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#14608 - 08/22/05 09:00 AM Re: What's the real point?
Natalia Huang Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 08/14/05
Posts: 88
Loc: New York, NY
My parents didn't let my brother stop piano when he wanted to because they felt that you can't just start something and not finish it. Not saying you can ever "finish" playing piano. Therefore, for students I have now, I explained learning piano is like learning anything in school. You don't stop learning science because you're not going to be a scientist.

When I am faced with the question, "Why does this have to be played better?" I simply answer, "Because I know you can. I wouldn't ask you to do something you are not capable of doing. If I push you to do better, it's because you're bright enough to do so." That answer has worked quite well for me right now. By letting them know that when we push them, it's because we care and that they should do their absolute best often encourages them to move forward.

Students should know that the skills they get from learning piano applies to everyday life. For example, if you are persistent in trying to finish playing a piece, it is likely that you can carry on this hardworking character into your future career. I let both the parents and students understand that. I think it's about trying to link music into everyday life that answers their "Why should I....?"

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#14609 - 08/22/05 02:11 PM Re: What's the real point?
Arlene Steffen Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/20/00
Posts: 2972
Loc: Fresno, CA USA
I don't know if I completely agree with Lisa. "It is not about us and our wants and needs. It is about the student's intrinsic motivation and their path, not ours. It is also about learning to eschew so-called Perfect Pedagogy and understanding the educational psychology components of motivation."

As in so many things, it is about balance. I do not think that most children know what is good for them or what they like in a broad sense because they have limited exposure.

I find that students are more motivated by success than anything else, including the pieces they play. I make sure that they feel success each step of the way.

One of my jobs as a teacher is to educate their taste. I do this by exposing them to a variety of music, but placing a focus on classical literature. That's why I attract the students that I have.

That being said, I am not the right teacher for every student. It's usually because the parents' goals differ from mine. But you know what? I don't have to teach every student! That's why it's valuable to a variety of teachers. There is someone for everyone.

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#14610 - 08/22/05 05:51 PM Re: What's the real point?
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Oh, I agree, Arlene, and think we're really on the same page - you know how us "stir the pot" people can be (and I include YOU in the club!) ;\) My comment needs to be put in the context of Gretchen's unique situation i.e. consequence here.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Arlene Steffen:
As in so many things, it is about balance. I do not think that most children know what is good for them or what they like in a broad sense because they have limited exposure.

I find that students are more motivated by success than anything else, including the pieces they play. I make sure that they feel success each step of the way.
That is exactly my point. If we are putting every student on the same classical path, with the same methods & courses & whatnots, then we are not Good Listeners and are probably letting our studios lean to the point of Unbalance. And if we set ourselves up to control every cotton pickin' thing a student touches so that we can "make" them successful, then we have set ourselves up as little gods, which never works. Ask any gardener how well that scenario fares (for the record, it does NOT!) - teaching works the same way.

There comes a time when teachers need to realize it is OK to step back and not be responsible for every single pickin' detail of stuff that happens in or out of a lesson. Sometimes when we are so intent on being perfect we get out of touch with where a student really is. And that's when we can get socked in the stomach with something we weren't expecting. The question is, do we let the ego take over and try to defend ourselves or do we see if there's a lesson to be learned in the Big Scheme of Things.

Getting back to GeeTee, what my advice really means is that maybe it might be a fun change for ya to be a little less like Cameron and a little more like Ferris. And 5 extra stickers, btw, to the teachers who can interpret what I'm talking about!

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#14611 - 08/23/05 07:22 AM Re: What's the real point?
Arlene Steffen Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/20/00
Posts: 2972
Loc: Fresno, CA USA
Ferris Bueller, of course!

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#14612 - 08/23/05 07:25 AM Re: What's the real point?
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Here's to a shout out for Arlene, the little Teacher's Pet! And an extra Godiva dark chocolate truffle for you for speediness... \:D

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#14613 - 08/23/05 09:22 AM Re: What's the real point?
NancyK Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/27/03
Posts: 644
Loc: North Dakota
You guys "crack me up".

I was thinking....in a classroom there is a curriculum the class follows....and a certain pace the class follows. However, we, teaching private piano lessons have the opportunity to tailor the curriculum to each individual, and should take advatage of it. That is largely what PRIVATE lessons are about. There are as many different personalities in teachers as in students and we each have our own style. It is evident everytime you talk with other teachers and it is obvious in seeing all the methods out there being used.There IS a ton of marketing and money making going on with these publishers (UGH). It IS a business, and there is wide variety of methods being used by equally good teachers. Now that I am working in our local sheet music store, I see this even more. We are not all the same and neither are our students. Finding a good match with teacher/student is important and the teacher finding a good match in materials for her/himself and the students in important. I tried for quite a while to narrow it down and use all the same materials and curriculum in the same way with every student. It didn't work. That's what spurred me into the hobby of studying methods and trying many. Some things remain constant in our teaching but others do not. Anyway..just further thought.
Lisa and Arlene..it seems you ARE saying much the same thing. Lisa I totally agreed with your post right after my previous one.

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#14614 - 08/23/05 11:10 AM Re: What's the real point?
Arlene Steffen Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/20/00
Posts: 2972
Loc: Fresno, CA USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Lisa Kalmar:
Here's to a shout out for Arlene, the little Teacher's Pet! And an extra Godiva dark chocolate truffle for you for speediness... \:D
I'll send you my address. I'm ready to redeem my prize! \:\)

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#14615 - 08/23/05 02:35 PM Re: What's the real point?
Deborah T. Freeman Offline
Contributing Member

Registered: 08/22/01
Posts: 32
Loc: South Carolina
 Quote:
Originally posted by NancyK:
I tried for quite a while to narrow it down and use all the same materials and curriculum in the same way with every student. It didn't work.
Exactly, "the teacher is the method"....... ;\)

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