Piano Forum logo
November 18, 2017, 09:33:16 PM *
   Forum Home   Help Search  


Wilhelm Backhaus – Technical Problems Discussed

The legendary German pianist Wilhelm Backhaus (1884-1969) shares his thoughts on piano technique in an interview with Hariette Browner, published in her book Piano Mastery (1915) Read more >>

Pages: [1] 2   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: How do you decide when to drop a student?  (Read 2128 times)
mishamalchik
PS Silver Member
Jr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 86


« on: November 05, 2016, 10:53:13 PM »

Hi,
     I'm new here so I don't know if it's appropriate to ask this here but I wanted to ask teachers, so here I am.

How do you decide when to drop a student? What makes you no longer want to teach them or makes you no longer want to dedicate a spot in your limited studio space to them?
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
wkmt
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 108


« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2016, 03:22:22 PM »

We normally take such a crude decision after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed with no noticeable progress seen whatsoever. We always have to remember that people have many talents and maybe by insisting in trying to develop the wrong artistic skill we might be preventing that student from developing his true potential.

Juan Rezzuto
www.wkmt.co.uk
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2016, 07:07:06 PM »

We normally take such a crude decision after a reasonable amount of time has elapsed with no noticeable progress seen whatsoever. We always have to remember that people have many talents and maybe by insisting in trying to develop the wrong artistic skill we might be preventing that student from developing his true potential.
I have been looking at the various adverts, and this is the first concrete thing I've seen.  The response makes me uncomfortable.
1.  If there is no progress, then the first thing that is done in good teaching, is to see the cause of that lack of progress.  I'd also want to know what is meant by "progress".  This in itself is an important question.
2.  For anyone in the field of teaching to juxtapose the idea of "talent", that to me is a red flag.
3.  Before answering, did you look at the asker's previous posts in order to get a feel for who is asking and why?  You are responding to a student who is in a particular circumstance.  The answer I see here could potentially do harm or discourage.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
vaniii
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 241


« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 08:42:44 PM »

I sack a student when the interaction with them brings me little joy and starts to affect time not spent with them.  Another attributing factor would be if the lessons reach a point where I simply cannot help them, because they do not help themselves.

So far in my entire tenure of piano teaching spanning two decades, this has happened only four times:

1, when two years passed and they had learned nothing.

2, when the student said no when I asked to hear their piece.

3, when the student did not speak to me for 18 months (lessons start to termination).

4, when the student questioned my ability to play and teach.

I do not terminate lessons willingly, however there has to be a line drawn at some point. I am in a position where I do not need to seek students, and so do not have to tolerate the abuse of the less grateful.

Don't be naive; everybody can, not everybody will. You can choose when to teach and when not to.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2016, 09:26:43 PM »

I am so glad that I am not reading these answers as a relatively new student.

I'd love to read something where there is an attitude of responsibility and also reassurance for students.  Say, maybe, that teachers do not expect amazing performances or "talent" (well, maybe with the exception of the first responder); that mistakes are normal, and it is the teacher's task to find the cause of mistakes and also prevent mistakes, and the student's responsibility to follow through. How about that as a start?

Both responses leave me uncomfortable.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
dogperson
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 780


« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2016, 10:07:09 PM »

I am so glad that I am not reading these answers as a relatively new student.

I'd love to read something where there is an attitude of responsibility and also reassurance for students.  Say, maybe, that teachers do not expect amazing performances or "talent" (well, maybe with the exception of the first responder); that mistakes are normal, and it is the teacher's task to find the cause of mistakes and also prevent mistakes, and the student's responsibility to follow through. How about that as a start?

Both responses leave me uncomfortable.

Really Keypeg?
The first response was just a canned, generic response which would make any of us uncomfortable--- especially if you are a piano student that needs to develop skills toward a degree.   But vaniii's should be very reassuring to a new student:   Out of teaching for 20 years, only 4 students have been dropped, and all for more than legitimate reasons and a great deal of patience prior to making that decision.  Would you really keep a student that would not talk for 18 months?  Could you really bear to endure for eighteen months before making that decision?

If you are reading that there was no teacher responsibility and no attempt to work things out with this response, it seems like you are really reaching  to find something wrong with the reply.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
iansinclair
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1473


« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2016, 10:27:05 PM »

I sack a student when the interaction with them brings me little joy and starts to affect time not spent with them.  Another attributing factor would be if the lessons reach a point where I simply cannot help them, because they do not help themselves.

So far in my entire tenure of piano teaching spanning two decades, this has happened only four times:

1, when two years passed and they had learned nothing.

2, when the student said no when I asked to hear their piece.

3, when the student did not speak to me for 18 months (lessons start to termination).

4, when the student questioned my ability to play and teach.

I do not terminate lessons willingly, however there has to be a line drawn at some point. I am in a position where I do not need to seek students, and so do not have to tolerate the abuse of the less grateful.

Don't be naive; everybody can, not everybody will. You can choose when to teach and when not to.
I've never been a piano teacher (I've been an organ teacher!), and I'd add a couple of others: when I found that I and my student were not going in the same direction (e.g. I was teaching classical organ, and my student had a great interest and ability in jazz) or, somewhat related, when my student had gone beyond my technical ability and, while I could still give her the benefit of my musicianship, I could no longer give her effective help in technical fields.  In both cases, I didn't so much drop the student as spend some time with them looking at what they needed and wanted to further their learning, and then helping them find a new teacher.

I've seen the same sort of situation in both ballet and voice.

But I suspect that this type of situation may happen only with much higher level students than the OP was talking about?
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Ian
themeandvariation
PS Gold Member
Sr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 560


« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2016, 10:57:15 PM »

The student has to try in earnest..- with conscientious regular practice.  A good portion of the lesson is Learning how to practice, and methods of solving  'difficulty'.  In order for a way of thinking to catch fire, it must be practiced in the Way that we went over in the lesson.
Some weeks, it may be difficult to accommodate practicing, but if it becomes a pattern - (more than half the time) over a given chunk of time, say 2-3 months, I will give them an admonishment, some to the effect of: "It appears that you are not really into doing this project.  We cannot progress unless you do your part.. Otherwise, it just will not work of course, and there is no point. Now if you want to continue, it will be reflected in your concerted effort to practice, before the next lesson."
If i have to say this again, - by the third time i will drop them.. I have just had to do this last week - with a student who has been with me for 3 years… Sports can usurp so much time…Without at least a half hour each day, - it becomes futile.
I have only had to do this a handful of times - not always due to the above reason.. but mostly.

One thing i try to do is- (because there are so many pieces to choose from for their next piece,  it is not hard) to find a piece they are genuinely excited about doing.. (leaving them little excuse for not practicing).
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

4'33"
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2016, 01:14:42 AM »

Really Keypeg?
The first response was just a canned, generic response which would make any of us uncomfortable--- especially if you are a piano student that needs to develop skills toward a degree.   But vaniii's should be very reassuring to a new student:   Out of teaching for 20 years, only 4 students have been dropped, and all for more than legitimate reasons and a great deal of patience prior to making that decision.
I must say that I was thinking mostly of the first response, which made me uncomfortable right from the moment of spamming the forum.  But what bothered me about both is that they talked only about results or effects. 
- a student has learned nothing over two years.  If the student has not put in any effort over that period of time.  If, however, there is a problem, then I might pass that student on to a colleague with a different approach who might be able to help.
- when a student says no to being asked to hear a piece.  Why is he saying no?  Is he afraid of criticism?  Is he shy?  Has he been told bad things about his playing by other people, maybe even family or friends?
- questioning the ability to teach.  If a student actually says "You are a terrible teacher." yes, maybe.  If a teacher questions what is being taught, of results - Well, this is a tricky one.  Because there are times when a thing doesn't work, and many students are scared to say anything, for fear of appearing to be "questioning".
Quote
 Would you really keep a student that would not talk for 18 months?  
If what I am teaching depends on talking, then this would be a problem.  But piano is about playing, and if a student did what he was told, then I might keep the student.  I'd want to know why he is not talking.  I once knew a youngster who had gone through trauma, and it took him almost a year before he uttered a single word - his teacher was delighted as though Christmas had come early.  The last thing I'd want to do is to erode the confidence even more by shutting the door on such a child.

What bothered me the most about the response of the first one was that it was about results by the student, put on the student's "talent" rather than the teacher's teaching (at all).  The reasons I usually see have to do with a student's level of effort, rather than how well he does.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
piano petals
PS Silver Member
Newbie
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 16


« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2016, 02:18:20 AM »

what the ffffff. Juan!
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
dogperson
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 780


« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2016, 02:23:55 AM »

what the ffffff. Juan!

Gobblygook without one thread of thought.  Guess it is Juan's effort to 'participate' in the forum after spamming with ads for his studio in London.  Not a strong first impression for potential students.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
pianoplunker
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 738


« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2016, 12:01:27 PM »

Hi,
     I'm new here so I don't know if it's appropriate to ask this here but I wanted to ask teachers, so here I am.

How do you decide when to drop a student? What makes you no longer want to teach them or makes you no longer want to dedicate a spot in your limited studio space to them?


Not being a teacher myself, I would say it is appropriate to drop students when a teacher no longer wants to teach.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
vaniii
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 241


« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2016, 12:06:11 PM »

I must say that I was thinking mostly of the first response, which made me uncomfortable right from the moment of spamming the forum.  But what bothered me about both is that they talked only about results or effects. 
- a student has learned nothing over two years.  If the student has not put in any effort over that period of time.  If, however, there is a problem, then I might pass that student on to a colleague with a different approach who might be able to help.
- when a student says no to being asked to hear a piece.  Why is he saying no?  Is he afraid of criticism?  Is he shy?  Has he been told bad things about his playing by other people, maybe even family or friends?
- questioning the ability to teach.  If a student actually says "You are a terrible teacher." yes, maybe.  If a teacher questions what is being taught, of results - Well, this is a tricky one.  Because there are times when a thing doesn't work, and many students are scared to say anything, for fear of appearing to be "questioning".If what I am teaching depends on talking, then this would be a problem.  But piano is about playing, and if a student did what he was told, then I might keep the student.  I'd want to know why he is not talking.  I once knew a youngster who had gone through trauma, and it took him almost a year before he uttered a single word - his teacher was delighted as though Christmas had come early.  The last thing I'd want to do is to erode the confidence even more by shutting the door on such a child.

What bothered me the most about the response of the first one was that it was about results by the student, put on the student's "talent" rather than the teacher's teaching (at all).  The reasons I usually see have to do with a student's level of effort, rather than how well he does.

Apologies KeyPeg, but can you agree that your response would be a tad presumptuous and perhaps even a little arrogant.  Your post insinuates that you know and could do better without actually ever meeting them or interacting with them. Perhaps you could, in which case kudos to you.

I cannot go into the details of these students as it would not be professional to divulge sensitive information regarding the student’s personal information, but I can at least give you an overview without revealing said personal information.

Student 1
Took lessons for two years.  They would arrive at the session with lots of words and bravado making statements (to quote): “I want to be the best pianist ever”, and “I want to take my grade X before the end of the year”, and “I want to play like [X other student]”.  I would compile a course of study to make these goals achievable providing they practise and do what I asked in the lesson, at home.  They did not; I made the decision to stop lessons when a relatively simple study caused them trouble because they could not identify middle C on the piano or the page, after two years.  This happened at the end of tenure after two months of no practise.  Not to mention three failed performances; each time they would continue with said bravado without actually doing the work required: “I want to play in X concert”.  The problem was that they wanted to succeed, but did not want to put any effort in.  Focus here was what the student wanted rather than what they needed. They loved potato chips but refused to eat mashed potato; they cannot see the wood from the tress, that is they are essentially the same thing.

Student 2
A serial non-practiser; they did not want to practise anything I set and only wanted to play what they wanted to play.  I indulged them; however, after a series of lessons where they did nothing I asked them to, the interaction was terminated when they simply refused to play in the lesson.  No amount of cajoling, persuasion or reasoning would change their mind.  If a student refuses to participate in the lesson, refuses to rehearse at home and exhibits a rude attitude, how is teacher supposed to help them?  In short, this person’s attitude doomed them to none-starting.  Analogically speaking: "I want to play football, but I am not prepared to run, walk, touch the ball or enter the pitch"; what is left? Simply stay at home.

Student 3
This student transferred to me from another teacher. In the first lesson, they refused to speak to me.  I explained to the parent that “this was a silent protest because they did not want to change teacher”.  They assured me that they are just a tad shy and will soon open up.  They never did, it was later revealed from the parent of another student that I was correct; they simply did not liked me for the reason I stated above, what’s worst they tried to convince the other student to not receive lessons with me.  In this time, this particular student (the selective mute) learned all major scales with all major and minor arpeggios, and could read Grade 1 pieces at sight.  They were ready to take their Grade 1; unfortunately, I lost patience with the arrangement and could not muster the will or energy to continue teaching a selective mute.  I am sure if they want piano lesson, they will find a suitable teacher, I am not the only teacher in the area.

Student 4
This student was a PhD in a scientific field.  Every session was met with a question to my ability to perform and teach.  They were not interested in scales, sight-reading or any technical methods that would help assimilate the repertoire they wanted to play ‘the good stuff’; this good stuff being cannon repertoire pieces that even advanced amateurs would find challenging let alone a beginner.  One said piece was to learn Chopin’s revolutionary etude, in the first six months of lessons … as a complete beginner.  I managed to talk them down from this notion, and started with something more manageable.  However, they would still question my ability to teach them.  This interaction was terminated when I was discussing tonal-quality and out of frustration they simply punched the keyboard of their brand-new 5-foot grand piano with a closed fist; my distaste was that this was not a second-hand instrument, but in fact a new instrument costing in the tens of thousands.  I stopped lessons after that as I could not tolerate them any longer.  This student believed they were above the basic tasks I set even though they could not complete them; they were unwilling to do anything.  Did I mention that they were a PhD; they told me every lesson.  “I am a PhD”, to which I would reply: “and I am hungry, let’s try again”.

---

As stated, I am not driven by money and so do not accumulate students for financial gain.  My only interest is helping my students learn how to play the piano, and do so well.  I choose to drop students who are in my opinion unteachable; as I say to them, I am not the only piano teacher that exists, if they dislike my approach, method or manner, find someone else.

Not being a teacher myself, I would say it is appropriate to drop students when a teacher no longer wants to teach.

I feel no guilt or remorse for this.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
dogperson
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 780


« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2016, 12:15:52 PM »

@Vaniii
Your detailed information about your 4 students you dropped is quite interesting-- but it is a shame that you felt like you needed to write this level of detail to defend a brief summary in your original email.  There is always underlying information in any decision that should be assumed:  the statement alone that the student did not speak for 18 months should have been enough.   Although piano  is not completely verbal, there must be verbal exchange for the lessons to have been effective.  To  endure for 18 months was, indeed, heroic.

Thanks for your clarification but it was not needed by most of us that saw the implied patience in your initial response. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
vaniii
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 241


« Reply #14 on: November 07, 2016, 12:26:51 PM »

@Vaniii
Your detailed information about your 4 students you dropped is quite interesting-- but it is a shame that you felt like you needed to write this level of detail to defend a brief summary in your original email.  There is always underlying information in any decision that should be assumed:  the statement alone that the student did not speak for 18 months should have been enough.   Although piano  is not completely verbal, there must be verbal exchange for the lessons to have been effective.  To  endure for 18 months was, indeed, heroic.

Thanks for your clarification but it was not needed by most of us that saw the implied patience in your initial response. 

I assure you, they said nothing. I am trained in none verbal communication which allowed me to use facial cues to recognise thought and expression.  This was a learning experience that I now use in all lessons.

I have to be careful; some students now believe I am a mind reader. Others dislike being probed; the disarming of the falsities can scare them. However it does allow me to get to the root of a problem quickly.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
pianoplunker
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 738


« Reply #15 on: November 07, 2016, 12:33:32 PM »

Apologies KeyPeg, but can you agree that your response would be a tad presumptuous and perhaps even a little arrogant.  Your post insinuates that you know and could do better without actually ever meeting them or interacting with them. Perhaps you could, in which case kudos to you.

I cannot go into the details of these students as it would not be professional to divulge sensitive information regarding the student’s personal information, but I can at least give you an overview without revealing said personal information.

Student 1
Took lessons for two years.  They would arrive at the session with lots of words and bravado making statements (to quote): “I want to be the best pianist ever”, and “I want to take my grade X before the end of the year”, and “I want to play like [X other student]”.  I would compile a course of study to make these goals achievable providing they practise and do what I asked in the lesson, at home.  They did not; I made the decision to stop lessons when a relatively simple study caused them trouble because they could not identify middle C on the piano or the page, after two years.  This happened at the end of tenure after two months of no practise.  Not to mention three failed performances; each time they would continue with said bravado without actually doing the work required: “I want to play in X concert”.  The problem was that they wanted to succeed, but did not want to put any effort in.  Focus here was what the student wanted rather than what they needed. They loved potato chips but refused to eat mashed potato; they cannot see the wood from the tress, that is they are essentially the same thing.

Student 2
A serial non-practiser; they did not want to practise anything I set and only wanted to play what they wanted to play.  I indulged them; however, after a series of lessons where they did nothing I asked them to, the interaction was terminated when they simply refused to play in the lesson.  No amount of cajoling, persuasion or reasoning would change their mind.  If a student refuses to participate in the lesson, refuses to rehearse at home and exhibits a rude attitude, how is teacher supposed to help them?  In short, this person’s attitude doomed them to none-starting.  Analogically speaking: "I want to play football, but I am not prepared to run, walk, touch the ball or enter the pitch"; what is left? Simply stay at home.

Student 3
This student transferred to me from another teacher. In the first lesson, they refused to speak to me.  I explained to the parent that “this was a silent protest because they did not want to change teacher”.  They assured me that they are just a tad shy and will soon open up.  They never did, it was later revealed from the parent of another student that I was correct; they simply did not liked me for the reason I stated above, what’s worst they tried to convince the other student to not receive lessons with me.  In this time, this particular student (the selective mute) learned all major scales with all major and minor arpeggios, and could read Grade 1 pieces at sight.  They were ready to take their Grade 1; unfortunately, I lost patience with the arrangement and could not muster the will or energy to continue teaching a selective mute.  I am sure if they want piano lesson, they will find a suitable teacher, I am not the only teacher in the area.

Student 4
This student was a PhD in a scientific field.  Every session was met with a question to my ability to perform and teach.  They were not interested in scales, sight-reading or any technical methods that would help assimilate the repertoire they wanted to play ‘the good stuff’; this good stuff being cannon repertoire pieces that even advanced amateurs would find challenging let alone a beginner.  One said piece was to learn Chopin’s revolutionary etude, in the first six months of lessons … as a complete beginner.  I managed to talk them down from this notion, and started with something more manageable.  However, they would still question my ability to teach them.  This interaction was terminated when I was discussing tonal-quality and out of frustration they simply punched the keyboard of their brand-new 5-foot grand piano with a closed fist; my distaste was that this was not a second-hand instrument, but in fact a new instrument costing in the tens of thousands.  I stopped lessons after that as I could not tolerate them any longer.  This student believed they were above the basic tasks I set even though they could not complete them; they were unwilling to do anything.  Did I mention that they were a PhD; they told me every lesson.  “I am a PhD”, to which I would reply: “and I am hungry, let’s try again”.

---

As stated, I am not driven by money and so do not accumulate students for financial gain.  My only interest is helping my students learn how to play the piano, and do so well.  I choose to drop students who are in my opinion unteachable; as I say to them, I am not the only piano teacher that exists, if they dislike my approach, method or manner, find someone else.

I feel no guilt or remorse for this.


No intentions of causing guilt or remorse. Just thought that teachers should know they dont have to teach.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2016, 03:51:37 PM »

Student 3
This student transferred to me from another teacher. In the first lesson, they refused to speak to me.  I explained to the parent that “this was a silent protest because they did not want to change teacher”. 

I support the right of any teacher to teach whoever they want for whatever reason.

However I find the level of resentment towards some of these students a bit troubling.  It appears they did not appreciate you enough. 

In the case of a silent student the immediate assumption of the reason, and the immediate blame of the student, is not the direction I would have gone.  When you have a student with a handicap, you have choices.  You can find a way to work around it (and improve your skills in the process) or you can move them on to somebody who has those skills - that's true for any handicap. 

A child cannot remain electively mute for 18 months unless the teacher is reinforcing it.  I suspect this child picked up your nonverbals faster than you picked up his/hers.  That was a heroic child, to suffer for 18 months. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2016, 06:00:23 PM »

Vanii, thank you for your explanations.
One thing I see is that we were talking past each other because of a different mindset.  I was looking for general policies that a teacher might apply in all cases, while you were recounting specific incidents.  For example, a policy that says "student is silent, therefore must be dropped" doesn't seen reasonable in and of itself: if "student isn't progressing" then this would have to be combined with whether the student is trying, there is an underlying not yet found cause, whether there is a hole in teaching (in which case changing teachers would be in order in any case) - or whether the student is not progressing because he is not following any instructions to get there.  But you were talking of specific incidents.
Actually thinking about this, I'd think the actual cause in each case was not a result such as "not progressing", but in each case, an underlying attitude.
The one that troubles me is the student who didn't talk because:
a) you were guessing why he wasn't talking
b) more importantly - he was progressing. Therefore he must have been doing what you assigned, in the way you assigned it.  So who cares that he isn't talking if he is doing what you are telling him, and progressing because of it?  You are teaching him to play music; not elocution.

Students 1, 2 and 4 seem to each have an attitude and the wrong expectations.  3 is different.

this too (response to dogperson) bothers me:
Quote
I assure you, they said nothing. I am trained in none verbal communication which allowed me to use facial cues to recognise thought and expression.  This was a learning experience that I now use in all lessons.
I have a teaching degree and several postgraduate specializations in teaching so I am familiar with that kind of thing.  The wisest thing is to not rely that much on this kind of training.  When I took on the role of music student, a mess was created by two teachers who thought they could "read" me, and extrapolated attitudes on me.  Among other things, there was a hostility in them due to the attitude they projected onto me, which made trying to study with them extremely uncomfortable.  It is frustrating and it is unfair.  These days I don't have patience for that kind of thing.  I want to deal with tangible and real things.  I've seen it go awry too often both wearing a teacher hat, and student hat.

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2016, 06:12:53 PM »

Here is the thing about the question:

If you look up other posts by the OP, you will find that the person asking is a student.  He had few if any opportunities to be taught until now, and finally has that opportunity.  It is normal for an older student in this situation to be afraid he isn't good enough, talented enough, isn't playing well enough for the teacher, and the huge fear that he will be dropped.  I have had this conversation with quite a few adult students privately.  The question is asked in this spirit.  And then among the "answers" we get such gems as:
- if there is failure due to lack of talent (the new person who advertised a lot recently)
- if there is little or no progress
- if the student doesn't talk
Put yourself in the shoes of a student who fears he may not be showing enough progress, that he may not have the needed talent, and who might be scared to talk in lessons.  Get it?

No, no, no - that is not why teachers drop students.  It is when the student feels superior to what he is being asked to do, has a bad arrogant attitude, does not want to practice, wants to do things his own way along ways that don't work.  As far as talent is concerned, I have heard more than one music teacher say that he would prefer an average student with diligence, than a talent student with arrogance and laziness.

In regards to "little progress".  First, a student may not think he is progressing or playing well, and thus be down on himself, while a teacher may be seeing progress in areas she finds important.  Secondly, if the student comes in with a mixed background and holes from self-teaching or having been previously poorly taught, then there may be struggles in assigned work.  In that case it is up to the teacher to address those problems.  If you simply say "He plays grade 6 pieces so he must be grade 6." then you might miss teaching fundamental things that this student never got.  In this case it is also important for the student to let the teacher know what he has not learned.  All of this works together with progress.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #19 on: November 07, 2016, 06:25:08 PM »

Here is my observation on why teachers drop students, based on reading forums, in rough order of frequency:

1.  Parents don't pay (doesn't apply here)

2.  Parents are difficult (doesn't apply here)

3.  Student is disrespectful or uncooperative (doesn't apply here)

4.  Student never practices (some teachers, not all.  doesn't apply here)

5.  Student has progressed beyond teacher's level (doesn't apply here)

6.  Student has special needs (probably doesn't apply here)

7.  Teacher specializes in high performing competitive performance major students (does not appear to be the case)

8.  Student is in a program that requires a specified amount of progress each semester to be allowed to continue, common in some music major performance college degree programs.  (unknown, question needs to be asked explicitly.) 

OP, ask your teacher the question:  Am I in danger of being dropped?  If so, what can I do to prevent this?  Explain how important it is.  I sometimes bring some fresh baked cookies before a conversation like this. 

That will remove the uncertainty.  Then you can get on with your journey.  I think you are being unnecessarily fearful. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
pianoplunker
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 738


« Reply #20 on: November 07, 2016, 07:59:25 PM »

Here is the thing about the question:

If you look up other posts by the OP, you will find that the person asking is a student.  He had few if any opportunities to be taught until now, and finally has that opportunity.  It is normal for an older student in this situation to be afraid he isn't good enough, talented enough, isn't playing well enough for the teacher, and the huge fear that he will be dropped.  I have had this conversation with quite a few adult students privately.  The question is asked in this spirit.  And then among the "answers" we get such gems as:
- if there is failure due to lack of talent (the new person who advertised a lot recently)
- if there is little or no progress
- if the student doesn't talk
Put yourself in the shoes of a student who fears he may not be showing enough progress, that he may not have the needed talent, and who might be scared to talk in lessons.  Get it?

No, no, no - that is not why teachers drop students.  It is when the student feels superior to what he is being asked to do, has a bad arrogant attitude, does not want to practice, wants to do things his own way along ways that don't work.  As far as talent is concerned, I have heard more than one music teacher say that he would prefer an average student with diligence, than a talent student with arrogance and laziness.

In regards to "little progress".  First, a student may not think he is progressing or playing well, and thus be down on himself, while a teacher may be seeing progress in areas she finds important.  Secondly, if the student comes in with a mixed background and holes from self-teaching or having been previously poorly taught, then there may be struggles in assigned work.  In that case it is up to the teacher to address those problems.  If you simply say "He plays grade 6 pieces so he must be grade 6." then you might miss teaching fundamental things that this student never got.  In this case it is also important for the student to let the teacher know what he has not learned.  All of this works together with progress.

Based on what you typed here, I would take piano lessons from you any time I am ready. You seem to understand me as a student.  Seriously
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
vaniii
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 241


« Reply #21 on: November 07, 2016, 08:50:26 PM »

I support the right of any teacher to teach whoever they want for whatever reason.

However I find the level of resentment towards some of these students a bit troubling.  It appears they did not appreciate you enough. 

In the case of a silent student the immediate assumption of the reason, and the immediate blame of the student, is not the direction I would have gone.  When you have a student with a handicap, you have choices.  You can find a way to work around it (and improve your skills in the process) or you can move them on to somebody who has those skills - that's true for any handicap. 

A child cannot remain electively mute for 18 months unless the teacher is reinforcing it.  I suspect this child picked up your nonverbals faster than you picked up his/hers.  That was a heroic child, to suffer for 18 months. 

This child would freely talk to people around me, but would ignore any prompting given by me.  It was selective; they were a very bright young person.  I simply chose to teach them regardless of any difficulties in the session; I saw it as a learning experience.  Alas, I relented when I could not take it further.

Teaching is exhausted at the best of times; simply put, giving.  Teaching a student who is being wilfully malicious because they did not want to change teacher is an uphill struggle that few could have bare load to.

As I stated, by sacking a student does not mean I fail as teacher, but admitted defeat; why soldier on with a futile relationship out of pride?


Here is the thing about the question:

If you look up other posts by the OP, you will find that the person asking is a student.  He had few if any opportunities to be taught until now, and finally has that opportunity.  It is normal for an older student in this situation to be afraid he isn't good enough, talented enough, isn't playing well enough for the teacher, and the huge fear that he will be dropped.  I have had this conversation with quite a few adult students privately.  The question is asked in this spirit.  And then among the "answers" we get such gems as:
- if there is failure due to lack of talent (the new person who advertised a lot recently)
- if there is little or no progress
- if the student doesn't talk
Put yourself in the shoes of a student who fears he may not be showing enough progress, that he may not have the needed talent, and who might be scared to talk in lessons.  Get it?

No, no, no - that is not why teachers drop students.  It is when the student feels superior to what he is being asked to do, has a bad arrogant attitude, does not want to practice, wants to do things his own way along ways that don't work.  As far as talent is concerned, I have heard more than one music teacher say that he would prefer an average student with diligence, than a talent student with arrogance and laziness.

In regards to "little progress".  First, a student may not think he is progressing or playing well, and thus be down on himself, while a teacher may be seeing progress in areas she finds important.  Secondly, if the student comes in with a mixed background and holes from self-teaching or having been previously poorly taught, then there may be struggles in assigned work.  In that case it is up to the teacher to address those problems.  If you simply say "He plays grade 6 pieces so he must be grade 6." then you might miss teaching fundamental things that this student never got.  In this case it is also important for the student to let the teacher know what he has not learned.  All of this works together with progress.

I agree with what you have elaborated and since said.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #22 on: November 07, 2016, 09:15:35 PM »

This child would freely talk to people around me, but would ignore any prompting given by me.  It was selective; they were a very bright young person.  I simply chose to teach them regardless of any difficulties in the session; I saw it as a learning experience.  Alas, I relented when I could not take it further.



I find that completely incomprehensible (and I've spent a number of years working with difficult children.)

I think you have totally misread the situation.

A child stayed mad for 18 months?  That just doesn't happen.  Ever.  Not possible. 

Teaching requires making a connection to the student.  You had 18 months to do that, and never succeeded?  I suspect this child remained mystified for 18 months as to why you didn't like him.

A child can have a condition that makes talking in some circumstances difficult or impossible.  But if that were true you wouldn't be able to blame him for being willful or malicious, would you? 

At least you must have asked some colleagues for advice on how to reach this child?   
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
vaniii
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 241


« Reply #23 on: November 07, 2016, 10:41:16 PM »

I find that completely incomprehensible (and I've spent a number of years working with difficult children.)

I think you have totally misread the situation.

A child stayed mad for 18 months?  That just doesn't happen.  Ever.  Not possible. 

Teaching requires making a connection to the student.  You had 18 months to do that, and never succeeded?  I suspect this child remained mystified for 18 months as to why you didn't like him.

A child can have a condition that makes talking in some circumstances difficult or impossible.  But if that were true you wouldn't be able to blame him for being willful or malicious, would you? 

At least you must have asked some colleagues for advice on how to reach this child?

With all due respect, I have given all the information I have, and you have drawn your own conclusions.  Please remember, you were not there, and can only speculate based on your own knowledge and bias.

I promise you, this child refused to talk to me for 18 months.  They would speak to my wife, would speak to their mother and father.  They would talk to my other students, but, would not speak or respond to me.

I have been teaching long enough to know it is pointless to get mad at a student; I was not mad and simply taught them anyway.  All we can do is be patient and hope they come around; this particular student did not.  As I stated, I waited to see if I could bring them round, but they continued refused to speak to me.

I found out from another student’s parent that the muted child tried to instruct their child not to have lessons with me.  The child they were trying to convinced found it strange and so consulted their mother.  The mother then informed me that they were not the ‘best of influences’ to put it lightly.

To say it did not happen because you perhaps have not experienced it is flawed logic.  I have never been to space but don’t refuse that someone might have.

Yes, I asked colleagues; they all unanimously said, you don’t have to teach them, to which I agreed and eventually relented.  This student does not define me, they are one student in as previously mentioned two decades worth of teaching piano; I have never encounter anything like it either.  Nonetheless, it was a useful learning experience.

If you want to discuss this further PM me, this topic of conversation is pushing the thread main off topic.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #24 on: November 08, 2016, 01:15:30 AM »

Vanii, you are right that your specific incidences are pushing it off topic.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
mishamalchik
PS Silver Member
Jr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 86


« Reply #25 on: November 08, 2016, 01:39:15 AM »

In response to this mysterious 18 month vow of silence I suppose it's possible, especially for a "bright" student... Never underestimate the stubbornness of children and students! We can be quite vindictive, though it does beg the question of why the parents had the child leave the previous teacher; they were clearly quite attached.

Having talked to my teacher and one of my academic advisors, this now seems like a silly concern. My teacher has agreed to work with me on a Beethoven Sonata, and while it's on the easier side of them (Opus 49 no 2), there's only 1 week left in this term, so he's going to be working with me at least one more term!

My academic advisor simply stated that if more students audition than there are spots for teaching then it's clear that he chose me specifically and for a reason. Even if I don't know what the reason is, in my interactions with him it's clear that he does nothing without thought, so I've decided to drop the imposter syndrome I'm feeling. It's dragging me down. For as long as he continues to meet with me I deserve my space in his studio, and I'm going to own that space until the moment he tells me explicitly that I am not welcome. Even then, I'm going to send him a follow-up email (harassment) each term about auditions.... For probably much longer than 18 months.... Smiley

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #26 on: November 08, 2016, 02:34:51 AM »


Having talked to my teacher and one of my academic advisors, this now seems like a silly concern.




Good for you!  That can't have been easy.  I'm very glad it worked out so well. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #27 on: November 08, 2016, 02:41:39 AM »

This student does not define me, they are one student in as previously mentioned two decades worth of teaching piano; I have never encounter anything like it either. 


Please understand, I don't think you are a bad teacher.  I've read some of your other posts; your musical knowledge is impressive indeed, and you are normally level headed.

I do think you erred with this particular student, for whatever reason.  The tone of resentment in your posts is unmistakable even after all this time - you blame them not intellectually but emotionally.  Hopefully you won't run into another one who affects you this way, or if you do you'll come here for help.  There are some of us who are pretty good at the personal side of the teaching connection, even if we don't have the technical piano knowledge you do.  keypeg is one, with her experiences and history;  I'm another one, though an engineer now in a previous career I did a masters in Clinical Psychology and worked many years in psychiatric hospitals. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
outin
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 7418


« Reply #28 on: November 08, 2016, 05:15:27 AM »

  I'm another one, though an engineer now in a previous career I did a masters in Clinical Psychology and worked many years in psychiatric hospitals. 
In that case you should be aware that there are exceptional people, even young children. A child can be manipulative and very intelligent and have a very consistent logic of his own that is incomprehensive to an outsider. Kids like this don't necessarily have any respect for adults who try to be friendly or helpful with them. No, I don't think the child was mad for 18 months, but not talking to the teacher was somehow gratifying to him, so he decided to continue it. Maybe he was playing a game of his own, which the teacher could not understand or address.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

My summer projects: Scarlatti K87, K466, K109, Scriabin op74 preludes, Chopin Waltz 69-2 and Berceuse. And just exploring more music...
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #29 on: November 08, 2016, 12:57:16 PM »

No, I don't think the child was mad for 18 months, but not talking to the teacher was somehow gratifying to him, so he decided to continue it. Maybe he was playing a game of his own, which the teacher could not understand or address.

There was an interaction here, between a child and an adult.

If we assume that this was voluntary on the part of the child, which does remain in some doubt, then the child controlled the interaction.  For 18 months of misery on both sides. 

The reason this continued is that the adult never became aware enough of his own emotional reaction to own it and become proactive.  The adult's behavior towards the child went a long way to maintaining that behavior for 18 months.  Did he really come into lesson after lesson thinking I'm going to do the exact same thing, but somehow I'll get different results?

The more general idea here, off topic but I think important, is what a teacher does when they don't like a student. 

Teaching is not just knowing technique and repertoire.  It requires a connection, a relationship between teacher and student.  Disliking a child makes that difficult but not impossible - but it is only possible with conscious awareness.  IMO.  When you end up not making a connection, either you pass the child on to somebody else, or you figure out why, and fix it.  An adult in a one-on-one relationship with a child has enormous power, if you remain in charge, and in control of yourself. 

Long ago I worked in a university counseling clinic, and I had a client come in who could not talk in sessions.  Pretty hard to do talk therapy when they don't talk!  Sometimes they can't when emotions are flooding through.   Checking the notes, she'd seen another counselor first, someone who was pretty confident in and proud of her skills, but didn't get her to talk.  The notes showed clear anger on the part of the counselor over the client's "resistance."  But you have to understand, college students wear their hearts on their sleeves, a raised eyebrow is usually enough to make them spill their innermost feelings.  It's not like working with the more usual clients in other settings where you have to work.  Anyway, I had her write instead of talk and we worked through her issues with some good results.  I could only come up with that strategy because I wasn't upset AT her.  The other counselor could have done the same but wasn't aware of her own feelings getting in the way. . 

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
reiyza
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 221


« Reply #30 on: November 17, 2016, 02:11:29 AM »


1, when two years passed and they had learned nothing.


My first teacher quit me due to this, replace two years with 6 months.

Now I see some of my previous teacher's dilemma about students.

I hate it when teachers prefer the "talented" ones, then badmouthing the less talented ones then dropping them. FML.Sad
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

K.281 3rd Mov - Noct. No 20. in C#m - Some bach inventions. - Waltz 64 No. 2.
vaniii
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 241


« Reply #31 on: November 17, 2016, 01:49:31 PM »

My first teacher quit me due to this, replace two years with 6 months.

Now I see some of my previous teacher's dilemma about students.

I hate it when teachers prefer the "talented" ones, then badmouthing the less talented ones then dropping them. FML.Sad

I must reply directly to this.

Talent is a myth; it is also used as an excuse to give people who do not work hard as an excuse as to why they are unsuccessful in their endeavors.  A good teacher should know this as it comes down to  whether or not a student is rehearsing efficiently.

If your first teacher stopped lessons with you, it could be for a host of reasons that you might have not considered.

If they did not directly say to you: "I am stopping lessons with you because you have no talent", you might have extrapolated this reason; likely it might simply be because they could not help you for whatever their reasons.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #32 on: November 17, 2016, 03:06:13 PM »



I hate it when teachers prefer the "talented" ones, then badmouthing the less talented ones then dropping them. FML.Sad

Other things being equal, teachers do tend to prefer the more successful students.  Calling them talented is not really a useful classification since success depends on so many factors, of which talent may be a small factor if it even exists at all. 

Knowing WHY you did not progress as fast as his other students would be very useful to you as you your learning.  Length of practice and efficiency of practice are naturally going to be the first things to look at.  Age can contribute as well, in a couple of ways.  Older students tend to be slower, though there are exceptions;  they also can be resistant to the teacher's methods.  The latter can get you fired even if you are making progress.

Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #33 on: November 18, 2016, 12:42:42 AM »

I must reply directly to this.

Talent is a myth; it is also used as an excuse to give people who do not work hard as an excuse as to why they are unsuccessful in their endeavors.  A good teacher should know this as it comes down to  whether or not a student is rehearsing efficiently.
Talent can also be used as an excuse by people who call themselves teachers who teach ineffectively.  Anyone who doesn't succeed through their methods "lack talent" because the method can't be faulty.  (I know of one teacher who would talk about her or his students in that manner).
Quote
likely it might simply be because they could not help you for whatever their reasons.
Agree - but then the student should not be dropped.  Another teacher who does have the ability to help in whatever area should be found (imho).
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
dogperson
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 780


« Reply #34 on: November 18, 2016, 12:53:33 AM »

Talent can also be used as an excuse by people who call themselves teachers who teach ineffectively.  Anyone who doesn't succeed through their methods "lack talent" because the method can't be faulty.  (I know of one teacher who would talk about her or his students in that manner).Agree - but then the student should not be dropped.  Another teacher who does have the ability to help in whatever area should be found (imho).


You should read Timothy's post:  as a student, you should ask yourself what you could have done better or what you didn't do. A little introspection is needed.  In addition, did the teacher really say they were dropping you because you weren't talented?  Doubtful indeed. 

Yes, it could possibly be the teacher who was ineffective....  but to assume it was  limits our own growth and potential..   If anyone were to be dropped due to lack of talent, i would have been without a teacher many years ago. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #35 on: November 18, 2016, 01:17:33 AM »

I did read Timothy's post.  I also read the reiyza's post and there were was a clue:
Quote
then badmouthing the less talented ones then dropping them.
We know nothing about Reiyza or the teacher or the other students.  However I did see that behaviour of badmouthing and dropping twice, with two teachers.  I studied with one briefly, and the other was a fellow student I helped who eventually found a good teacher.  What I wrote does exist.  Talent as an excuse can exist both among students and teachers

Timothy's post included:
Quote
Knowing WHY you did not progress as fast as his other students would be very useful to you as you your learning.  Length of practice and efficiency of practice are naturally going to be the first things to look at. 
How does a student find out why he did not progress quickly - or why other students progressed quickly - or even what progress might mean?  Of course I agree with efficiency of practice.  But now ... with a good teacher, you will already know why you didn't do well - because your teacher will have told you.  If, otoh, you have not been taught how to practice efficiently or how to overcome problems, then something is missing.

Both Timothy and Vanii talked about working hard, or length of time practising.  If you are given poor or ineffective instructions, then that hard work and lengthy practice can actually entrench problems and make things worse.  Obviously if a student spent 10 minutes/week practising, then he will know that is the problem.  But such a student also would not think his failure is due to lack of talent, because clearly he hasn't practised.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
lostinidlewonder
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 5213


« Reply #36 on: November 18, 2016, 02:21:49 AM »

In my entire career of teaching (20+ years) I have never dropped a student. There are those who don't improve for a long period of time and I don't care because each person has their own personal reasons why it is difficult to improve. Some reasons are none of my business but have been revealed after a while and from my experience even though 9/10 of these cases end up quitting anyway you do get through to that one and it can change their perspective on their own life.

I actually like teaching students who are unmotivated because I enjoy piano music always, if they don't enjoy it at least I do ahah! It is also a challenge for me to excite them to learn piano.  It is a good lesson for some kids to learn that we often have to do things in life we don't necessarily want to do, even if they don't enjoy piano they can learn discipline through it and that has further reaching effects than just learning music.

I guess the only reason why I would drop a student is if they avoid paying me my fees! But I'll break their thumbs if they do that.... lol
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/
outin
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 7418


« Reply #37 on: November 18, 2016, 04:57:14 AM »

In my entire career of teaching (20+ years) I have never dropped a student. There are those who don't improve for a long period of time and I don't care because each person has their own personal reasons why it is difficult to improve. Some reasons are none of my business but have been revealed after a while and from my experience even though 9/10 of these cases end up quitting anyway you do get through to that one and it can change their perspective on their own life.

I actually like teaching students who are unmotivated because I enjoy piano music always, if they don't enjoy it at least I do ahah! It is also a challenge for me to excite them to learn piano.  It is a good lesson for some kids to learn that we often have to do things in life we don't necessarily want to do, even if they don't enjoy piano they can learn discipline through it and that has further reaching effects than just learning music.

I guess the only reason why I would drop a student is if they avoid paying me my fees! But I'll break their thumbs if they do that.... lol

That's the right attitude! Smiley

Classical music making at some point became far too serious and the attitudes of some teachers still reflect that. Now that far more adults are getting back to it there's demand for teachers who can see the benefits of more casual learning path. It's like sports: You don't tell people to stop running because they don't want to/cannot become competitive runners. But if you're a coach with the goal of producing winners you have no use for someone who clearly won't.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

My summer projects: Scarlatti K87, K466, K109, Scriabin op74 preludes, Chopin Waltz 69-2 and Berceuse. And just exploring more music...
timothy42b
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2984


« Reply #38 on: November 18, 2016, 01:16:15 PM »

keypeg does make a good point.

My advice to analyze why you didn't progress, looking at your own actions first, is irrelevant if you ended up with a bad teacher. 

And they do exist.  So it may not always easy to assess where the problems lie, with you or him. It can even be both. 

I had a conversation with one of the more famous brass teachers and asked him if he thought older adults could "succeed."  He said he thought they could but they usually don't, because they usually won't do what he tells them. 
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

Tim
dogperson
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 780


« Reply #39 on: November 18, 2016, 01:25:27 PM »

keypeg does make a good point.

My advice to analyze why you didn't progress, looking at your own actions first, is irrelevant if you ended up with a bad teacher. 

And they do exist.  So it may not always easy to assess where the problems lie, with you or him. It can even be both. 

I had a conversation with one of the more famous brass teachers and asked him if he thought older adults could "succeed."  He said he thought they could but they usually don't, because they usually won't do what he tells them. 

Yes, you may have a 'bad teacher', or you may decide 'he dropped me because I am not talented' as a defense mechanism that stops you from doing introspection and taking personal responsibility.  Indeed, it is easy and comforting for all of us to jump to a conclusion, and not assume partial or full responsibility,  whether we are talking about piano or other things in life. introspection can help uncover if it is you, him or both.  IMHO, a step that should not be skipped,  even as you move to another teacher. 

We really don't know much about the OP and the situation, so my comments are in a general sense: when something like this happens to you, take a minute to reflect.  I believe that was your original post which somehow morphed.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
reiyza
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 221


« Reply #40 on: November 18, 2016, 01:37:09 PM »

I also read the reiyza's post and there were was a clue:We know nothing about Reiyza or the teacher or the other students. 

Not actually, you have been present in my earlier threads providing excellent advice, I thank you for that. Though, I understand that situations cannot be described by mere replies in forums.

Long story short.
1st Teacher Dropped me : unknown reasons, just went AWOL on me, but he did favor other students that are good as far as I remember.
2nd Teacher Considering to Drop me : I dropped him first, he treated me as a conservatory student, and expects too highly of my abilities, gives pieces waaaaayyy too advanced.

Quote
Knowing WHY you did not progress as fast as his other students would be very useful to you as you your learning.  Length of practice and efficiency of practice are naturally going to be the first things to look at.  Age can contribute as well, in a couple of ways.  Older students tend to be slower, though there are exceptions;  they also can be resistant to the teacher's methods.  The latter can get you fired even if you are making progress.

Speaking as a student here, I did not notice where did I go wrong. And none of them told me what was wrong. I come to our session, play czerny etudes/assigned pieces, telling me to do this and that but they seldom demonstrate how to. Then after the session, assigns me 3 czerny etudes and 2 hannon pages to be presented next week, almost note perfect and at tempo or at least near it. I tried my best but sometimes I figure, I couldn't keep up with what they expect of me. Maybe that led to the dismay of my teachers?

Maybe the problem really is the "Adult student" reluctant to follow the advice of the teacher?

Quote
If you are given poor or ineffective instructions, then that hard work and lengthy practice can actually entrench problems and make things worse.  Obviously if a student spent 10 minutes/week practising, then he will know that is the problem.  But such a student also would not think his failure is due to lack of talent, because clearly he hasn't practised.

This is exactly what my problem is... Both of them told me to practice this and that. And no clear instruction was given, demonstrated a little concept like "rotation" and "rhythms", but never did they explain why it was needed in the first place. And always emphasized slow practice, because they told me, as long as I can play the piece perfectly @ slow tempo, Overtime, The pieces will get faster and faster due to neuron development(?).
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

K.281 3rd Mov - Noct. No 20. in C#m - Some bach inventions. - Waltz 64 No. 2.
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #41 on: November 18, 2016, 01:48:59 PM »

keypeg does make a good point.

My advice to analyze why you didn't progress, looking at your own actions first, is irrelevant if you ended up with a bad teacher. 

And they do exist.  So it may not always easy to assess where the problems lie, with you or him. It can even be both. 

I had a conversation with one of the more famous brass teachers and asked him if he thought older adults could "succeed."  He said he thought they could but they usually don't, because they usually won't do what he tells them. 
Timothy, your earlier advice was anything but invalid - it was important advice.  I was simply tempering it because I've seen the other side, and it can be dastardly.  And yes, it can be an awful mix of a bit of either.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #42 on: November 18, 2016, 02:02:28 PM »

Yes, you may have a 'bad teacher', or you may decide 'he dropped me because I am not talented' as a defense mechanism that stops you from doing introspection and taking personal responsibility.  Indeed, it is easy and comforting for all of us to jump to a conclusion, and not assume partial or full responsibility,  whether we are talking about piano or other things in life. introspection can help uncover if it is you, him or both.  IMHO, a step that should not be skipped,  even as you move to another teacher. 
Yes, the introspection is important.
I will offer an important caveat, having been in a situation myself, the first time I ever had lessons and thus not knowing what to expect, nor what is ok to communicate.  That is, folks who start lessons as adults may have too great a respect for the teacher, combined with self-effacement and self doubt.  If something seems wrong, it must be himself, never the teacher.  If misgivings crop up, he feels guilty and quashes it.  Also - when there is a problem he doesn't communicate it, since that is "being a bad student" and "appearing critical".  With the lack of knowledge and lack of experience, you are operating in a kind of fog.

For a student who is struggling and confused, the first step may actually be that of finding out about learning on that instrument.  You have to get a perspective before you can assess anything.  That in itself is fraught with danger, because what information that you find is good, and what is bad?  It's a tricky situation to be in.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
dogperson
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 780


« Reply #43 on: November 18, 2016, 02:19:39 PM »

Reiya:
It is difficult for all of us, as adult students, to say to a teacher 'I don't understand: show me', and 'show me again', 'let me try that, is it right'?   AND 'I do practice at home, but maybe we can slow down the amount of material so that I understand it better'?   

Very difficult, indeed...  but maybe that is the lesson you can take from these two teachers?   
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #44 on: November 18, 2016, 02:41:27 PM »

I went back and scanned through your posts from the beginning to get an idea.  Comments continuing under quote.
Not actually, you have been present in my earlier threads providing excellent advice, I thank you for that. Though, I understand that situations cannot be described by mere replies in forums.

Long story short.
1st Teacher Dropped me : unknown reasons, ....
2nd Teacher Considering to Drop me : I dropped him first, he treated me as a conservatory student, and expects too highly of my abilities, gives pieces waaaaayyy too advanced.

Speaking as a student here, I did not notice where did I go wrong. And none of them told me what was wrong. I come to our session, play czerny etudes/assigned pieces, telling me to do this and that but they seldom demonstrate how to. Then after the session, assigns me 3 czerny etudes and 2 hannon pages to be presented next week, almost note perfect and at tempo or at least near it. I tried my best but sometimes I figure, I couldn't keep up with what they expect of me. Maybe that led to the dismay of my teachers?
..........
This is exactly what my problem is... Both of them told me to practice this and that. And no clear instruction was given, demonstrated a little concept like "rotation" and "rhythms", but never did they explain why it was needed in the first place.
Your background actually goes further back than this, and this important.  You were first taught by your grandfather for I think many years as a child, and you listed a certain type of traditional repertoire of pieces and etudes.  Starting lessons years later, having a background of any kind, right away creates complications.  I listened to your Inventions - super crisp, ultra fast.  The new teacher will hear what you can do, will have a list of the level of pieces you have, and you're slotted into "grade level x" to be taught "from that point forward".  Unless you had superb expert teaching and a good attitude to it as a child, which is rare, this doesn't go well.
In my own background, as a child I had self-taught piano using books passed on from my grandmother, which were sonatinas and Czerny above all.  I had no piano for decades, and my first ever lessons were on a new instrument, violin.  My sense of music was quite developed in some senses and so it went fast grade-wise - what was missing stayed missing.  Whatever happened in those violin lessons taught me what I'd need in any other lessons.
So I got a piano again after 35 years, after that.  My conclusion was that anything I learned before might be wrong or poorish, and I have to get at any basics anywhere that were missing.  I avoided a couple of teachers who wanted me to "feel the music" and such - I could already do that part.  I have been extremely fortunate in the teacher I bumped into who has been my teacher for a number of years.  He is able to navigate between my different "levels" - the abilities and the disabilities.  I chose to go to the most basic pieces at the very beginning, and relearn anything that needed to be relearned.  At the same time, there is advanced music.  Anything that I may have learned, I don't take for granted - there may be different better perspectives.
When you are slotted into a "level" - therefore these traditional pieces and etudes, which must be played according to these standards - that doesn't work.  And a teacher who inherits you along those premises doesn't know how to teach you.  If you are like I was, then you are not at any level anywhere - you present with your mixed up background, and it's not pieces but sets of skills that are the priority.
I can guess things just through the music you shared I think in 2010.  I am NOT a teacher - I'm a student - but my teacher has also taught me a lot about pedagogy, and also the transfer students he gets.  Along with the repertoire from your grandfather, I'm guessing that you were taught the old fashioned way; maybe you had the curved hand taught, and a more fingery playing.  In the 2010 sound files, the Inventions and (Czerny? I forget what else I heard) are metronomic-precise.  That same technique totally falls apart in the romantic piece back then, as it would.  I can see why the teachers talked about rotation and such.  But things like rotation are also not formulas, and can be taught that way.  And can you work your way into it through advanced romantic repertoire - I would think not. ... What you learned as a child will have given you skills, and may also have boxed you in in certain places, and may have left you with holes in fundamental things - or skills that suit one kind of playing and not another.  A teacher who takes you on -- in my opinion -- should be aiming to tackle that, rather than going through repertoire levels in the old fashioned traditional way.  You first have to be aware of this, and be willing to do the work.  It is grueling, difficult, and at times can feel unrewarding.  I'm doing baby pieces at times.  I got stuck for 6 weeks on "Oh When the Saints Go Marching In" which the kiddies play in their fourth month or so, because my arm spasmed at the repeat chords, and I wanted to find out what kinds of movements were needed which I wasn't doing.  The thing I reached with Saints carried me in all my playing afterward.
One thing I can recommend to you is to follow -- and work with -- every single video in this series by PianoOlogist.  It is about learning to know how your body functions, and at the piano, and coordinated together, and then basic fundamental motions you get at the piano.  There is no formula saying "move like this at this time" - just getting aware.  It may open new doors for you.
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL21598D1259C2C8EE
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
nastassja
PS Gold Member
Jr. Member
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 31


« Reply #45 on: July 18, 2017, 12:56:46 PM »

I support the right of any teacher to teach whoever they want for whatever reason.

However I find the level of resentment towards some of these students a bit troubling.  It appears they did not appreciate you enough.  

In the case of a silent student the immediate assumption of the reason, and the immediate blame of the student, is not the direction I would have gone.  When you have a student with a handicap, you have choices.  You can find a way to work around it (and improve your skills in the process) or you can move them on to somebody who has those skills - that's true for any handicap.  

A child cannot remain electively mute for 18 months unless the teacher is reinforcing it.  I suspect this child picked up your nonverbals faster than you picked up his/hers.  That was a heroic child, to suffer for 18 months.  

Hi!

I have had a couple of selective mute students in the past. It never really bothered me much (in some cultures, "quiet" children are seen as respectful and even though they don't speak, they can easily demonstrate what is understood and what is not).

But I don't think it is either the teacher's fault or the student's fault. However, since it is "selective", I can understand that some people might be frustrated (and view the mutism as a whim) or wonder whether someone is to blame (a bad teacher, overprotective parents or siblings...).

Selective mutism is actually classified as an anxiety disorder, it is the "failure to speak in specific contexts where speech is typically expected, despite hearing and speaking in other contexts"*.


From my experience selective mutes do not stay mute forever. And if they do stay mute for a couple of years, I like your idea to "work your way around it".

-One of my students was mute for 2 years with all adults surrounding him (even teachers), he only talked to 1 classmate after the end of his first year. After 2 years, he can now talk to me Smiley  Still doesn't speak much, but he is not mute anymore.

- Another one is still mute but since he talks in his mom's presence, the mother figured something out: she records her son's performance and comments on camera, gives me the USB key, this way I know where my student is at. I also know that he is interested in his classes (you can tell whether someone is interested or bored in an activity, no matter how little he/she talks).

So... let's not assume the student has been "suffering" with this teacher for 18 months (unless the teacher actually pressured the student to speak or the piano was too loud or the pieces were not interesting enough  Tongue in either case, we don't know). From what the poster has said, the student talks with everyone after his class so if he were unhappy, someone would have noticed and his parents wouldn't have kept the same teacher for months (especially if they didn't like him at the beginning).


* https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2861522/  Interesting article about selective mutism.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
hardy_practice
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 1542


« Reply #46 on: July 18, 2017, 02:13:01 PM »

When they stop paying.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged

B Mus, PGCE, DipABRSM
wkmt
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 108


« Reply #47 on: July 20, 2017, 04:00:57 PM »

I have been looking at the various adverts, and this is the first concrete thing I've seen.  The response makes me uncomfortable.
1.  If there is no progress, then the first thing that is done in good teaching, is to see the cause of that lack of progress.  I'd also want to know what is meant by "progress".  This in itself is an important question.
2.  For anyone in the field of teaching to juxtapose the idea of "talent", that to me is a red flag.
3.  Before answering, did you look at the asker's previous posts in order to get a feel for who is asking and why?  You are responding to a student who is in a particular circumstance.  The answer I see here could potentially do harm or discourage.

I honestly see no harm in honesty. I've personally been treated even cruelly by my teachers some times but after a while, I held no resentment. There is nothing more difficult for a teacher than telling a student what they don't want to hear.

I want to emphasise the fact that I only had to do it once in my entire teaching career, I would never take this lightly. At the same time I do think that in some very rare cases discouragement might be necessary to give the student the freedom needed to make a better choice...
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
keypeg
PS Silver Member
Sr. Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 2882


« Reply #48 on: July 20, 2017, 07:10:34 PM »

wkmt, I tried to emphasize the idea of "why" is the student not making progress.  This is very important.  It can be because the student does not want to study piano, is being forced to do so by parents, and therefore does not practice.  In that case, letting the student go is like releasing a caged bird to freedom.  But it can also be because the student has not been taught basic skills in a way that he can build those skills and then rely on them.  Everything else thereafter becomes a house built on sand, in a constant state of collapse.  Those skills include knowing how to practice.
If a student lacks skills because of some breakdown in teaching, and is let go, then the student will feel like a failure and that it is impossible for him to learn.  That is a tragedy, and unfair.  This probably happens more often than one would like to think.
If a student does want to learn to play piano, but believes in the fiction of a magical "talent" to transport him, or is fearful at each failure (which is a normal part of the learning process) that he is flawed in some way, then despair sets in if he is let go.  Here guidance is the key.
Quote
I want to emphasise the fact that I only had to do it once in my entire teaching career, I would never take this lightly.
This is important, extremely so.  Smiley
In all cases except for the recalcitrant student who doesn't want to study piano, or the arrogant student who thinks he is too good to need to practice, getting at the root of the problem is the first step.
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
wkmt
PS Silver Member
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 108


« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2017, 09:31:19 AM »

In all cases except for the recalcitrant student who doesn't want to study piano, or the arrogant student who thinks he is too good to need to practice, getting at the root of the problem is the first step.

Finding the root of the pedagogical problem is indeed the most important challenge we face as teachers. That makes as a departure from formulaic approaches and set our imagination to fly. Hard? very Fun? A lot! Well at least for those like us who like teaching Wink
Do you find this post useful? Yes / No
Logged
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up
  Print  


Need more info or help?


Search pianostreet.com - the web's largest resource of information about piano playing:



 
Jump to:  


Most popular classical piano composers:
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!

o