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A parent's questions (Read 551 times)

Offline julytwenty

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A parent's questions
« on: July 21, 2020, 07:35:27 PM »
Dear all,

I have a child who's interested in classic music and piano. My child has been learning for a while and doing great but something drove us (parents) to consider changing the piano teacher. The current teacher is half retired and mainly teaching for fun and we (parents with some basic music background) have concerns on the development. Mainly my kid's playing is not consistent (uneven sometimes, sound balance, rhythm is random)

After some survey, we tried another recommended teacher. After first lesson, my anxiety level surged. The new teacher request all the possible techniques to start with (scales, hanon, different rhythmic patterns) all with set speed goal. My child reacts fine (my child's words: can take that challenge) but I can't help to wonder:

1. Is it really necessary to focus on so much scales and hanon exercise? (A lot of pianists claimed they have never practiced those)
2. Is it really important to win lots of competitions. I found that seems to be the main focus these days (I've listened to a few children, they can play perfectly without making mistake but... it doesn't sound like music, worst, some of the performance look like monkey posing or dancing with no meaning...)
3. What is the best combination of learning, technique discipline and musicality....also competition, what is the purpose of that. (for getting into good college rather than for the love of music?)

Thank you for spending time reading this.

Worried parent.

Offline lowk-_-y

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Re: A parent's questions
«Reply #1 on: August 07, 2020, 10:58:57 PM »
Hard to answer fully but here are some general thoughts.

Scales are useful, mostly just because your child will encounter them in pieces and in the same way that chords are useful, they will help in aspects such as sight reading. Also a clear way to measure the dexterity of your child.

Hanon - potentially less useful. One of the key things that maybe you could ask your teacher is if they view technique and music as separate things. Benefits of hanon can easily be found by practicing actual pieces, allowing your child to develop technically without losing any enthusiasm for music due to being forced to practice dull exercises.

It is absolutely not important at all to win lots of competitions. Competitions (especially at that age) should be used only for a way to allow your child to get the experience of performing in front of an audience. Too much focus on winning creates a toxic link between your child and the music and as for getting into college, the panel will judge whether your child is an honest and expressive performer not whether he's an excellent competition robot.

As for the perfect combination... I probably can't answer that, just that all of the things that you listed should be linked. If your child learns to appreciate musicality then they will learn that the only way to achieve that is through hard work and that practice of technique is only there's so they can make better music.

 Hopefully the new teacher has some of these feelings.

Offline dogperson

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Re: A parent's questions
«Reply #2 on: August 08, 2020, 12:39:21 AM »
I took childhood lessons in the dark ages so Iím not sure how much is relevant these days but here is my story. Competitions? Didnít even know they existed. Scales, Hannon  and Czerny? Not until a few years after I started. Theory? Yes and loved it. I began to have two lessons per week: one for repertoire and one for theory.  The overriding theme was I never felt pressured and  I never lost my love of playing.  Did I learn a lot ? Absolutely yes but it was always geared around enjoyment and expression.

I donít think this was the only way to have lessons, But I urge you to pay attention to the signals from your child and make sure that the love of music is retained no matter what else may happen.  If you try competing and it doesnít seem to work for your child, drop them.  You know your child and you have a musical background.  Trust yourself.