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The Piano Teacher (Read 2425 times)

Offline brocklanders

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The Piano Teacher
« on: April 25, 2015, 02:51:43 AM »
Hello all,

I am now past my first year as a piano student without any prior study. I signed up for 10 lessons with a private teacher and since then am totally hooked.

Also my piano teacher and I, we just click! We just get along really good and I really do like her personality and attitude (though sometimes she is really harsh on me) and I just welcome her in my life (which is very rare for me as a loner) and am truly grateful for this... + I think about her a lot

Almost every time we are doing a lesson she tells me that I am talented and I will be a good pianist in the future... Although I am almost always very nervous when playing for her (or somebody else). I don't think of myself this way, but it is flattering nonetheless. She also recently told my I am her favourite student!

But, now when getting a little better at playing i sometimes doubt her level of knowledge and experience (Dear God please forgive me)... She herself makes tons of mistakes when playing something for me and sightreading a Bach beginner piece seems to be a real challenge.

I really really don't wanna sound like a dick but has anyone else had the same experience?

Offline brocklanders

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #1 on: April 25, 2015, 04:23:47 AM »
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Offline outin

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #2 on: April 25, 2015, 06:06:14 AM »
I really really don't wanna sound like a dick but has anyone else had the same experience?

Kind of... After some lessons I didn't feel my first teacher had much to offer me even though he was a very nice guy and very positive.

So I switched. My present teacher is not one who would praise, she's so focused into what should be better. Although she is very focused on technique and helps a lot, it's still up to me to experiment and find out ways to overcome my numerous problems with playing to achieve what she expects. And sometimes her expectations seem to go way over what I am capable of. I'm not unhappy with the situation, but it does add some elements of stress to my learning, since I am quite self critical by nature as well and add my own demands to hers. Usually after spending the week working hard on solving something I only get: "and then you must do this..."

My teacher plays so well and sight reads too, so sometimes I feel she just don't get how difficult somethind can be for me. Since I am an adult with quite a lot of knowledge, she probably expects much more than she does with children. Yet in some things I learn much slower than an average kid.

I'm sure it's not always so, but a very competent teacher might also be quite demanding, tell you less positive things and you might not feel quite as comfortable on your lessons. And perfect teachers are quite rare, most have their shortcomings. So consider what is important for you. I cannot say that learning piano is so much "fun" for me, but it's enjoyable as a process and I sometimes get a glimpse of something worth to wait for in the future...

Offline deandeblock

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #3 on: April 25, 2015, 06:35:40 AM »
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work hard, play hard

Offline deandeblock

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #4 on: April 25, 2015, 06:38:21 AM »
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work hard, play hard

Offline brocklanders

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #5 on: April 25, 2015, 06:39:40 AM »
Hey outin,

i must admit she's is not putting me on a pedestal, she can be really though and expecting way more than i can handle at this time (for example: we started Czerny Op. 849 six months ago which I thought I was totally not ready for it)... + she has her off-days if you know what i mean

I also think think she is an honest person ( one of her personality traits which i am attracted to )

I think she just sizes me up against her other students ( mostly children )

I know for sure sure she is very musical and could definitely add some serious value and she doesn't let me get away with half-assed work

 but it is very difficult to obey her when she herself can't do it properly...

it's almost like she is kind of burnt out or something :s

Offline outin

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #6 on: April 25, 2015, 12:26:21 PM »

 but it is very difficult to obey her when she herself can't do it properly...

it's almost like she is kind of burnt out or something :s

If she doesn't perform, maybe she also doesn't practice at all...I guess one can lose the skills if one doesn't...My teacher still performs and learns new repertoire. Usually she can sight read with ease anything I bring her, but lately I guess my pieces have become harder to read, because she cannot do it quite perfectly in tempo always...

Do you know if you teacher has some qualifications? Did she study piano performance or pedagogy?

Offline Bob

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #7 on: April 25, 2015, 03:47:18 PM »
I'd wonder about one that doesn't perform anymore.

If it's a quick demo during a lesson, the teacher would be sight-reading the piece possibly.  I've heard of teachers having a student agree not to let anyone listen to an audio recording of the lesson if the student asks to record it.  The teacher's focused on teaching.  If they botch something up, then the student walks out with a recording of that person making a mistake. 

I did have a temp teacher who got any music I was working on and looked/played it over before the lesson.  That I thought was nice from the student side.  It was all standard stuff though so it would have been review for him.

The ultimate point is if you're happy with your progress and if you're improving.  I've thought a few times someone could actually have a teacher who knows nothing about music and still make a lot of progress.  If that type of teacher encouraged the student, was able to troubleshoot with them, etc... And if it's expressive music, anyone can pinpoint on the general "feels" of the piece.

And... I'm thinking every teaching situation I've been in, either side, is business.  The teacher is selling expertise to the student.  It's in the teacher's interest to have the student come back again so they can continue to make money.  So maybe some of their happiness, enthusiasm, praise, etc. is due to that. 

Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline 8_octaves

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #8 on: April 26, 2015, 06:56:30 AM »
Hi,

I think in the field of "hi-end-teaching" we find some teachers whose actual performances we won't find easily, e.g., on YT or elsewhere, for example Prof. Karl-Heinz Kämmerling (+), or Prof. Peter Feuchtwanger, or at least another 1 or 2 ones. But we should note that even they will have had to perform, for example for examination-purposes, in front of their own teachers.

Then, we have, in such cases, to consider that such teachers always should / will be able to show AT THE PIANO exactly what they mean, for every piece existing, so that the student in any case gets a good imagination and that all her / his questions can be answered.

And such teachers, who mostly teach or have taught students who ARE already very very good, or are teachers themselves, would maneuvre themselves into an unpleasant situation, if one of these accomplished students asked them

"oh, I cannot do that: could you show me, please, by playing it yourself, the final 5 pages of the Liszt-b-minor-sonata, please?"

and then, the teacher cannot play it. That would be unpleasant, and students perhaps would talk about that, and / or leave.

Thus, we can assume, that there are VERY VERY GOOD teachers who rarely or never perform(ed) in public concerts during their career as a teacher, but could, in spite of that, ALWAYS and in ANY CASE show their students and ( additionally), give satisfying answers to already very accomplished students.

Secondly, we might notice, that the more mediocre the teacher's "fame" is, and the more unknown his name, the more she / he will have to perform in public concerts, to increase fame and to make her / his name more relevant in the public. (Because otherwise this thread won't have been started.) The second way to become "famous" - in the local view of their cities, of course, where they live, (but not too much more in the "outer conurbation areas" surrounding )   - would be that they are, due to their character or appearing, e.g., extraordinarily popular in the music-school where they teach. -  ;D

But for exceptional teachers as 2 of them are mentioned above, as I assume, this isn't necessary, ( since such persons will train themselves automatically by showing things to their students / by teaching, or they train and practice the relevant things, which they themselves evaluate as important, in privacy, to keep or even improve their standards in actual teaching. )
They don't need teachers any longer, and they don't need public performances to increase their fame or influence.

Final case would be a retired teacher of either the first ( exceptionally hi-end ) or second ( mediocre ) proven abilities or proven fame who doesn't perform ANY LONGER in public. This has to be considered, too.

Cordially, 8_octaves
"Never be afraid to play before an artist.
The artist listens for that which is well done,
the person who knows nothing listens for the faults." (T. Carreño, quoting her 2nd teacher, Gottschalk.)

Offline michael_sayers

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #9 on: May 19, 2015, 07:53:56 AM »

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #10 on: May 21, 2015, 03:11:42 PM »
I totally get how you feel - you like the teacher as a person, you get along very well and you are feeling bad doubting her ability at times. I think maybe she has been teaching children play in their first years and she is not working much on her skills anymore because to teach children who are beginners (and who it takes years to go to next level) does not challenge her at the least.
You are an adult who progresses faster - probably you are now the most advanced of her students - do you know that? Because if it is the case - I would start looking for a teacher who teaches intermediate students.
At least that was what my first teacher told my parents - that he taught me all he could and he suggested another teacher, who was teaching intermediate and advanced players.
I do not believe that somebody who does not have ability to do something properly themselves can teach this to another person - seems not very likely to me.

Myself, I had a different, very negative experience with a piano teacher. When I left my home town to study at university (not music) I had to find a new piano teacher. Somebody recommended this lady to me and I started lessons with her. When I finished lessons with my previous teacher I was playing good level pieces - like some virtuoso etudes, Chopin Polonaise in d, etc.
When I started with this lady she said she did not like my touch and she gave me some music for absolute beginners (!!!!), like 6 notes in a bar and showed me weird hand movements that she thought created "better sound". No exercises, no etudes, just practicing weird, slow movements, moving the hands and fingers high and letting them down in a certain, weird way she imagined the correct way!
At first I thought - ok, maybe there is something to it. I gave it a try. A friend of mine, who was studying jazz at a conservatory - would just shake his head at me playing those beginner pieces with weird, slow movements- I should have listened to him and ended with this nonsense earlier. But I gave it several months - I paid her a lot of money - she taught me absolutely NOTHING. Needless to say - that beginner piece was one of 2 or 3 beginner pieces I was "studying" with her all that time. Unbelievable. Now I am just trying to figure out if I heard her play at all (don't remember any occasions). Maybe she was not able to play anything more than beginner pieces herself?  ::)
One does have to be something critical on occasions and listen to their own gut.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline taoxia1970

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #11 on: June 27, 2015, 03:52:23 AM »
Not all teachers knows every piece well enough to play like a recording, what you are looking for from the teacher are ideas of how to approach a piece, knowledge on technic and artistry, as well as literature,  it should be more of a 'discussion' between teacher and student, rather than passively absorbing.

A student can pass a teacher's level in a way, that you may have a better idea on how to play or approach a particular style or genre  naturally than the teacher.

No one should stay with one teacher the whole time, take lessons from different teachers (clearly not at more than one teacher at the same time), but hear a different approach and ideas from different teacher will be beneficial!

Offline dcstudio

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Re: The Piano Teacher
«Reply #12 on: June 30, 2015, 01:41:01 AM »

you are just past your first year--and she can't play the music she's assigning you?  ouch...  we are not talking about high end rep here...   that's a big red flag.   huge.