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Hollywood Greats Explore the Piano

Grammy-winning pianist Gloria Cheng invited some of the most prominent film composers of today to write new music for solo piano. Alexandre Desplat and John Williams were a few of the composers who took the bait and have now contributed to the contemporary piano repertoire. Read more >>

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Author Topic: They’re people too!  (Read 1752 times)
d_b_christopher
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« on: October 15, 2017, 11:01:12 PM »

They’re people too!

Children are people too, and contrary to popular belief they are not stupid.

I treat my young pianists, under the age of five, no different to my older pianists, that is, with respect, and a level of mindfulness; they are people too.  It is all too easy to forget that we were all young once.

https://dacapoacademy.co.uk/articles/theyre_people_too/

Do you teach under-fives? What was your most memorable moment?

I recall two young highly-intelligent children and different points in time; the boy was three, and the girl was four. They both wrote their name upside down, so I could read it.  Obviously, their handwriting was terrible, but, the sentiment was there.

When I see a young person do this, I get excited, it shows abstraction.

Children generally only think of themselves; it is a self-preservation response, wired in, so they do not put themselves into situations where they are responsible for others.  If they write their name upside down, so another person can read it, it shows an ability for thinking about things that are not actually in front of them; my perspective.  This skill is one of many that hint, at an aptitude for musical activity.

What was yours?
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keypeg
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2017, 11:28:23 PM »

I don't have much time to write atm, but just wanted to say how much I liked the article.
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d_b_christopher
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2017, 12:01:36 AM »

I don't have much time to write atm, but just wanted to say how much I liked the article.
Thank you!

We were all young once.

When you get more time, I would love to read your perspective and thoughts.
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keypeg
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« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2017, 11:16:10 AM »

One reason for not writing more, besides the very real one of time, is that it's a hard topic to put into words, and you have already done so brilliantly.  I've gone back to read your other articles (they're easy to find), and like all of them.
I do not teach music - I'm a learner for the most part, though my teacher is also sharing his pedagogy with me.  I was a trained and certified public school teacher once, changed professions, but taught one-on-one, raised two children and there was homeschooling for the first period.  That is my background.

I think that there are some views in society that are so taken for granted that people may not even be aware of them consciously.  One would be of children being empty vessels, knowing nothing, needing to be filled.  Another which is even worse is seeing them as vessels containing flawed contents that must be emptied, or corrected and changed - that children are by nature lazy, or mischievous, and other negatives - unless led out of such "innate" things.  Contrast that to the root of the word "educate" - educare - to draw out of - to draw out of the person (any age) what is already there.  This is how I view things, and you seem to be saying this as well.
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2017, 02:33:29 PM »

I treat my young pianists, under the age of five, no different to my older pianists, that is, with respect, and a level of mindfulness; they are people too.  It is all too easy to forget that we were all young once.
I'm not sure about treating them no different, you need more mindfulness with children than with older students who are usually much more open to correctives. Under five might not even take what you say to them seriously and you can't just try and logically convince them as you would with older students, you can show them all you want why an idea is good and should be followed but you can't force a young child to do so you need to take baby steps and be more careful in many instances. So I feel that when teaching young children you need to tread extra carefully but at the same time know when to push with guidance. Be too soft and they will walk all over you, be too strong and they will be afraid of you and hate the interaction. It is very easy to squash creativity and individuality of children and we should be extra mindful not to do it because "wrong" things they do might indeed be a creative action that needs exploring not deleting with immediate correctives. With older students however you can often correct them much easier and they are more ready to make changes without destroying their individuality and creativity.

Do you teach under-fives? What was your most memorable moment?
I do teach under fives, I like teaching them because you can play a lot of musical games with them and make music fun. I have hand puppets I use to play with them, I can't imagine doing that with older students without them thinking I am being condescending lol. I find teaching young students a lot of work and sometimes you have to go beyond the music in terms of education, some of them I had to teach numbers and letters, that is dreary especially if their parents haven't even introduced them to it. I had one little 3 year old who watched me draw the number 1 and asked me why I drew a stick. With some you even have to develop their listening skills and ability to follow a teachers instructions.
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d_b_christopher
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« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2017, 02:38:58 PM »

My apologies, I have been exceptionally busy as of late and so have only just been able to get on and reply.

Thank you for your patience.

One reason for not writing more, besides the very real one of time, is that it's a hard topic to put into words, and you have already done so brilliantly.  I've gone back to read your other articles (they're easy to find), and like all of them.

I think that there are some views in society that are so taken for granted that people may not even be aware of them consciously.  One would be of children being empty vessels, knowing nothing, needing to be filled.  Another which is even worse is seeing them as vessels containing flawed contents that must be emptied, or corrected and changed - that children are by nature lazy, or mischievous, and other negatives - unless led out of such "innate" things.  Contrast that to the root of the word "educate" - educare - to draw out of - to draw out of the person (any age) what is already there.  This is how I view things, and you seem to be saying this as well.

Thank you, I am pleased to hear that you like them.

What a wonderful word “Educare”; there's something to think about.

I'm not sure about treating them no different, you need more mindfulness with children than with older students who are usually much more open to correctives. Under five might not even take what you say to them seriously and you can't just try and logically convince them as you would with older students, you can show them all you want why an idea is good and should be followed but you can't force a young child to do so you need to take baby steps and be more careful in many instances.

Children do not have a conscience, and so they will do everything from a state of selfishness without consideration.  They will not inherently listen to an adult and need to be taught to listen.
Some parents do this, others do not; you are likely dealing with children, whose parents did not put time into fundamental discipline.

This is my first lesson; if they are to get past the simple stuff, they need to be able to listen to what I ask them to do.  I refuse to speak until I have their full attention.  I also insist that they do as I ask; all it takes is patience; a war of attrition.

So I feel that when teaching young children you need to tread extra carefully but at the same time know when to push with guidance. Be too soft and they will walk all over you, be too strong and they will be afraid of you and hate the interaction. It is very easy to squash creativity and individuality of children and we should be extra mindful not to do it because "wrong" things they do might indeed be a creative action that needs exploring not deleting with immediate correctives. With older students however you can often correct them much easier and they are more ready to make changes without destroying their individuality and creativity.

Agreed.

I do teach under-fives, I like teaching them because you can play a lot of musical games with them and make music fun. I have hand puppets I use to play with them, I can't imagine doing that with older students without them thinking I am being condescending lol. I find teaching young students a lot of work and sometimes you have to go beyond the music in terms of education, some of them I had to teach numbers and letters, that is dreary especially if their parents haven't even introduced them to it. I had one little 3 year old who watched me draw the number 1 and asked me why I drew a stick. With some you even have to develop their listening skills and ability to follow a teachers instructions.

See my point above.

I agree with you, but that is why we have an option to teach whosoever we please.
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lostinidlewonder
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2017, 08:52:36 AM »

.... they need to be able to listen to what I ask them to do.  I refuse to speak until I have their full attention.  I also insist that they do as I ask; all it takes is patience; a war of attrition.
I am sure if you have taught a lot of young children you will realize that wanting their full attention or doing exactly as you ask is not something you are going to get with many of them. The lessons with young children is much about developing their attention span and their capability to work with a teacher. With many very young students you may indeed be their very first experience with a teacher and an introduction to their very first concept of what it means to have a lesson. You must let them lose attention and then bring them back to some form of it, you cannot simply insist you have 100% of their attention, it just doesn't work that way.


I think for some it can take several months before they get the idea of what lessons are about, some merely treat it as a play date for a period of time until they grow out of it, that is all totally fine you must work with the individual. Forcing them to listen to you will pretty much always have them fearing lessons with you and the education experience as a whole.

With some I have even had to teach them numbers and letters from scratch and even how to listen and respond to questions. It can be very elementary learning tools you are developing in them but through the medium of music, you indeed may never really get into learning how to play in a model you would wish as a teacher because you are busy developing their basic learning skills which are ubiquitous to learning all subjects.
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d_b_christopher
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 02:27:36 PM »

I am sure if you have taught a lot of young children you will realize that wanting their full attention or doing exactly as you ask is not something you are going to get with many of them. The lessons with young children is much about developing their attention span and their capability to work with a teacher. With many very young students you may indeed be their very first experience with a teacher and an introduction to their very first concept of what it means to have a lesson. You must let them lose attention and then bring them back to some form of it, you cannot simply insist you have 100% of their attention, it just doesn't work that way.


I think for some it can take several months before they get the idea of what lessons are about, some merely treat it as a play date for a period of time until they grow out of it, that is all totally fine you must work with the individual. Forcing them to listen to you will pretty much always have them fearing lessons with you and the education experience as a whole.

With some I have even had to teach them numbers and letters from scratch and even how to listen and respond to questions. It can be very elementary learning tools you are developing in them but through the medium of music, you indeed may never really get into learning how to play in a model you would wish as a teacher because you are busy developing their basic learning skills which are ubiquitous to learning all subjects.

Last week Thursday I taught a three-year-old for 30 mins, he wanted forty but the lesson was completed.  When I see his attention wane, I pause teaching and do something different with him.
 I then ask his permission to continue; when he is ready, we continue.

Children are little people, they have the potential to do incredible things, but before they can achieve those feats they need to learn how to control themselves.  I enjoy teaching the very young simply because they are 'blank'; this gives me the opportunity to create a positive learning experience.

First impressions matter, whatever the first experience is, it will be the foundation on which the rest of their learning is built.  If I want my student to be patient, I need to be patient.  If I want my student to be 100% committed, I need to be 100% committed.  Even the very young respond to these terms.

You would need to witness a lesson to understand the true meaning of what I am saying on an internet forum.

Just understand I am agreeing with you.
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louispodesta
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« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2018, 12:21:27 AM »

I am sure if you have taught a lot of young children you will realize that wanting their full attention or doing exactly as you ask is not something you are going to get with many of them. The lessons with young children is much about developing their attention span and their capability to work with a teacher. With many very young students you may indeed be their very first experience with a teacher and an introduction to their very first concept of what it means to have a lesson. You must let them lose attention and then bring them back to some form of it, you cannot simply insist you have 100% of their attention, it just doesn't work that way.


I think for some it can take several months before they get the idea of what lessons are about, some merely treat it as a play date for a period of time until they grow out of it, that is all totally fine you must work with the individual. Forcing them to listen to you will pretty much always have them fearing lessons with you and the education experience as a whole.

With some I have even had to teach them numbers and letters from scratch and even how to listen and respond to questions. It can be very elementary learning tools you are developing in them but through the medium of music, you indeed may never really get into learning how to play in a model you would wish as a teacher because you are busy developing their basic learning skills which are ubiquitous to learning all subjects.
I thank you for your courage, and it took a lot of said fortitude.

1)  My video "Your Piano Teacher Taught You Wrong," was my second choice for a Title.  It should have read:  "Your Piano Teacher Is Ripping You Off."

2)  Emperically specific to your reply:  a Hominid (not Humanoid "Star Trek") does not attain the Neurobiological capacity to have "Abstract Reasoning," until that person reaches what is commonly referred to as "Puberty."  With Females it is usually around the ages of Eleven or Twelve, and with Males around a year later.

3)  Teaching, or trying to teach Nine or Ten Year Old males or females is a Con.  That means:  there is no way it is possible.

I will leave it there for now because I have waited a very long time for someone (anyone) to have the Guts to point out this Fraud!  Most who matriculate at this early age (including myself) eventually quit within three to five years, and usually hate the piano for the rest of their lives.

Stay tuned, and to most of those who will respond, please give us some Neuro-cognitive Science to back up your argument.  And, that does not mean:  so and so says that people who take piano lessons are better students.

You, if you truly care, can do much better than that.

 
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keypeg
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2018, 05:18:24 PM »

Louis, the problem with your post is that you are assuming some narrow premises.  It starts with "Your piano teacher taught you wrong."  Here you are assuming that every single person reading that statement was taught in exactly the same way. I read what "my" piano teacher did: Well, I had no piano teacher in my life until I was 56 years old. My main teacher and any supplemental teacher I have worked with, does not teach in the manner that you imply.  What you are really saying is that "Any piano teacher who teaches in Manner XXX is teaching wrong, and if you were taught that way, you were taught wrong."  To that I might agree.

In this last post you talk about teaching,  the ability to be taught, and cognitive reasoning.  Here too we have an unstated underlying premise - namely, the nature of "teaching".  You will have a particular image of what that involves, and you seem to tie that together with the need for abstract reasoning.  To get anywhere, one would first have to decided what kind of teaching is being pictured.  For a particular way of teaching, your premise would undoubtedly be true.  But "teaching" needs to be defined.

I taught in a grade 2 classroom, and I did indeed teach.  But much of what we did was hands on, concrete, exploratory.  The guidelines dictated that in gr. 2 kids learn to multiply and divide.  We took concrete objects and divided them up evenly between two or three people.  Or we grouped together things in two's, three's, four's, and counted them as 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 ... or 3, 6, 9, 12, 15 - this the average seven and eight year old is able to do.  If we had this:
***
***
***
***
***
We could count there were 5 of the ***, and by counting 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, we could also see that 5 of the *** were 15 altogether.   The students internalized concrete experiences, and later when they reached the age of abstract thinking, what they had internalized then found its way into abstract expression.  I hope that I could transmit this idea clearly.

The summary of this idea is that "teaching" can be a non-abstract, relatively non-intellectual activity.  So you must first define what is meant by "teaching" to get at the impossibility of (that kind of) teaching for a particular age level.

That is what is missing.
--------------------
Btw, I have often pondered the idea of abstract thinking due to a particular incident.  My children at the time were both preschoolers, and one day they tried to tell me about Dragon, whom they had invented in their play.  They told me to imagine a dragon whose eye is so immense that if you stood beside that eye, you would not even be the size of the pupil in that idea.  They tried to describe swiftness in similar terms.  What they were actually trying to convey to me was the concept of infinitesimally small, infinitesimally large, infinitesimally swift, and the relationship between the infinitesimally small and the infinitesimally large juxtaposed one against the other.  These are in fact quite abstract ideas, and things that are impossible for adult minds to grasp, but they were pictured in very concrete terms, via this dragon they had invented.

If I stretch this further, I have wondered at times whether it might not be the adults who are limited in their understanding, by the abstract things they had to study within narrow frameworks, so that they cannot grasp the workings of a childish mind.  It has seemed to me at times, that the geniuses are often quite childlike in some ways, and inventive.  (At this point I am being philosophical).
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keypeg
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2018, 05:22:52 PM »

I would also like to turn this whole thing on its head.

If you are an adult learning to play a musical instrument for the first time in your life, then abstract conceptualizing can get in the way.  To get the neural pathways started, you need to experience things in a very direct way, much in the manner of the small child.  If this is what "learning" and "teaching" can be, then it's not a question of whether a child is too young to learn, but whether an adult can learn in the manner of a non-abstract child, given a teacher who is wise enough to know how to teach this way, and an adult who is open to the experience.

I once had an adult, who wanted to learn a new language without an accent, babble the ups and downs of the rhythms of a sentence much in the way that a preverbal toddler will experiment with cadenced "dadadada" - and it worked.  Concept and intellect had to be turned off.  What if learning and teaching often are not abstract and intellectual?
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bernadette60614
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2018, 09:28:28 PM »

Why yes!

And, I also think that children can teach us even more than we can teach them.
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