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Master Class with Leon Fleisher: The Late Schubert Sonatas

Filmed during a Professional Training Workshop in New York, Franz Schubert’s late piano sonatas come to life in this performance guide that includes video clips, written commentary, and an animated score, allowing the user to simultaneously watch Mr. Fleisher teach from the keyboard and study the notated music. Select any combination of 24 separate video clips from six categories to build your own tailor-made video master class from a range of topics. Read more >>

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Author Topic: Teaching Friends  (Read 307 times)
ameliatan
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« on: August 18, 2017, 03:09:33 AM »

Dear Teachers,

Does the term ‘Do not lend $$ to friends or you lose both’ apply to piano teaching? In other words, do not teach your friends or their children, or you will lose both  Embarrassed

I have a close friend who is interested in her kids learning piano and asked me what my rates are. I told her frankly and we are going to start next month.

She is an old friend of mine, since my school days and we grew up together. We were even roommates for a while, so I know her good and bad habits. We meet up once in a while, and laugh about our old days. She is very jovial and life of the party. I am the complete opposite, serious and ‘stay home’ type

So far, I have never had problems teaching casual friends or even work colleagues. I am pretty open to them about their progress, and so far so good.

One part of me says to just teach and enjoy, another says I shouldn’t. I encouraged her to learn piano also, and she seems pretty interested. Can any of you share experiences (good or bad) teaching your friends and/or their children?’ Are there any pitfalls to watch out for? Any advice is appreciated! 
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themeandvariation
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2017, 03:40:13 AM »

Treat them they same way you would treat others in the lesson.. (don't encourage meandering  off topic - in chit chat - as friends do…
Be friendly, (but not too much Wink.. If it 'takes' with them or not, is up to them.. (They obviously shouldn't continue if it is not woking for them, Even if they are your friends..
One thing is, you might offer them a discount from your normal pricing.. but i would be strict about receiving payment..
I have taught many families, adults and their children, who were/are friends..
(One though must maintain a professional observation of how it's going.. and be able to let it go if it is not working for them… And if that's the case, it will probably be You who will have to bring that up.. as one would do with any student.
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j_tour
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« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2017, 10:36:18 PM »

I don't know -- I've taught for money plenty of friends/acquaintances.  They've always had a specific thing they wanted me to show them, and it's always been fine and fun.  ETA, if it matters, these have always been musicians of some sort, which is how I knew them.  More than a few bassists, for example, have been really into learning how to do the rolling/sliding RH figurations for blues type stuff, like, I don't know, "Iko Iko" and that kind of thing.  And at least one guitarist has told me after an impromptu "job" -- "man, it seems like you have like a million different turnaround for blues -- we just do one in guitar," so that led into just a one-off thing.  Not predatory money-grubbing, just like "meh, yeah, duh, bring some beer or cash and I can show you all that in like two minutes."  Word gets around and all of a sudden you're "that guy" who can show people stuff and not be a dick about it.

Then there's a separate category of friends who really insisted on doing it strictly professional, as in:  you teach me from rudiments up to, say, some Chopin piece they wanted to do.  Also fine, in my experience, just a little bit out of the ordinary.

Then there's relatives (cousins, nieces, nephews) who are little kids, and then, I just say no, if they want to learn, they need to find a real teacher who knows how to teach little kids.  But in all of those cases, I enjoy just "teaching" them the same way older people taught me when I was a little kid -- just play some stuff, improvised music, and if they like some of it, I'll just sort of break it down into an easier way for kids to go off on their own.  For example, if they like some riff/groove in Db or Ab, it's easy to just do a simplified version in, like C or something, and then they can get their ears used to it on their own.  Or, show basic things about how to read/decipher some music in notation.

Meh, I don't know -- seems to work out fine.
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clouseau
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« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2017, 03:18:02 AM »

Hello Ameliatan,

if you are reluctant to accept money from a friend, you can make a friendlier price. Otherwise, I believe it is a great privilege to know your student personally. That allows you to get your points across more effectively and might also be very interesting for you as a teacher as well.

I used to teach a friend of mine, and he taught me some drawing instead (that was his payment). It was learning and having fun at the same time. Because the teacher-student relationship was not so pronounced, he used to challenge me a lot, like "what is a major scale, did it come from outer space?", or "why sharps and flats and not just sharps?" which in turn made me think again about the teaching material in a more fundamental way and essentially understand it better myself.

Still, I had to remind myself often to apply the same teaching principles I would normally do, because with a friend it is very easy to stop seeing him/her as a student.  So, basically in that one hour, your perception of your friend might has to shift a little. You are the boss in that one hour, so you have to take initiative and decide what to do, and be confident with your teaching material (even if you have to fake it sometimes imao)
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"What the devil do you mean to sing to me, priest? You are out of tune." - Rameau
timothy42b
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2017, 07:25:59 PM »



 She is very jovial and life of the party. I am the complete opposite, serious and ‘stay home’ type


Red flag, here. 

It might work out.

But just as likely, she isn't going to make the progress she expects.  She'll realize she took on more than she wanted.  But because you're a friend she'll stay, getting more and more miserable; she won't want to disappoint you. 

I would be very alert to this potential dynamic. 
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Tim
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