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Topic: Leaving your teacher  (Read 2637 times)

Offline stormx

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Leaving your teacher
on: April 25, 2005, 06:36:36 PM
Hi !!

I wonder how do you tell your teacher that you leave (to try with another one), without sounding rude?

PD:
Not that i am planning to change my teacher right now, but i want to try with a different one in the near future...

Offline torchygirl

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #1 on: April 25, 2005, 06:55:10 PM
Oops - partial message posting deleted.   :-[

Offline torchygirl

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #2 on: April 25, 2005, 06:57:05 PM
Stormx, can you explain why you want to leave your teacher?  I personally can be overly sensitive, but I also hate lying (from or to anyone - omissions sometimes excluded).  Hence, I would try to explain the real reason in as kind of a light as possible.  There is almost always some way to do it.

Karen

Offline stormx

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #3 on: April 25, 2005, 07:44:26 PM
Karen:

There are a couple of things i do not like from my teacher:

1- HE DOES NOT PLAY IN FRONT OF ME:o :o

That is, he makes me play and corrects me (he has a very good ear and gives sound advices), but i am unable to make him play (except for some very simple pieces we play 4 hands).
As a matter of fact, i suspect he cannot really play the pieces i am studying (he does not seem a very good sight-reader, by the way). And i am talking about BEGINNER pieces (most advanced being "Fur Elise").
What better way to show how something should sound than to play it? I have no doubt that he can very quickly learn those beginner pieces, but he does not spend the time because HE DOES NOT NEED TO PLAY THEM!!!

2- He does not seem to know a true repertoire for beginners...he insists on giving me Hanon, Czerny, Beyer, and all that boring stuff. So, i have to negociate to make some of those excercises and some the pieces i enjoy to play (that are at my reach).

3- He does not teach me any harmony theory (i am in my 6° month). I have no idea what chord i am playing, or why this chord is usually followed by that other chord, etc etc



Of course, i am just emphasizing those aspects i do not like. There are also some positive aspects i really appreciate, like:

1- Very good ear (he does not miss a single of my frequent mistakes).

2- Very attentive during the class.

3- He is very experienced.

4- He insists on the musicality side of the piece.

5- He is a perfectionnist. He is never trully satisfied, wanting allways to improve some aspect of the piece, an approach i really like.


But, after all, i did not say i was planning to leave him very soon !!!

mikeyg

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #4 on: April 25, 2005, 08:10:16 PM
1- HE DOES NOT PLAY IN FRONT OF ME:o :o

That is, he makes me play and corrects me (he has a very good ear and gives sound advices), but i am unable to make him play (except for some very simple pieces we play 4 hands).
As a matter of fact, i suspect he cannot really play the pieces i am studying (he does not seem a very good sight-reader, by the way). And i am talking about BEGINNER pieces (most advanced being "Fur Elise").
What better way to show how something should sound than to play it? I have no doubt that he can very quickly learn those beginner pieces, but he does not spend the time because HE DOES NOT NEED TO PLAY THEM!!!



Have you ever asked him to play for you?  I've asked my piano teacher to play a bunch of times, and she always obliged (although she is very experienced and talented)

2- He does not seem to know a true repertoire for beginners...he insists on giving me Hanon, Czerny, Beyer, and all that boring stuff. So, i have to negociate to make some of those excercises and some the pieces i enjoy to play (that are at my reach).

I wish my first teacher had started me on this...  :'(
He never did, until like the last 2 weeks I was with him and he was like  "oh, these things are great, you should play them."

Offline torchygirl

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #5 on: April 25, 2005, 11:39:37 PM
Stormx,

Oooh, I can see why you're feeling some longings to look about.  But, maybe you could express some of your feelings to him.  Keep in mind:

1.  An honest compliment first makes the listener more receptive.
2.  You can almost always state things in a non-blaming way.


For example, you might say on your way out,  "Thank you for being so attentive, I really like it how you notice everything.  It really helps my playing.  But I'm really hoping that next week you could play a Fur Elise for me.  I  would like to see how you <finger, express it, handle this passage, put everything together, ...>."  (That gives him a week so he doesn't need to sight-read it totally.)

Get a feel for how willing he would be.  I mean, you're only going to get better, and the pieces are only going to get harder.  So now's the time to see what he can do or how he thinks about this.  (Now my piano teacher is an excellent pianist, and I think she *can't wait* to get to the piano where she sight-reads everything on the spot or, in the case of Fur Elise, played it from memory.)  I think wanting a teacher to do this is a very reasonable expectation.   

You can also share this website, or print out some of the articles for him to read.  You might want to say that from your readings you've learned that doing Hanon has caused a lot of injuries.  And although my teacher attempts to teach me a bit of theory now that I told her I wanted to learn it, it's something I am doing more on my own (search for good books on this website).  You might do this and then maybe ask him questions about it. 

I don't know how old you are stormx, but these things are easier to broach with age and experience.  If you don't feel comfortable saying these things to him face to face, you might try a phone call or write a note.  It sounds like this teacher has enough to offer you that you want to give him every opportunity to fulfill your needs.  And if he doesn't, I think explaining what you need in a teacher is a gracious way to end your lessons together ("I really have enjoyed working with you, but I really feel I need a teacher who <will play for me, shares my views on excercises, ...>  I am sad to go, but feel I must.")

Something along those lines anyway.   Hope this helps!

Karen

Offline etudes

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #6 on: April 25, 2005, 11:46:06 PM
am not sure about teacher that never play for a pupil
well maybe the reason that he doesnt want you to copy his way maybe he wants you to find out your own best way.  ;)
but infact that if he is very experienced. so fur elise shouldnt be any problem for him
and about harmony you can ask him like why it goes that way (in the music) why we have to make crescendo here (in theory way) how the chords progression is going and you can learn from him
regards
Piano = my life
My life = piano

Offline CJ Quinn

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #7 on: April 28, 2005, 01:38:10 PM
As others have said, discuss your concerns with him.  You have to trust yourself to some degree, if the teacher is not inspiring you then you risk losing interest.

Christopher James Quinn
Brooklyn, Earth

Piano: August Förster 190

mp3s: www.media.cjquinn.com

My Miraculous Brooklyn Piano Teacher:  https://www.racheljimenez.com

Offline nicko124

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #8 on: April 29, 2005, 09:41:28 PM
After reading these posts i am so grateful that i have a good teacher who is good at sightreading and offers the best advice. For every passage that i ever get stuck on he generates a excersize to help me.

If i did have a teacher who was not good enough i would feel bad telling them the truth: that i wanted to find a new better teacher. That just seems so harsh to me.
Than again i have the personality where i sometimes lie to people (in a nice way) to not tell them they are bad at something-----unless i have a way of helping them improve.

In this situation i would probably have to lie to the teacher and say that i am quitting piano studies for a made up reason. This could be something like work is stressful at the moment and i haven't any time to practice. Of course this is dishonest as i wouldn't be quitting piano but qutting with the teacher and finding a more suitable teacher.

It's a tough situation that you are in but that is how i would deal with it. In the first place i probably would have an idea of what criteria the teacher needs to fulfill. I would find this out in the first meeting.

Offline pianonut

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #9 on: April 29, 2005, 11:36:08 PM
move to a new location.  (then secretly move back)  or, move to pennsylvania and go to wcu.  i can't say enough good things about the teachers here.  all the piano teachers (and organ teacher) are great!  they often perform recitals and they DO play for you at lesson.

they are building a new music building, too, so it's not all old and musty anymore.  in fact, they are putting a lot of money into the new building, and new steinways in every practice room (that's what i heard anyway)!

do you know why benches fall apart?  it is because they have lids with little tiny hinges so you can store music inside them.  hint:  buy a bench that does not hinge.  buy it for sturdiness.

Offline etudes

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #10 on: April 30, 2005, 12:13:13 AM
i dont really know your teacher
but if i really want to leave teacher
i would say with him that i wanna leave
and i think my teacher is fair enough for that if i have really reason to change
Piano = my life
My life = piano

Offline galonia

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #11 on: April 30, 2005, 10:23:30 AM
1- HE DOES NOT PLAY IN FRONT OF ME:o :o

2- He does not seem to know a true repertoire for beginners...he insists on giving me Hanon, Czerny, Beyer, and all that boring stuff. So, i have to negociate to make some of those excercises and some the pieces i enjoy to play (that are at my reach).

3- He does not teach me any harmony theory (i am in my 6° month). I have no idea what chord i am playing, or why this chord is usually followed by that other chord, etc etc


OK, I wouldn't have thought those are good reasons to leave your teacher, for the following reasons:

1. My teachers have never played for me - usually the only time they need to play at all is to demonstrate a movement that I have not understood.  Or else they will play a short passage so that I can hear the quality of sound they want me to achieve.  When I used to teach piano, I found very little reason to play for my students, too.

2. Some teachers are quite set in their philosophy of the way you should achieve your goals.  But if your teacher is allowing you to negotiate repertoire as well as exercises, then it could be that he is not suggesting repertoire because he thinks you are managing quite well in picking things you want to play.  Again, when I used to teach, I wished that students would suggest their own pieces - when you ask most students what they want to play, you get a blank look, a shrug, and an "I don't know"

3. A lot of piano teachers are performance teachers - they won't teach anything apart from how to get on stage and play everything beautifully.  My teacher is like this - we only talk about playing and the sound and how to perform - we would never discuss the theory side of things.  I have to go to another teacher for that.  Ask your teacher (or ask his other students) if this is the case with him, and if you need to learn this other stuff, go to another teacher for it.

I would leave a teacher for the following reasons:

1. We do not get along as people.  Hard to concentrate on the work at hand if we are always concentrating on maintaining a civil relationship.

2. The teacher cannot help me achieve my goals - whether it's because they refuse (my first teacher only teaches to a certain standard, then you have to leave), or they are unable to (e.g. they do not have the know-how), or the aims of the teacher are different to mine, or whatever.

In the first instance, the teacher would probably be relieved if I said I'm leaving.  In the second, you can just be honest and let the teacher know that your needs aren't being met, and any reasonable person will not take it personally.

Offline Glyptodont

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #12 on: May 03, 2005, 03:57:15 PM
Stormx--

I think one reason my teacher does not play is because my lessons are just 30 minutes.  To save time, sometimes she will say at the end of the lesson, "just play pages 2 & 3 for me next week, I already know you can play page 1."  This is, I think, intended to get further in the half hour. 

She will reach over with her right hand and play sometimes to demonstrate something, like a mordant. 

My teacher is terrifically old.  I am 64, and she looked old when I took lessons from her in about 1990.  She must be about 85, at a guess.  Her fingers appear to be in good shape, but possibly her "mechanics" are impaired my age -- ?

The important thing to me is that I play the material.  I could not give a straw if the teacher can play the material.  If she played it much better than me, I would probably feel awful!

Good luck--

Offline ujos3

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #13 on: May 03, 2005, 06:04:07 PM
Hi

I am not sure it is so important that teacher plays for you: you have recordings, your teacher tells you when something does not work well, technically and from musical point of view.

Sometimes it has helped me when my teacher plays something so i understand better what he means, but usually it is also good when he says "more bass line" or "too loud" , and then I try my best then till i get a good sound.

I would not worry so much about him playing for you, may be ask yourself if he is making you playing better, sound better and hear better.

Also, I dont think harmony theory is so so important, you can get the harmonic ideas and developpment from a musical point of view without giving "names" to all the structures.

I say all that because your teacher seems to have good qualities (besides i don't like so many exercises). If you leave him may be you won't find something better. If you don't want to play technical exercises, however, I recommend to change your teacher because how you spend your time is the most important thing.







Offline kilini

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #14 on: May 03, 2005, 06:06:57 PM
Your teacher sounds better than mine. :( That's sad. Fortunately I'm going to college and leaving her forever, hopefully.

I have one phrase: talk to him. If he's experienced, he should be able to understand you.

Offline tenn

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Re: Leaving your teacher
Reply #15 on: May 03, 2005, 09:35:23 PM
My teacher rarely plays but that's ok. She listens attentively and doesn't let me away with much. I think my 1/2 hr lesson would be wasted if she started playing.

On the question of how to leave, there may not be a foolproof right way. It may depend on the teacher. I had a private teacher and wanted to go to a college where I could get theory tuition as well. I actually thought she'd be delighted for me when I passed the audition. Not a bit of it. "So you're just dumping me after all I've done for you and for no reason." So I just kept my trap shut and slinked out like a criminal.

Ah well
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