should be able to discuss RATIONALLY. I couldn't care less who wins an argument, but I do feel you would greatly benefit from educating yourself a little before creating your elaborate theories about learning. Unless it's enough for you that they only apply to you and others just like you.

It seems like you created your own personal definition of mental visualization just to avoid letting any new information enter your mind and admitting to yourself that you've missed something. Let me be perfectly clear: With mental visualization *I* refer to the ability to form and stabilize VISUAL images (=pictures) in the mind only, either with eyes closed or eyes open. A simple test is to close your eyes and try to form an image of a circle. Most people can do it fine, but many people cannot. They can recognize a circle when they see one and even draw one, but cannot purely VISUALLY remember what a circle looks like when not seeing one, because they have never been able to recreate the image of the circle mentally. The flexibility of the mind enables these people to perform just fine without the ability to the extend that they often don't even realize they are missing something. And just to state the obvious, this is a VERY simplified explanation of the phenomena, you should do further reading to fully understand it.

But you don't have to feel threatened by this new information, you are victim of a VERY common fallacy: Many people have never even realized that while they can form mental images, other people cannot. Similarly those who cannot form mental images are often not even aware that others can.

From an evolutionary view this must be a trait that has been useful but not essential for survival, since such a difference exists. It's a fascinating field of research as well. Even many teachers figure this difference out only when they finally encounter a person who can actually explain their inability. Children mostly cannot so can just be very confused when told to do it and may even claim they can to imitate others when they really cannot.

There are only estimates, but those who can clearly outnumber those who cannot, which probably explains why so many are ignorant of the difference. From the literature I have found an estimate that only 3% of people are totally unable to form any mental images, while about 20% may have some ability, but not to the extend which would be considered "normal" or average ability.



You haven't listened to a thing I wrote. My ability to see a literal image in visualisation is close to nil. I stated that more than once and it hasn't even registered with you. Your whole reply is against a strawman and has no bearing on what I have said. Despite not seeing clear pictures, I can test visualisation (which does not exclusively mean what you are defining it so narrowly as, despite the obvious etymological link to literal visuals) by seeing whether I can play a piece slowly with one finger with certainty. If so, the visualisation is good. If not, I have no true balanced visualisation but only a physical habit that all depends on. This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to quite how many issues should be both linked but also made separable from movement habits.

We're going to round in circles and you're not listening to reason. You're just looking for excuses not to have to deal with the fact that you can do better than you are prepared to admit. As I've stated at least three times, I know that you can do visualisation because you did NOT learn by having someone move your fingers and neither did you learn by lucky guesses. So you have no argument that can stand up to scrutiny no matter how often you should repeat your fallacious claims. You learned pieces by visualising the notes and commanding your fingers to do what you visualised. Afterwards, like 99 percent of pianists, you doubtless stopped visualising most of the details and started relying purely on physical habit for many details. But everything was first visualised to create the habit and that is indisputable fact. Stop this irrational defeatist nonsense and accept that something you can do to enough of a level to learn pieces more complex than scales is something you can develop to further levels still- and certainly something you can develop enough to learn to reliably visualise scales well enough to work at them at any time. It's an issue of mental technique and how you train your intentions- not something that is defined by mood unless you CHOOSE to let it be that way. You're free to make such a choice but you're not free to push through phoney excuses without having them scrutinised and rightly rubbished. Be an accountable adult, not a school child with a list of excuses for not having even tried.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #58 on: July 29, 2014, 05:33:53 PM »
When it comes to understanding complex mathematical equations yes, that was my experience when studying such things. But since I have poor ability to make calculations mentally, in addition to understanding things theoretically I usually need some external device to help to apply them in concrete tasks. So it's the combination of abilities that counts really...

I sometimes practice on going through the task of drawing the circle of 5ths purely mentally and it takes ages because of the difficulty to reliably calculate the intervals only in my head to get to the next key and then figuring out where the black and whites keys are in relation to that key. If I have pen and paper or a picture of the keyboard available or sit at the piano it is quite an easy task. So it seems probable to me that the task would be easier if that image of the keyboard was available in my head to check things :)


Certainly, but I can't see a literal whole keyboard either. This is where you have totally missed the point about what is possible. Instead my visualisation is based on various interrelated factors. For example, I know that E-F and B-C are the spots with no black key. I also have a memory of all fifths, regardless of start note so I neither have to count along nor see a literal keyboard. My scale visualisation is based on many issues but very little on internal pictures equivalent to sight. Although it's important to be able to imagine all the necessary keys when looking at a keyboard (and simply insane to even play the first note of a scale before completing the image) in my mind it's more a case of other issues creating a mental map that is scarcely visual at all. If I imagine D flat major I have a mental impression of the closeness c and D flat compared to the width between c flat and D flat in g flat. But a more literal mental image? Actually, I don't. You're really barking up the wrong tree sorry. I can mentally rehearse an imagination of any scale in full detail of intervals, either in association or independently to imagination of the movement. But it's not like when looking at the keyboard and doing the same. I don't have that photographic mind.

Offline outin

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #59 on: July 29, 2014, 07:12:17 PM »
^ So you were not referring to visualization in the literal sense at all, but imagining before or instead of actually doing something?

Unfortunately I tend to assume that people use terms in the way they have been established in human sciences, my apologies for not understanding what you were talking about. But it might help to avoid such misunderstandings in the future if you voiced your disagreement in a more neutral and precise way and without getting into personal assaults. And here I refer to your way of reasoning that if people do not fully and immediately agree with the things you write, that must mean that they don't know what to do or work the wrong way. When indeed you might not always manage to make your message clear enough. And in some cases you just have a premiss that does not apply universally. It's quite limiting for one's personal development to automatically assume that what is beyond your experience is wrong. In fact THAT could be described as arrogant.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #60 on: July 29, 2014, 07:30:46 PM »
^ So you were not referring to visualization in the literal sense at all, but imagining before or instead of actually doing something?

Unfortunately I tend to assume that people use terms in the way they have been established in human sciences, my apologies for not understanding what you were talking about. But it might help to avoid such misunderstandings in the future if you voiced your disagreement in a more neutral and precise way and without getting into personal assaults. And here I refer to your way of reasoning that if people do not fully and immediately agree with the things you write, that must mean that they don't know what to do or work the wrong way. When indeed you might not always manage to make your message clear enough. And in some cases you just have a premiss that does not apply universally. It's quite limiting to automatically assume that what is beyond your experience is wrong.


You might have a point, had I not gone to such lengths to clarify what I was actually referring to. If you confused it with literal photographic style visualisation alone you didn't read what I wrote but merely assumed everything. Especially given that I not only described things that are clearly not literally about visuals but also stated on three occasions that my ability to see things like a photo is close to zero. Also, the word visualisation is not narrowly defined, so you are not even correct on a pedantic level. It is used to refer to internal mental imagination of far more than pictures. This is widely accepted. Do you think sportsmen merely imagine watching things when they too visualise? Visualise is not a narrowly defined term and it's not up to you whether people can use it broadly, in a manner that is widely accepted.


You can repeat the "I'm unique" routine ad infinitum. But you're not on this issue. Everything you have achieved this far is down to having visualised it and then repeated until a habit was there. Everything else you achieve in the future will depend on exactly the same thing. If you want to pretend that you have no skills in this respect and that that nothing could possibly enable you to visualise a simple scale properly unless you're in the right mood, limit yourself. It's your loss and nobody else's if you aren't interested in further developing fundamental skills, without which you couldn't have even got started with piano playing. You think that you're bad at these things and must thus work other ways, but there are none- so you need to both acknowledge that your achievement are owed to things that you actually can do and that further achievement will depend on developing them even further. There is no "other" route to explore. We can do the things we can imagine. But nobody flukes learning something when they can't even visualise the notes on some level.

Offline outin

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #61 on: July 29, 2014, 07:56:54 PM »


You can repeat the "I'm unique" routine ad infinitum. But you're not on this issue.

 I have never claimed that I am unique. If I thought so why would I bother to discuss these things with other people at all (except maybe my own teacher)? It would be of no relevance. If you start your posts with such nonsense, how can you expect me to seriously read the rest?

I don't see any loss to myself here since the way I work is proven efficient by the results I get. I seem to progress well and faster than average, even with limited time available.

And since you stick to your own definition of visualization, no, I do not think I am bad at it. I never said I was. I made it quite clear above what I mean with the concept.

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #62 on: July 29, 2014, 11:44:07 PM »
I have never claimed that I am unique. If I thought so why would I bother to discuss these things with other people at all (except maybe my own teacher)? It would be of no relevance. If you start your posts with such nonsense, how can you expect me to seriously read the rest?

I don't see any loss to myself here since the way I work is proven efficient by the results I get. I seem to progress well and faster than average, even with limited time available.

And since you stick to your own definition of visualization, no, I do not think I am bad at it. I never said I was. I made it quite clear above what I mean with the concept.

Nonsense? You've gone on over and over about how you are only willing to work in limited ways based on what you feel suits you as an individual and mentioned frequently how you will not always obey your teacher if you feel it's not right for you. In fact, you've said right here that you'd ignore your teacher having set you a scale if you didn't feel you'd be able to do effective practise on it- which is why this started. But you're not claiming to be unique? And the fact you could end up in a situation where nothing you  could possibly do could make practise of that scale beneficial, is in no way suggestive of the fact that you still have an awful lot to learn about how to practise in a productive manner?

Could the cognitive dissonance be any more extreme? Sorry to break it to you, but if you have to duck out of an assigned scale because you didn't feel you could practise it effectively, you don't yet know how to practise efficiently or with clear enough mental intentions. If you can drop this phemenomenal ego and be humble enough to accept that you are not experienced enough as a pianist to know everything about what works yet, you may find you can learn a whole lot more from both your teacher and others. EVERYONE is their own person and intimately familiar with themself. That doesn't mean they are the foremost authority on what they as an individual would need to do to reach their potential in a skill they are as yet inexperienced in. Teachers who are used to working with various different problems are far better to equipped to assess where they need to work.

Nobody is immune from the need to be able to visualise. It comes in different forms and some may create their visualisation of which keys to depress purely aurally, whereas others copy things from synthesia and others read music.  But if you're in a situation where you cannot focus well enough to visualise a simple scale clearly enough to get right there and then, you have URGENT work to do on your visualisation skills. Nothing else will create meaningful progress other than ability to gain clarity of intent. Scales are hugely straightforward compared to what you have to do to either sightread or to learn new music with clarity. Do you want to be one of the pianists who learns three pieces per year after months of troubles smoothing out unnecessary mistakes, or a pianist who can both sightread and learn new repertoire quickly due to clarity of purpose?

If you were humble enough to actually try doing these things before insisting that you are the foremost authority on what is right for you, you might find that you actually learn to work effectively enough to never duck out of an assignment under such a flimsy excuse.

Offline outin

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #63 on: July 30, 2014, 03:10:02 AM »
Nonsense? You've gone on over and over about how you are only willing to work in limited ways

I have not. My ways of working are not limited just because I make choices when and how to work on specific things. That's an absurd claim. They may be limited because I have not figured out every method possible to work yet, but there's little method in a teacher telling someone to go home and practice scales every day. And I am  talking about practice, not study, which are not quite the same thing.

Clearly you think you have revealed the universal secrets to both learning a skill in general and the skill of playing the piano. This would be quite a remarkable achievement. You really are wasting your time on this forum. What you should do is enroll in a doctorate study program and get your theories peer reviewed and published. In the process you would also learn to present them properly.

What you would learn is that you first need to clearly define your concepts. You also need to come up with better proof for your theories than just "It is so because I explain here in so many words that it is so and it cannot be any other way because it does not make sense to me". You need to learn to construct your theory better in writing as well. Then you need either empirical evidence collected by yourself or collected in previous studies. Random observations are not empirical evidence, it has to be collected and analyzed using a method that you can describe in a way that holds under scientific scrutiny. Why do you not want to take this road if you so firmly believe in yourself? You can learn this all if you just work in the right way. Ironically what you are doing now is trying to get to the end (have authority in this subject) without doing the proper work.

Offline outin

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #64 on: July 30, 2014, 04:53:20 AM »
Do you want to be one of the pianists who learns three pieces per year after months of troubles smoothing out unnecessary mistakes,

Since you ask, quantity really does not matter to me at all anymore, it's all about quality and the music. I want to study the pieces as long as they have something to offer and sometimes return to them later. I don't see it as trouble to spend time on a piece that I feel is worthy of it, I quite enjoy the process.

I study many more than 3 pieces a year (some are "learned" better than others) but these days they all mean something to me. I don't just pick up pieces to get them behind me anymore. My playing has improved much faster with this approach than before when I felt it was my duty to pass through a set of pieces completely uninteresting to me.

I also started learning the scales with little effort after I realized that I need to wait for my natural curiosity to take over, which happens when there's a right context for them. Learning really does not have to be forced, it can be both easy and effective. And this type of learning (at least in my case) seems to be more permanent, there's little need for repeating to make it solid. This approach works for me and I am sure it works for others, but I would not claim that it works for everyone.

I cannot speak for other people, but my conscious mind is constantly filling with thoughts and ideas competing for my attention. I need to weigh which one is the most useful at the moment (some are of course completely unproductive) and push the rest back to where ever they come from. There’s no way I could handle or remember them all.

I often wake up in the morning with a fresh new idea about a piece I have been working on or a problem I need to solve. Or I may come home from work anxious to explore something that popped into my mind on the way. Should I stop the urge and make myself practice scales instead and lose what could have been gained exploring those ideas further? I cannot see how that would not be anything else but stupid. I would much rather wait until I feel that way about something with scales and get all the benefits.

I actually think this discussion has been rather useful in reminding me again why some conventional approaches to studying were not very effective in my case. So thanks :)

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #65 on: July 30, 2014, 12:47:08 PM »
Since you ask, quantity really does not matter to me at all anymore, it's all about quality and the music. I want to study the pieces as long as they have something to offer and sometimes return to them later. I don't see it as trouble to spend time on a piece that I feel is worthy of it, I quite enjoy the process.

I study many more than 3 pieces a year (some are "learned" better than others) but these days they all mean something to me. I don't just pick up pieces to get them behind me anymore. My playing has improved much faster with this approach than before when I felt it was my duty to pass through a set of pieces completely uninteresting to me.

I also started learning the scales with little effort after I realized that I need to wait for my natural curiosity to take over, which happens when there's a right context for them. Learning really does not have to be forced, it can be both easy and effective. And this type of learning (at least in my case) seems to be more permanent, there's little need for repeating to make it solid. This approach works for me and I am sure it works for others, but I would not claim that it works for everyone.

I cannot speak for other people, but my conscious mind is constantly filling with thoughts and ideas competing for my attention. I need to weigh which one is the most useful at the moment (some are of course completely unproductive) and push the rest back to where ever they come from. There’s no way I could handle or remember them all.

I often wake up in the morning with a fresh new idea about a piece I have been working on or a problem I need to solve. Or I may come home from work anxious to explore something that popped into my mind on the way. Should I stop the urge and make myself practice scales instead and lose what could have been gained exploring those ideas further? I cannot see how that would not be anything else but stupid. I would much rather wait until I feel that way about something with scales and get all the benefits.

I actually think this discussion has been rather useful in reminding me again why some conventional approaches to studying were not very effective in my case. So thanks :)



The thing is, when it's all about quality, pieces will be getting learned in short spaces of time and no scale will never need more than one practise session to be learned to an extremely high standard. With the right attitude, there won't even be mistakes on the first ever play through. Quality and quantity are not contradictory. In fact, where pieces don't sort themselves out at a good rate, it's usually indicative of faults in the quality, rather than a sign of quality over quantity.

The idea that something so overwhelmingly self evident would need to be peer reviewed is giving me a very good chuckle. If you can find me a pianist in the world who regards the level of mental complexity in understanding even one scale to be greater than even most grade 1 pieces, bring that person forwards. You're so stuck in argument mode that you're not even thinking about the issues here. If you can find either a scientists or pianist who thinks you can execute a series of notes without knowing what those notes are, bring him forward. The only exception is after having already learned a habit. And how do you learn a habit? It can only done by first knowing what the notes are clearly enough to repeat them accurately until one is formed. There is nothing to be argued about here and nothing is exempt from this baseline of how learning works. If you sincerely feel there's an error in such airtight logic then get off your butt and expose that error. Speculating that some other peer might find one that you are completely incapable of spotting is a pretty lame way to run an argument- especially when the logic is so self-evidenrly solid. If your best argument against something is to speculate that maybe someone else could come forward to disprove it, you're arguing on emotion and not on reason. Run that by any peer you like and see if you can find a counterproof.

What this boils down to is that if momentary issues of mood stop you visualising a scale well enough to work on something so basic and achieve something, you haven't got your head clearly enough in the right place in general. Good practises don't fall apart on whims or moods, when dealing with basic things. Only performances that are too heavily based on habit over awareness and visualisation should be affected by short term issues. For a long time I was very bad at learning fugues. This week I finally took it upon myself to learn Bach's c major fugue from the 48 book i. For the first time since I learned a fugue (I've done around 10 or so), it was relatively painless and took a week to get all notes and fingerings down. The big difference compared to in the past is visualisation and making sure I was sensitively observing what I was doing in true detail rather than playing through on instinctive fingerings etc. Normally fugues take phenomenal effort, but due to improvements I've made in these areas, I didn't have to be in any special frame of mind. I just did the job because the link between brain and fingers has become stronger. When things didn't work, I didn't walk away or throw a tantrum. I stopped and made a firm decision about the fingering and played slower and more sensitively, until I was sure my fingers were following the intention and that I could observe that happening. Any pianist who wants to thrive needs to learn how to calmly turn unproductive moments into productive practise, by clarifying their thinking. Everyone at any level can improve on this. Spending a whole week not doing an assignment is just hiding from problems, not a sign of someone who knows what is best for themself.

When you feel like you need to be in some particular special place to get anywhere, what it really shows is that you need to work on the manner on which you engage the mind in general. What you haven't learned is WHERE to direct the thought to make things useful.

Offline j_menz

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #66 on: July 30, 2014, 11:23:11 PM »
Normally fugues take phenomenal effort

Really? Subject to other technical aspects, they should be playable at sight.  :o
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline nyiregyhazi

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #67 on: July 30, 2014, 11:42:28 PM »
Really? Subject to other technical aspects, they should be playable at sight.  :o

Well, I can scrape through a slower one with a lot of short pedals and a wealth of instinctive but impractical finger substitutions.

However, quite seriously, expecting perfection in terms of fingering and legato an accuracy etc. first time is exactly what I've started doing. If I don't get, I break down a small chunk until I've truly understood what I'm intending on a conscious rather than instinctive level. It's been a hell of a lot quicker to get things right than I might have expected possible. One of the things I find most important is mentally observe EVERY part with the introduction of every single new note- so the attention remains on how the fingers continue to precisely engage with the long notes, creating a clear picture of the vertical interrelationships at every single step of the journey. All manner of tiny details can get smeared when you don't start with that level of detail.

Offline pianoman8

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #68 on: July 31, 2014, 04:01:04 AM »
Responding to the original first post:
I feel that it is the responsibility of the teacher to take help the student reach their goals, and encourage them to go a little farther. You could tell the adult something along the lines of "you have been doing very well for the amount of time/lessons you have put in, but you will see greater results if you are more consistent with your lessons"
Also, tell them that you are happy with their current progress and either decision the adult makes (lesson or other obligation), but to let you know a couple days earlier so you can plan what to do with the child or adult
Make sure that it doesn't sound like you are disrespecting the parent by saying that their other obligations are not as important.
Hope I helped, send me a PM if you have more questions

Offline elizasays

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #69 on: August 21, 2014, 04:43:20 AM »
The whole point of scales it to take real world difficulties and put them into their simplest form. If you make excuses now, what will happen when you get to an advanced Mozart sonata- in which you must visualise both standard scale patterns with standard fingerings and non standard patterns with different fingerings? And all that is while needing to respect musical shapes and having to contend with another hand at the same time. Is that any place to be having to drum up the focus to learn how to play a basic scale that you put aside because it was too hard to concentrate on the very same thing well enough to sort it out?

I agree with this, as i find myself, that my regular scale playing helps my fingers work better and do things they couldn't earlier. So, i struggle less because the technical difficulty of a piece has been worked on in my scale practise. I also find my students get a better tone when playing, because they focus on scales.

I've found when i teach, that students only practise scales when they know it's going to be heard. So i spend a little time at every lesson with scales - not just teaching a new scale to beginners, but also on hand position and playing technique and varying the kind of practise the student does every now and then, so it's not boring and routine.

Almost all of my students practise scales regularly, and some of them love to play scales. In fact i sometimes have young children come in really really excited about their scale playing and refusing to play anything else until i've heard their scales.
Anitaelise

Offline elizasays

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #70 on: August 21, 2014, 05:00:15 AM »
I have a family of four.  When dad has another engagement, which is frequently, he asks the other family members to take a longer lesson.  This is getting on my last nerve.  Am I crazy to give up the money.  The two little girls are fine.  The adults, not so much.  It's pretty much entertainment for them.  I get that this guy is a control freak, but it's disrespectful and annoying. 

So do I need to take it on the chin for income, or let it go in some way?   



I often find the one hour a week for piano class too limited, when students are practising and doing well. So, i'd use the extra time to teach the little girls both together - singing, rhythm exercises, maybe do a little playing by ear and sometimes listening to music - simple songs, and identifying things like repetition in tunes - forte and piano and any basic theory concepts that can be identifyed by ear.
Of course, this is, if the parent still continues, despite no progress.

My music terms specifically state that regular classes will be discontinued if practise is not regular, as it's very frustrating to teach when there's no progress. I'd rather give the slot to a student who uses the class to learn something. I always tell a student and parent that they're wasting their money, if they don't practise.
i currently have a 21 year old student who is doing higher studies with a very heavy curriculum (engineering) and does not practise. So, i've asked him to take a decision - either practise regularly or discontinue regular classes, but have offered him the option of booking single classes.

So, i give him a target of work to be done, with the standard of playing i expect, and when he achieves it, he'll book a class and with me, at a mutually agreed upon time. That way, he too can work with what he is able to do comfortably without stress, and learn at his own pace.

I feel it's just a matter of him making piano playing a part of this daily life - using piano playing to relax rather than as a thing to do or achieve, and he'll be able to practise daily (maybe not a lot, but certainly 30 minutes, which is sufficient for the level he's at) Once he learns this, i know he'll be asking for a regular slot again.
Anitaelise

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #71 on: August 21, 2014, 05:06:14 AM »
I have a family of four.  When dad has another engagement, which is frequently, he asks the other family members to take a longer lesson.  This is getting on my last nerve.  Am I crazy to give up the money.  The two little girls are fine.  The adults, not so much.  It's pretty much entertainment for them.  I get that this guy is a control freak, but it's disrespectful and annoying. 

So do I need to take it on the chin for income, or let it go in some way? 


After reading your post it looks like you really like this obnoxious family man who has his whole family taking lessons from you. He is a pain in the arse but deep down... you like him. Stupid guy thinks piano is for entertainment... what is not to like ?

Offline j_menz

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #72 on: August 21, 2014, 05:06:37 AM »
Once he learns this, i know he'll be asking for a regular slot again.

Probably with someone else.

EDIT: No. Hopefully with someone else.

This is an age when piano students often give up, under pressure of time from other things, they've worked out that they're not aiming for a career in music, and don't know how piano is going to fit into their increasingly busy and diverse lives - both in terms of time, and in terms of function.

And teachers like you, who stick with their own preconceived notions of desirable progress/must practice/must do what I say attitude are very much at fault here. A little flexibility, and he may still stay sufficiently in touch so that piano can continue to enrich his life, and he continues to play (he is after all, at the moment, spending the time and money to do so). With the attitude you're displaying he's at best going to be one of those who pops up again years down the track regretting what he's lost; at worst he just won't be back.

Broaden your mind, and your goals!
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline bernadette60614

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #73 on: October 29, 2014, 08:57:35 PM »
I'm an adult student and I'll comment from that perspective:

No one likes to feel stupid.  As an adult, you develop certain competencies and you build your life on those.  We are supposed to look like we know what we are doing and, at least half the time, I actually do!

I haven't had a teacher is decades.  Nor, have a systematically learned a subject in decades (I'm knowledgeable in my profession, have good life skills.  Systematically learning is a humbling endeavor.

It seems to me from what you've said that Dad doesn't know how to systematically learn. He probably does not understand the nature of practice.  You may start with teaching him just the basic process of practice.

Offline love_that_tune

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #74 on: January 11, 2015, 09:07:55 PM »
Yah, so ah, I've just read through this thread and realize that all musicians are just a little bit nuts.  In an odd way it comforts me.  To Bob who was kind enough to ask me how things are going.... It's a week to week thing.  I can't quite bring myself to blow them off  entirely.  I just figured out that over the last 4 months they have had lessons 2 out of three weeks.  Which means I'm making about $10 per lesson after taxes.  So yah, it's been real swell being called a control freak, and told my methods are stupid, and reading all the snarky responses to someone else on a different subject.  Gee whiz... Thanks guys.



Offline Bob

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #75 on: January 11, 2015, 09:40:06 PM »
I'd just give them the worst time slot, not priority is getting a time slot.  If they show up, great.  If not, leave or work on something else.  They'd be scheduled after everyone else.

And then feel free to cancel their lesson if you have something else going on.  If they've done it to you, it's the same treatment in reverse.  

That way you still make some money off them now and then. Negatives would be still having to mess with them and having a crappy student out there representing you, possibly bad word of mouth, etc.  What you could do is not even tell them if you're blowing their lesson off.  Just not show up.  If they ask, say you thought they weren't showing up since they didn't show up x, y, and z times.

Also, if you're not making any money off them anyway.... If they do have a nice time slot for lessons, just tell them they're being moved.  It won't work out for you in that time and they now have x time slot.  Tell them that instead of asking them.  If they don't like it, tough, and they can find another time slot you approve at the end of another day. 


If you're teaching a lot of students, I would image it takes a few minutes to pack up at the end of the day.  So if you're doing that, you're sticking around waiting for them for that time too.  If they don't show up, leave.  If they do, just teach up until the end of their scheduled time -- If they didn't show up on time, they're not going to bled over into your personal time.  Tell them you have something planned right after that and have to leave at the end of their lesson.  If you're working from home, you could even say you have a Skype lesson scheduled at the end of their lesson.  A lot of people will buy into that when you tell them there's something scheduled with another person rather than telling them their time is up.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Bob

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #76 on: January 11, 2015, 09:47:59 PM »
Lost my post edit....

If they question, tell them it's another student and you don't give out other student info.

Or instead of a student, tell them you're critiquing someone's playing over Skype, etc.  The key point is that it's something scheduled.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline diomedes

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #77 on: January 13, 2015, 03:17:54 PM »
Quote
So yah, it's been real swell being called a control freak, and told my methods are stupid, and reading all the snarky responses to someone else on a different subject.  Gee whiz... Thanks guys.

I have not read the entire thread and won't but did a little at the start and end. I've noticed there's a bit of attitude on this forum so don't let it get under your skin, it's a chronic condition, nothing to do with you.

As for the students, I find in life almost anything is easy, but when it's dealing with people, brace yourself. I say don't let it get o you under any condition, anger/frustration are errors in their core. Find out whatever they want, give it to them and move on. It's probably a problem you can't solve if you think about it.
Ravel, Alborada del Gracioso
Schumann, Kreisleriana
Scriabin, Sonata nr.3
Liszt, Don Juan

Offline love_that_tune

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Re: What would you do with an adult student who cancels regularly
«Reply #78 on: January 13, 2015, 03:30:00 PM »
Thanks.  I needed that. 

"As for the students, I find in life almost anything is easy, but when it's dealing with people, brace yourself. I say don't let it get o you under any condition, anger/frustration are errors in their core. Find out whatever they want, give it to them and move on. It's probably a problem you can't solve if you think about it."

I'm actually going to print this out and read it from time to time.  9 out of ten of my students are a great joy.  Not a bad average eh?

Have a great teaching day!