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Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree?? (Read 2958 times)

Offline keystroke3

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Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
« on: November 08, 2019, 05:21:40 PM »
Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!



Basically, the concept is:

Instead of focusing on the Fundamentals first, we should focus on "easy wins" early on in the learning process to build motivation, and come back to the Fundamentals later.

There seems to be VERY mixed reactions I get from teachers, what do you think?
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Offline ranjit

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #1 on: November 08, 2019, 08:35:53 PM »
I'm not a teacher, but this is something I feel rather strongly about, so I'll give it a go.

Whenever people have approached me asking how to get started learning the piano, the first thing I have told them is to try and play something, such as the beginning of Fur Elise, or Nuvole Bianche, or a simplified piano version of the Godfather theme -- it doesn't really matter what they start out with, but to play something.

I would not suggest a serious student to do this for more than a few weeks or months, but the initial exposure gives a lot of motivation for playing. An analogy could be drawn to playing a sport. You did not start off with drills the first time you ever played soccer, right?  You probably played it for a while and learned the ropes, and then polished it at an academy. Unfortunately, many subjects aren't taught this way, and I really think they should. Mathematics, for example.

I would consider it questionable pedagogy at best to come up to a beginner who has never played the piano and only make them play soulless exercises for the first few months, in order for them to gain "strong fundamentals". As a piano teacher, you are not sculpting stone. There is no absolute requirement to getting it precisely right the first time, and yet many teachers seem to be overly concerned about never letting the student play with suboptimal form, even if it results in them never getting to play real music!

By no means am I saying that most teachers are like this, and many of the good teachers I find online and read about do not seem to do this. However, there are a sizeable number who do, and this criticism is addressed towards them.

However --
Based on what I've seen of this guy, Zach is a pop pianist. The demands of classical piano are far higher. Here's a video of him playing:
I'm sure that most people on the forum would consider this dead easy. I couldn't find a single video of his playing which required significant skill.
 I think most people could probably learn how to play like this on their own in 2-3 years.

His point about him using the same left hand pattern over and over again, and people not noticing and even complimenting him for it, is kind of sad.

I think it is true in general that people underestimate how capable they are at learning as adults. People on Pianostreet in my experience are probably outliers in that respect. One can definitely learn to play pop songs on the piano at an old age. I would argue that many people could probably even learn difficult pieces such as the Chopin Ballades starting as an adult. However, it would be exceedingly rare for someone to become a concert pianist starting as an adult. I think the issue arises because people often miss just how HUGE the gap in skill level is. Zach evangelizing about how it's possible to learn anything as an adult won't do you any favors here. There are certain things at the extreme ends of ability which are better learned during early childhood.

You could also check out this post started by Zach Evans on Pianostreet in 2017: https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.php?topic=63942.0

Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #2 on: November 08, 2019, 11:07:00 PM »
Okay - after watching your video, let me say a few things.

1) The reason people can play the 'first' version of Mary had a little lamb is because that version can take a week or two to teach, and anyone can get it. The 2nd version you play with the secret sauce pattern will take MONTHS for someone to physically play with the same dexterity that you or I take for granted. The right hand was easy enough, but the secret sauce pattern will take me 6 seconds to learn, 6 months for a newbie to learn. Not only THAT... then they have to have the co-ordination to play the secret sauce pattern, WHILE trying to co-ordinate their right hand melody.

2) While you may think easy wins are great beginning - it usually leads to MAJOR frustration later on. There is no easy, simple way to just LEARN a language, and sadly enough this is the same with music. It's not just the written music, but it's also the physicality and co-ordination as mentioned in point 1. By teaching the students the written music in a more traditional pattern - you are giving them the tools to actually read the music themselves... you are giving them ways for them to figure out the notes. Once they have this - they have a key in which to practice at home and can start to think about how they physically play it.

3) Your idea of 'fundamentals' is vague... Are you talking about scales, arpeggios, HANON? When I teach students, I teach them only the theory that is involved in the pieces they are playing. If they are playing a piece of music that has a RH melody, and 3 LH chords, I'll make sure they at least know how to read they notes in the RH and give them exercises to help them switch between their 3 chords. I won't teach scales until they actually have pieces with actual scalic passages (and scalic fingering). This way I am making sure they know everything they need to know to help them learn this piece, but without overloading them with techniques that aren't relevant to them at this time.

4) Again, easy wins is a bit vague... I had a teacher who let me play and learn Fur Elise as a 9-year old. Did it have messy demisemiquavers? Yes... Was the balance between LH and RH poor? Yes... Was I technically and physically ready to play it? NO. Was I absolutely CRUSHED when time and time again I was allowed to learn pieces beyond my grasp, rather shoddily and without any finesse... only to learn down the track that I was being fooled into being better than I was?

sh*t YEAH.

Some things to think about. I was taught the traditional way, however I had a bunch of very poor teachers who were letting me get away with some easy wins... and when I got to University - WOW, was that a wake-up call.

Offline ted

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #3 on: November 08, 2019, 11:54:09 PM »
He probably means well and some people might benefit from that approach, but not me, and thank goodness my teachers were nothing like him.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #4 on: November 09, 2019, 01:23:56 AM »
Well done on Ted talk gig!

Some ideas from this video that cames to me:

-The "secret sauce pattern" playing is a broken arpeggio vs melody. It is a useful tool to know but I wonder if it needs to be the very first one someone learns or whether it is the more efficient one to build on (rather than learning held chords and progressions then first the simple ways to break them up then offering the idea of the overall landscape of combinations). It may give inspiration for a student to continue their learning but I don't see how this pattern inspires someone so greatly that they will have a continuous source for motivation through it. It also has the added problem of coordinating the melody vs this broken arpeggio pattern, the many places the RH could fit in (rhtyhmic devices) will cause many more challenges than just the LH playing the pattern alone.


-Study with knowledge of the teacher and your self exploration through the internet. Yes as a general approach we should study with our teacher as well as our own investigations and experimentations, it is just good practice to learn to think on your own and especially when it comes to learning art. It was said your first 2 years of education through tutorials online. It is great in the age of technology that we have all this information out there. It was said in the video "information is no longer the issue..." but I believe it still very much is. There is so much information out there, advice which will help you and others which will slow you down. It is a confusing situation people face on the internet, who do you trust and listen to? I think there is more useless information out there on learning piano than there is useful but I can only discern that clearly in my mind since piano education is my profession.

-Motivation vs practice. An answer was given connected to "motivate them and they will practice", yes but there are so many pitfalls when relying on motivation and it doesn't always work or lasts long. In fact I have come across students who are very motivated to learn but get frustrated easily and thus their practice method suffers greatly and their ability to put up with their errors and to deal with them. I can motivate a student in a lesson and encourage them to study alone, if they can do things successfully the chances are they will practice more, clear goals, how to practice etc is all extremely important. However many are working on a fuction that requires a combination of time and motivation/excitement to want to practice. This I think is the problem since the only thing long term pianists needs is the commitment. There is no way around this, I feel I do a disservice to my students if I don't make them realize that while learning piano is fun, enjoyable and all that, it is also HARD WORK and requires discipline. Of course we ease them into becoming disciplined beasts but certainly we must not encourage them to only learn if they are motivated. If I can get my students to become more disciplined they will do a lot better and this should be on the priority list for things to get done not simply working on motivation to learn (though motivation is something some teachers might totally ignore or miscalculate in their students which is detrimental of course).

You can grow a large pool of short term beginner students through motivation easily, setting up lessons which are easy to understand and master, giving them stepwise progression at an efficient rate, great for all new comers! But you then need to solve how to keep them going, motivation is just not going to cut it if they have no discipline underlying and holding everything together. Everyone will eventually hit that plateau in their progress which then requires discipline to overcome. Work loads are unending when studying the piano and the "daily grind" gets on top of everyone no matter how inspired they are.

Everyone should approach a subject they want to learn with discipline and work when they don't necessarily want to to work. This should be inbult in every student of any subject if they want to do the best they can. Of course we cannot go 110% every day but we need to negotiate with ourselves and commit. This can be a tough lesson for all ages but certainly should be focused on. Motivation is the icing on top of discipline.
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Offline keystroke3

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #5 on: November 09, 2019, 02:41:18 AM »
Okay - after watching your video, let me say a few things.

1) The reason people can play the 'first' version of Mary had a little lamb is because that version can take a week or two to teach, and anyone can get it. The 2nd version you play with the secret sauce pattern will take MONTHS for someone to physically play with the same dexterity that you or I take for granted. The right hand was easy enough, but the secret sauce pattern will take me 6 seconds to learn, 6 months for a newbie to learn. Not only THAT... then they have to have the co-ordination to play the secret sauce pattern, WHILE trying to co-ordinate their right hand melody.

2) While you may think easy wins are great beginning - it usually leads to MAJOR frustration later on. There is no easy, simple way to just LEARN a language, and sadly enough this is the same with music. It's not just the written music, but it's also the physicality and co-ordination as mentioned in point 1. By teaching the students the written music in a more traditional pattern - you are giving them the tools to actually read the music themselves... you are giving them ways for them to figure out the notes. Once they have this - they have a key in which to practice at home and can start to think about how they physically play it.

3) Your idea of 'fundamentals' is vague... Are you talking about scales, arpeggios, HANON? When I teach students, I teach them only the theory that is involved in the pieces they are playing. If they are playing a piece of music that has a RH melody, and 3 LH chords, I'll make sure they at least know how to read they notes in the RH and give them exercises to help them switch between their 3 chords. I won't teach scales until they actually have pieces with actual scalic passages (and scalic fingering). This way I am making sure they know everything they need to know to help them learn this piece, but without overloading them with techniques that aren't relevant to them at this time.

4) Again, easy wins is a bit vague... I had a teacher who let me play and learn Fur Elise as a 9-year old. Did it have messy demisemiquavers? Yes... Was the balance between LH and RH poor? Yes... Was I technically and physically ready to play it? NO. Was I absolutely CRUSHED when time and time again I was allowed to learn pieces beyond my grasp, rather shoddily and without any finesse... only to learn down the track that I was being fooled into being better than I was?

sh*t YEAH.

Some things to think about. I was taught the traditional way, however I had a bunch of very poor teachers who were letting me get away with some easy wins... and when I got to University - WOW, was that a wake-up call.

Ok, I gotta respond to a few of these:

1. The left hand pattern, like the talk outlines, SEEMS like it's going to take a long time to learn, but on the video on YouTube: , if you look in the comments:
, people are saying it's taking them anywhere from 1 hour to 2 days. And this is withOUT a teacher! I've seen time and time again complete beginners get this thing in a week as long as they're using the appropriate practice strategies (rhythms, metronome, etc)

2. I think this can lead to major frustration later on, but only if you're "tricking" the student into thinking that the "quick wins" ARE the same as fundamentals. On the other hand, if you get them excited with the technique, THEN start teaching them why it works (Ok so this is a 9th chord: Here's the major triad plus the 9th, etc) it works wonders.

In addition to that, the second song they learn using the same left hand pattern will be remarkably easier than the first - because you don't have to "relearn" the left hand. So a student can learn 3 or 4 songs with one left hand pattern very easily, especially once they've learned the first one.

Then you just have to make sure as a teacher, when you change the left hand pattern you warn them "ok, so this song's going to be harder than the last one since it has a different pattern"

But I think a LOT of students get bogged down in the early stages when it takes seemingly FOREVER to learn a new song (that often doesn't even sound "cool" to them). And we can circumvent the issue this way.

For 3 and 4, weren't really addressed in the talk, 17 minutes isn't nearly long enough to go into an in-depth discussion on Technique and theory
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Offline keystroke3

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #6 on: November 09, 2019, 02:50:41 AM »
lostinidlewonder yep, I agree with most of the caveats you say here.

First off, I agree there could be many types of "Secret Sauces". So yea, one could be playing block chords and holding them, which allows you to play more complex melodies over the top. Another could be the left hand pattern, which allows for a "cooler" left hand while the right hand uses simpler melodies (like Mary Had a Little Lamb). They should compliment each other.

For me, self exploration through the internet WAS my way of "learning by myself". But yes I agree, there can be the problem of "too much information". But I think if you have a solid teacher that's your "base", and then you have a bunch of random YouTube videos, you can think "hmmm I wonder if this would work", try it, and see if it works. I think the  big thing to keep in mind is when is when learning off YouTube you have to treat it as "let me try this and see if it works" and not "I'm going to follow this method because it's "right"

As for motivation, I think we need a variety of different types of motivation. The "Secret Sauce" type of motivation IS more of the "quick booster" type of motivation. But I've seen it work really well in "getting students off the ground" in early stages. For long term motivation, I've seen some pretty mundane looking checklists and charts work really well in building in that sense of accomplishment. In particular, setting a couple different goals (like a silver goal and a gold goal) in terms of BPM have dramatically improved the amount of time students practice scales from my experience.

Thanks for the comment!
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #7 on: November 09, 2019, 04:04:17 AM »
First off, I agree there could be many types of "Secret Sauces". So yea, one could be playing block chords and holding them, which allows you to play more complex melodies over the top. Another could be the left hand pattern, which allows for a "cooler" left hand while the right hand uses simpler melodies (like Mary Had a Little Lamb). They should compliment each other.
Yep I think that knowing the different simple tools that can be used to play with both hands is an important step to take. Your pattern example for instance is important to learn, any pianist with some experience will be able to do it, the emphasis placed on this pattern however I think is difficult to single it out as more important than the others that there are. The concept of how to peel back deeper into the theory of the pattern as explained in the video can be very interesting for some students (and a good connection to make) and not so for others who just want to play and not think too much.

...I think if you have a solid teacher that's your "base", and then you have a bunch of random YouTube videos, you can think "hmmm I wonder if this would work", try it, and see if it works. I think the  big thing to keep in mind is when is when learning off YouTube you have to treat it as "let me try this and see if it works" and not "I'm going to follow this method because it's "right"
I like education from online there is great resources out there but I can say this with confidence since my profession is teaching the piano. From my experience a number of students of mine who use online education as well as lessons tend to be distracted and oversaturated with opinions and ideas. I often have students who have gone on the self learning path who have many many ideas and are all over the place using fragments of this and that and inefficient ideas learned from online videos. They need focus, direction, they are all over the place their direction needs straightening out, their energies focused clearer.  Of course not all of them find online content distracting and confusing. If a student is an autodiadactic then it is a treasure trove that they sift through and often inherently know which is valuable to them and not. Most others need much more experience and training before they feel comfortable with the evaluation required for sifting through online piano education resources.

Often online content is very scatter gun in its application and how someone actually goes about doing it is very various thus different results occur. They may tell you to do something which works in one situation but not the other and leave that discernment in mystery. Of course piano lessons with a good teacher is custom built for you very own needs and your own hands your own mind and desires. Online lessons tend to be good for beginners and early intermediates but I feel that it often flounder these students about for extended periods because of the various ideas good and bad.

As for motivation, I think we need a variety of different types of motivation. The "Secret Sauce" type of motivation IS more of the "quick booster" type of motivation. But I've seen it work really well in "getting students off the ground" in early stages. For long term motivation, I've seen some pretty mundane looking checklists and charts work really well in building in that sense of accomplishment. In particular, setting a couple different goals (like a silver goal and a gold goal) in terms of BPM have dramatically improved the amount of time students practice scales from my experience.
I guess we can get caught up in semantics but I don't shy away from the word "discipline" because I think piano like any art requires an amount of it over a lifetime. This is something that not everyone gets or really cares for. Some people just want a quick "affair" with the piano, or just want to get to a basic point of playing and are happy to remain there. But how do we encourage those who start out to become more disciplined and commited to a lifetime with playing the piano?

There are motivational paths which encourage discipline more so than others, for isntance if you take on more responsibilities and start playing piano more in public say at a church, this will encourage you to work harder at the piano now because you have this responsibility. Likewise if you get a teacher you will have someone to answer to periodically and thus feel more responsibility for your work. This sort of motivation is useful since it forces you to practice becuase you have someone to answer to but still a short lived force in terms of motivation to learn, there must of course be a greater reason. How to subject yourself to consistent work and fit it into your life every day?

Of course everyone is at different points of their music journey. Those beginners and early intermediates lap up all these motivational tools we throw at them and get excited and learn fast. Though the test comes when they hit that plateau to their development, how good are they at solving their problems and sharpening their learning tools? From my experience early beginner students either remain with me for many years or less than a single one. Generally in a year they can learn so much at the start and at an easy going pace with not too much effort, but then to progress further once they hit their saturation point this requires something extra from them. For some remaining at a particular level for extended periods and not seeing a great jump in difficulty of what they play can be very disheartening. So then they often want to go try harder stuff only to find out they can't play it effectively and it's so difficult to control for them and takes a long time to learn. So they give up because the work load seems too much and confusing.

There are so many beginner/early intermediate piano courses out there because the product crafts something where progress seems easy, straightforward and stepwise, full of motivation and almost makes it seem like the entire piano journey must be that way, concert pianist here I come! The reality hits that there is a limitation to someones natural ability level and then how to break through that is where the real work begins.

As a piano teacher I want to nurture a longterm interest to play the piano in all my students. However no matter how much you encourage and motivate and help, honestly in the end it requires a student to "want" it. I have had very talented students just give up piano because other things in life were more important, I have had many who once they hit a plateau don't want to do any more work because its getting "too much". Then you have those who absorb all the information and experience they need from you and feel confident to go off on their own. I think that is where we want to get our students, to feel confident to deal with their piano journey on their own. This can happen at all different levels of piano experience. I have had late intermediate students feel confident that they can go off on their own and then I have had students who play much better than them and are highly advanced who still enjoy to answer to a teacher periodically. I have even had early intermediate students feel that they have reached a level that they are satisfied with and no longer want to progress further. Each person has their own desire though I like to think that as a teacher we have the ability to make them reach further and I think we can have some influence in that.



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Offline perfect_pitch

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #8 on: November 09, 2019, 04:42:22 AM »
In addition to that, the second song they learn using the same left hand pattern will be remarkably easier than the first - because you don't have to "relearn" the left hand.

True... to an extent... but with a lot of beginners, they begin to learn one song with that LH and feel comfortable because they've had to work out the co-ordination needed to play both hands together. Throw them a song with the same LH harmony, but different melody and rhythm in the RH, and this will surely stump a lot of beginner students - and again, they have to map out the co-ordination of the LH that they already know with a melody they do not know in the RH.

I think you can only claim independence in the LH and really learning that technique when you can get them to do this with song after song and they don't struggle with the co-ordination in both hands.

Also... what happens if the music is in 3/4    ;D

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #9 on: November 09, 2019, 02:55:02 PM »
Some thoughts:

I had lessons as an adult with a teacher for a few years and things went wrong with that: this was not piano.  I've had lessons since with a teacher I met on-line, with piano, which are actual one-on-one and in that sense "traditional" but very open ended and responsive to where I'm at.  I also started to use on-line info: platforms more than stuff you just find on-line though some of that too.  In a platform (the most familiar model is Artistworks) you get to see everything being taught, at all levels, how they interrelate, rather than a "keyhole view" (this week I'll introduce you to X, only X.)

The "magic sauce" is not like learning on the Internet, because the teacher (Zach) has narrowed it down for you and has a plan. But since on the site you get to see the whole (platform mode) you can get the bigger picture.  If you like fundamentals and what's behind it (I do) then you can go after that.

The TED presentation gives a spin of "anti-foundation" (without defining what a foundation might be) and that gave a bad reaction among students in PW, many of whom got burned by being rushed through without foundations and suffered later.  If the responses to what folks wrote there were more like here - where it becomes clear that foundations are being snuck in through the back door rather than dissed as unnecessary (the wrong impression) then there might have been a better reception.

Offline keystroke3

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #10 on: November 10, 2019, 02:15:07 AM »
keypeg Thanks for the comment.

I agree, at the end of the day, it's a 17 minute talk. And TEDx Talks aren't meant to cram as much information as you can into them. If you look at other TEDx Talks it's moreso meant to take ONE singular idea, and weave it into a narrative with stories, metaphors, etc.

In fact, the first talk I had put together (this was like 4 months before the actual talk) had a lot more "ideas" in it, and the event moderators suggested I cut some stuff and focus in. While it seems like people would want "more information", in reality, it's better to have one clear point and explain it in multiple different ways, while also injecting enough humor and storytelling so the audience doesn't fall asleep halfway through.

I think a lot of people are taking it as if it's a video that explains the entire process of learning piano, instead of just teaching one singular piece of it.
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Offline ranjit

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #11 on: November 10, 2019, 08:38:06 AM »
I take my words back. I didn't realize that you were the one who gave the TED talk. Looking at your other posts on Pianostreet, it's quite clear that you are quite accomplished yourself. I think I just found the video a bit oversimplified, but it's understandable for a 17 minute presentation. I agree that it makes sense to have easy wins while a student is just testing the waters.

Offline keystroke3

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #12 on: November 10, 2019, 04:39:57 PM »
Ranjit I understand completely.

Yea, I think it's just a miscommunication between the fact that it's only supposed to be about one specific part of teaching, and not the whole process.

Thanks for the comment!
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #13 on: November 11, 2019, 01:42:26 AM »
I think the time limitations is not really a big factor, we were asked if we Agree or Disagree so there are ideas that come up.
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Offline timothy42b

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #14 on: November 11, 2019, 01:10:06 PM »
Interesting video.  I kind of agree but would have thought about it differently.

In math we teach fundamental techniques for solving problems that most of us will never encounter.  At least thatís how it was when I was a student. Some of crank through it anyway out of a sense it will pay off later but most donít.

Weirdly, I visited a different church yesterday for family reasons and a really skilled pianist was adding that pattern to many of the hymns, while still allowing part singing.

At any rate, I think someone who wants to play can see a problem that needs solving immediately and his pattern as a method.
Tim

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #15 on: November 15, 2019, 12:54:58 PM »
Fingering.  Does it bother anyone that this pattern requires one to hop the thumb, for a beginner?
Tim

Offline Bob

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #16 on: November 16, 2019, 12:41:09 AM »
Only watched the video, haven't read any comments on here yet....


Watching the video....


He's got the TED talk speech pattern.  That's for sure. 

You were taught wrong.  It's not your fault.  I've heard this before.  Probably true and not true.

Yes, you need to start the student off with something simple so they're successful. 

What the heck is he doing playing a pattern?  An ostinato?  Why not use a melody?  Something they've already heard.

A pattern on any white note?  So he's just moving chords?  He's focusing on patterns?  Why not a melody?  I always like the idea of starting a student off with something black keys so they're not afraid of it.

"Secret sauce" pattern.  Yeah.... I'm not buying this... He's going with more of a jazz approach then.  And a student isn't going to necessarily be coordinated enough to play that pattern and a melody over it. 

This sounds like a bullshit sales pitch.

Even being able to keep a steady beat isn't guaranteed.

This seems more like "how to sound ok when you don't know what the hell you're doing."

Saved his music career three times?  Oh my god.... Learning piano for two years off youtube?  Yes.  That's exactly what this sounds like.  And someone paid him... The blind leading the blind.  And who hired him for this TED... Oh year.  It's not a real TED talk.  It's a TEDx talk.

Can't read music.  Yep.... That's a big red flag.  Yet, he's still going to take money for that... Ok, one time.  I could see it, but.... If you keep doing that people are going to notice that's all you can do.

Chruch music... Yeah.   That audience doesn't know everything about music.  Switched to music in college?  Yeah, everyone knows more than him.  Who accepted him?  Some college of music made some money off him.  Geez.  His brain already developed.  It's probably too late.  Jesus Christ....   You can't master piano in two years.  Why is he on .... Yeah, it's a TEDx talk.  He didn't get lucky.  He paid the school of music.  He kept their lights on. 

Tradition + Youtube..... Yeah, that's equal bullshit.  That's not a new hybrid learning method.

And he teaches.... He's screwing kids up.  I'm so glad for who I ended up with for a teacher.  How the hell is this guy teaching if he can't read music?


Well, he's got the same problems any other teacher has.  Same thing as Bernhard and other?  Yep.  Find something student wants to learn.

It's not like he's being innovative here.  You can learn fun stuff and learn tedious drills that pay off later.  It's not rocket science.

I don't think I'm going to take much advice from this guy.  Two years of practicing?  Off youtube?  Basing success off youtube views?

I would highly question his teaching.  It sounds more like a jazz approach, which is fine, but if he doesn't have much background, how far is that going to go? 

I agree that the internet opened up more information.  Anyone can chat about music..... This guy though... Sounds like "not much information" but he's definitely motivated to go out....

Maybe he's good at motivating people.

I'd agree with finding something that's interesting, motivated, etc.  Inspiration.

Oi.... That was a one time watch.  There have been plenty of other TEDx talks I've wondered about.  I wonder how much he got paid for that, how much the audience paid to listen to that.....
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Bob

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #17 on: November 16, 2019, 12:44:21 AM »
This went into teaching though.  That's why I'd say if someone is serious about becoming a teacher, just start doing it.  Figure out what works for you.  Look at this guy.  People probably paid him for that.  If you're studied for x years, with a little scaffolding from other teachers, you can start off teaching yourself, and the sooner you start the better.  You have to start at some point.  You develop from there.  Not all the students are going to survive, so you might as well take advantage of things and make sure you survive as a teacher.   People paid this guy for lessons when they could have paid someone way more serious about music for lessons.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline Bob

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #18 on: November 16, 2019, 12:57:29 AM »


Youtube autoplay....

I imagine people who took lessons from that guy may be quite happy with what they got.  They got a taste and then probably dropped it.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #19 on: November 29, 2019, 07:50:31 PM »
This part:
It's not a real TED talk.  It's a TEDx talk.
It took me a while to catch on that there is TEDx.  I still don't quite know how that works.  However, some years ago somebody came into PW or PS or both.  He had tried to learn piano on his own but had trouble learning how to read.  So he invented his own notation system which he could handle, rather than learning the theory or whatever to be able to read music.  Then patented his system, starting selling it (hence, coming onto whichever site) - dismissed any comment and concerns as I recall. Like: if I learn your reading system, then I am limited to repertoire that you have put out and the world's library of music is closed to me.  Like: minus the grammatical markers of music, it becomes a lot harder ultimately. ............ Fine, that happened. ......... Then one day I go on TED (or I thought it was), to see an expert; and here's the fellow who popped in to one of the forums because he couldn't figure out how to read music ... as an expert.

The PROBLEM is that if you do have something with some substance to it, and you have to submit to the event's "sell it this way, because this is what audiences want to hear", then you turn off those who might work seriously, and attract the other sillies.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #20 on: November 29, 2019, 07:52:42 PM »
Youtube autoplay....   [link]
I didn't know that TED talks were supposed to change people's behaviour.  Are they?

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #21 on: December 01, 2019, 01:30:55 PM »
I didn't know that TED talks were supposed to change people's behaviour.  Are they?

They are "supposed" to be more than mere entertainment, like youtube videos of kittens.  I think of them as offering insight or information, sometimes challenging thought.

Whether that changes behavior is an intriguing question. 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #22 on: December 02, 2019, 03:34:55 AM »
They are "supposed" to be more than mere entertainment, like youtube videos of kittens.  I think of them as offering insight or information, sometimes challenging thought.
That is how I saw them too.  However, Bob linked to one that was entitled "Why Ted Talks Don't Change People's Behaviours".  I had never thought  they were supposed to, in the first place.  I saw them as you do.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #23 on: December 02, 2019, 04:42:04 AM »
I haven't actually given an answer to this - the question in the text, and in the title.
Wanted to get y'alls opinion on this piano teaching TED Talk!

Instead of focusing on the Fundamentals first, we should focus on "easy wins" early on in the learning process to build motivation, and come back to the Fundamentals later.

There seems to be VERY mixed reactions I get from teachers, what do you think?
I am both teacher and student.  My music studies started as adult student.  My original explorations of music and instruments started as a young child.

I made notes of the presentation itself.  "I bet you can learn piano...." etc. - addressing people who think they can't, and sort of, that people think they can't (do stuff).  Referring to a "traditional" way (is there "a" traditional way) - the buggaboo.  We get a background that involved self-learning via Youtube, and later in the "secret sauce" part, it refers back to the self-learning.  I'll contend that secret sauce is actually the OPPOSITE of this (will explain later).  Attempts to "motivate" students to learn through practice charts, lesson discounts (why would a discount motivate practising?) - we don't know what/how students were taught. ....... We get a "traditional" way for Mary Had a Little Lamb (who says it's taught that way?) played in a boring manner; and the "secret sauce" together with the use of pedal, timing.  Ending with Youtube: information vs. motivation.  With an unproven supposition that people who gather information don't also use it.

That is the summary.

Quote
Instead of focusing on the Fundamentals first, we should focus on "easy wins"..
Ok, so that is what the Ted Talk was supposed to be about.  Got it.

My reaction, as someone who started lesson as an adult student is that I want the foundations .... FIRST!!!  My first lesson experience was ruined by exactly the attitude that is being proposed here.  Additionally, I was fascinated by foundations, or fundamentals, when I did encounter them, and wondered why I was being "deprived" of them.  I didn't know I was being "spared" until a longish time later.

Second point: Your own learning did not go the "secret sauce" way.  You hunted out every angle possible of piano learning from many sources, did some serious study and serious work along the way.  But students are supposed get these instant shortcutty cool things first. .... Btw, one thing we don't see your hands playing this.  The formula spans a 6th, we have 5 fingers.  There is some technique involved.

What you present as the "traditional" Mary Had a Little Lamb is just as shortcutty and mindless and instant.  What matters is the teaching of the material - what does a good teacher do with this?  "Traditional teaching" has to be coupled with actual, real teaching. Which is not as common as one would like to think.

In the dichotomy of motivation vs. information .... I opt for information.  I'll take care of my own motivation, thank you.  If I'm there taking a course as an adult, then I'm already motivated.

Putting on my teacher hat:  The public school system has gone way too much into "motivation" - for example, prefacing a math lesson with something about ferris wheels because kids like ferris wheels.  When I went from classroom teaching to "tutoring" (in fact, it was professional work, and real remediation, with effect) the kids told me over and over that they wanted the information - clearly presented.  Not gradually dribbled out in the "spiral method", hidden inside of stories - just give us the bleeping thing, so we have something to work with.  Secondly, they needed to learn how to organize themselves, how to study, how to prepare .... and they weren't getting that.

What I found - for them as for me - is that when you know how to do something, that is by itself motivation.

At any stage of piano the secret sauce would have been a turn-off for me.  And I don't particularly liked how it sounded with some of those melodies.

If you have solid, real things to teach, a presentation that suggests otherwise, is maybe not such a good idea.  ;)

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #24 on: December 02, 2019, 05:10:25 AM »
Having written all that I went and signed up for the free course, to see what's there.  It is organized, there is substance.

The problem is with the Ted Talk presentation.  With TedX themselves, apparently, also saying what kind of thing "people want to hear".

Offline ranjit

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #25 on: December 02, 2019, 06:17:51 AM »
keypeg -- You didn't bother your teacher with the motivation aspect because you had it very clear from the start.  It's not fair to assume most people do.  Even if they are clear that they want to learn the piano properly, I'd venture to say most people don't really know what it entails until they get into it.  Giving them some amount of motivation, and some easier pieces which also sound like real music (not Hanon!) is very important imo.  The stereotype that piano teachers make you do unmusical boring exercises is for a reason.  A lot of teachers are not like that, and since you have a really good teacher, most teachers you will encounter will also be quite good, but you should keep in mind that you are looking at a skewed sample.  Things like the "secret sauce" do help with beginner motivation.  You're in the minority of serious adult learners who are quite clear about their intent to learn classical piano, know what it entails, and have been shortchanged in the past, and it affects your viewpoint.

Also, the remedial math students who come to you are, again, intrinsically motivated. They know something's up, and want real solutions.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #26 on: December 02, 2019, 10:46:39 AM »
keypeg -- You didn't bother your teacher with the motivation aspect because you had it very clear from the start.  It's not fair to assume most people do.  Even if they are clear that they want to learn the piano properly, I'd venture to say most people don't really know what it entails until they get into it.
I didn't know what it entails either.  You are missing the point.  If a person is not given the tools and a good start, then they will have problems after a while.  They won't know why.  If a person starts with motivation, they lose it.  Or they are filled with despair.  I'd go home and cry in my pillow after a lesson, as a grown adult.  The OP, fortunately, doesn't actually teach the way it's present in that talk.  I'm relieved about  that.  "Motivating" in those ways is not motivating.
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  Giving them some amount of motivation, and some easier pieces which also sound like real music (not Hanon!) is very important imo. 
How did Hanon get into it?  You are now talking about repertoire.
Quote
The stereotype that piano teachers make you do unmusical boring exercises is for a reason.
The problem is teachers not knowing how to teach.  Going through routines, including well worn ones, is not teaching, but often presents as though it were.  "Exercises" are not boring if there is substance behind them, and "amazing" music is frustrating if you can't do it.  If you look at the OP's site, he teaches how to play a C arpeggio.  That could be a "boring exercise".  The same 3 notes up and down the piano.  HOW a thing is taught, and WHY is the point.
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  A lot of teachers are not like that, and since you have a really good teacher, most teachers you will encounter will also be quite good, but you should keep in mind that you are looking at a skewed sample.
I have a good teacher NOW.  And I am going through massive remediation on two instruments.  The other one I still don't touch on any regular basis.  And I still don't dare find a local teacher.
Quote
You're in the minority of serious adult learners who are quite clear about their intent to learn classical piano, know what it entails, and have been shortchanged in the past, and it affects your viewpoint. 
I had to look long and hard to find out what it entails.  I lost about 5 years of study with the first teacher.  I'm fighting to keep flexible: looking at cataract surgery and don't have the vision I had - not young, and my time was wasted.  I have been involved in my teacher's pedagogy, including observations about students coming in from elsewhere or starting lessons again, and how very hard bad beginnings make things, and have helped fellow students find their way from time to time.  All that affects my viewpoint.
Quote
Also, the remedial math students who come to you are, again, intrinsically motivated.
Their parents called me.  The kids were resigned that they were failures, usually, when I started to help them.  One student, in another subject area, when we first met it was at a kind of family council: parents, student about 12 - who said in clear terms that he did not want to have a tutor, he was tired of tutoring, and wanted to have nothing to do with me.  You were saying?  (This also turned out to be the best student I ever taught.)

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #27 on: December 02, 2019, 07:29:24 PM »
I can look at that TEDx talk in a number of ways.

If I think steady hard work vs quick wins, it seems just wrong.

If I think skip fundamentals and work on easy stuff, still wrong. 

But there's a sense where he has a point.  I'm thinking along the lines of Carol Dweck's work on Growth Mindset.  Traditional approaches so put too much emphasis on "talent," as traditional math approaches have on "intelligence."  A growth mindset suggests we can all succeed, and here are some paths that may work. 

Intensive technique approaches (play scales and Hanon two years before being allowed a tune) do produce good fundamentals, in that 1% who stay.  Maybe that's the boring traditional route. 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #28 on: December 03, 2019, 02:23:19 AM »
Traditional approaches so put too much emphasis on "talent," as traditional math approaches have on "intelligence."
I have trouble every time I read "traditional approach" like ... as if there is such a thing ... and if there is, emphasis on "talent"?  I think somewhere in there I wrote something about teaching.
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  A growth mindset suggests we can all succeed, and here are some paths that may work. 
Isn't that what teaching does?  A proper teacher won't necessarily use such words as "growth mindset" but that is what a good teacher does.

A very important thing to note is that what "he" presents is not necessarily what "he" does.  Learning to play a C major broken chord up and down the piano (one of the lessons) with good movement is pretty "traditional" and also makes sense.  The other is an unfortunate sales pitch.
Quote
Intensive technique approaches (play scales and Hanon two years before being allowed a tune) do produce good fundamentals, in that 1% who stay.   
I cannot see playing Hanon, or scales, as being a technique approach.  That's a kind of "repertoire" that can be done well, badly, boringly, ineffectively, and it's not technique unless technique is taught.  Repertoire is not technique.  Series of notes of any kind is not technique.
The Ted Talk alludes to "tradition" .... plays Mary had a Little Lamb, or some piece, in as boring a way as possible, calling it "tradition", and then plays the song with a different pattern, adding pedal and timing.  To compare anything, you would have to play Mary the "traditional" way, like a musician would, including pedal and timing - or play both versions as blandly as possible.

We need foundations.  The OP gives foundations. The talk ... I outlined the talk in summary, jumping all over the place, because it does .... is a talk.

Offline bcdil5

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #29 on: December 04, 2019, 07:21:27 PM »
I find it interesting how many opinions can circulate around when it comes to the "proper" versus "improper" way to teach.  I have taught for over 20 years many different ages and abilities of students - the ONLY thing I am picky about when it comes to starting a student is how their body looks at the piano, and their hand positioning (how they touch the piano).  Other than that, I find out what works with each student and go from there.  If a student already plays by ear, I NEVER take that away, I use it!  If the student is older and is ready to play something with substance, I take them there!  If a student needs to slow down, we do.  That is the MARVELOUS thing about teaching one on one.  Each student is allowed to be different and unique.  If something isn't working, we can change that as a teacher.  The moral of this story, I believe, is the willingness to be open to new ideas in teaching.  Teaching the same way for many, many years limits the kind of students a teacher can have.  Again, I teach all ages and abilities (from perfect pitch, reading hard
 music, playing by ear) to severely autistic (may never read music but enjoys making it). I will take what I have heard and see where it goes in my studio!  Thanks for the ideas!

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #30 on: December 05, 2019, 07:16:20 AM »
bcdil, I like what you wrote, and that is also what I'd want from a teacher.

I don't think, however, that anyone was talking about "proper".  The OP threw something out about "traditional" and presented the "magic sauce" as the antithesis of this "traditional", but to this day I don't know what that traditional is, or if there is such a thing.  I can imagine a decent teacher doing some very interesting things with that Mary Had a Little Lamb with the block chords that were presented as boringly as possible.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #31 on: December 10, 2019, 02:40:02 AM »
The obvious difference we should be aware of is that keystroke3 is teaching through the internet which is of course very different to those who teach in person. He also teaches on a large scale with so many students it is practically impossible to get to know each one personally and deal with each one individually.
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Offline pianoman53

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #32 on: December 10, 2019, 03:05:55 PM »
I agree on the fact that "fundamentals" sometimes gets in the way. The fact that you start on C, then add D, then B, then E and so on... that's incredibly boring and very unpedagogical. They are fully capable to play all over the keyboard already from lesson one, which will create a completely different interest than the "it has to be boring before it's fun"-approach..  but this guy's presentation is sooo obnoxious and cocky (and not a very competent pianist), so I actually didn't manage to watch the whole thing...

Offline keypeg

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Re: Piano TED Talk: Agree or Disagree??
«Reply #33 on: December 11, 2019, 01:21:38 AM »
The obvious difference we should be aware of is that keystroke3 is teaching through the internet which is of course very different to those who teach in person. He also teaches on a large scale with so many students it is practically impossible to get to know each one personally and deal with each one individually.
I have been studying exclusively over the Internet for more years now, than I did in person in a studio.  This includes one-on-one, on platforms where in many a teacher will give video feedback if you send in a video or question, but not always, and various courses and tutorials.  I also looked at the free portion of Keystroke's course, and was happy to see that it was more organized and sensible than what the Tedx presentation suggests.

He is actually suggesting to sneak in foundations, rather than to skip them.  It's the presentation itself that rubbed me the wrong way.

I have participated in some excellent courses that were done on-line.  You are right that it is a different style of teaching.  Among the attributes I saw in the very good ones:
- the video lessons were well planned out, with every element preplanned so that one could follow logically, excellent camera angles, no extraneous gestures like waving the hands about while talking or broken off gestures etc.
- the video lessons were accessible, organized, interrelated, "hung together"
- a video lesson will be studied over and over, while in a studio lesson, what your student got wrong, you can correct the next time
- supporting material like PDFs, maybe links to resources
- designed in such a way that a variety of people with varied backgrounds can use them

His course has some of those attributes, to varying degrees.  Of course, what gets taught also has to be right enough; a well presented nonsense is more than useless

Someone who has studied music over the Internet may have a better feel for that, when teaching that way.  It's a broad topic.