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#14268 - 07/07/01 01:14 PM from work to play
cecilly Offline
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Registered: 04/11/01
Posts: 779
Loc: Illinois
As the summer progresses, I continue to fret over the fact that my daughter (11 yrs. old) who has taken piano lessons for 4 yrs, practically never thinks to go to the piano just to play for fun. Right now her teacher is taking a little break, so my daughter has the idea she doesn't "have" to practice. Now, we hardly ever have the TV on, she has no electronic games, and she is often by herself (only child and not too many neighborhood kids to play with). At times, she'll complain about being soooo bored, nothin to do, etc. etc. Yet, she'll never think to occupy herself at the piano just playing some fun stuff. I play all the time for this reason but my modeling has no effect. She can play pretty well (early intermediate level), is very musical, loves to sing and dance, and I know enjoys playing her pieces for recitals.

Why will she fall into the pits of total boredom and still fail to see the piano as a way out?

Any ideas to motivate her in this way? As her parent but not her piano teacher, I find the motivational thing to be rather complicated.

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#14269 - 07/07/01 01:51 PM Re: from work to play
Rhapsody Offline
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Registered: 11/19/00
Posts: 2329
Cecilly,

Maybe she'd like something where she can interact with someone. How about a piano duet with you? Or getting her some MIDI or CD accompaniments so she doesn't feel that playing the piano is so solitary.

It's possible she just feels that she needs a break or maybe her piano study is so structured that she doesn't know what to play unless it is assigned. Buy her some new books of piano music that you think she'd like and put them in a conspicuous spot. Start humming or, better yet, singing one of the tunes to help inspire her. A great song to get anyone playing is Irving Berlin's "I Love a Piano." Try it, maybe she'll like it.
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There is no cure for boring.

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#14270 - 07/07/01 01:56 PM Re: from work to play
OKMusician Offline
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Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 602
Loc: Oklahoma
Cecilly, have you tried getting her a new book of "fun stuff" just below her level? I used to do that with my sons when we had breaks in lessons. Sometimes it worked, sometimes not. I think that students sometimes just need a breather and it may be good to not play for a few weeks. Then they can attack again with renewed interest. Maybe she'd enjoy a CD of piano music (something like Jim Brickman-he's popular with my teenage girl students). That might inspire her to sit down and play something similar. I also found sometimes my sons felt a little more pressure to be "good pianists" because mom taught and played well. Just some random thoughts--hope some of them help.
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#14271 - 07/07/01 02:48 PM Re: from work to play
Shanna Offline
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Registered: 04/18/01
Posts: 43
Loc: Florida
Cecilly, I agree with encouraging her to play a Duet or the Midi stuff. Maybe, it's the interaction she's craving. Also, when buying her some "fun" music, leave it out on the piano instead of "putting it in the bench" when she's done. That way it's not "out of sight, out of mind". Also, there are some great musical websites for kids you might have her check out. Try www.childrensmusic.org/pipsqueaks.html. Under the title "Create" there is a story called "Get inspired by Hannah Hoose". It's about a little girl who began composing music at around age four. I assigned this to all my students with web access and they all really enjoyed it.

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#14272 - 07/09/01 08:49 AM Re: from work to play
Musica Offline
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Registered: 02/27/01
Posts: 259
Loc: Montreal, Qc, Canada
Cecilly, I can relate to your story. When I was taking lessons many moons ago, my teacher never taught in the summer. As someone else mentioned my teacher's lessons were very structured that when I was on my own I didn't know what to do. During the summer I never touched the piano, never really thought about it unless my mother nagged me to death, I don't believe I thought of it as something fun to do to pass my time. My cousin used and still plays guitar and he began lending me pieces of Italian pop music that I really enjoyed listening to. I was lucky to have a music store down the street and since I was old enough to go on my own I did I started buying my own sheet music. My summers were no longer the same. I used to take the summers to discover other types of music other than classical which is what my teacher focused on solely.

Perhaps take your daughter to the local music store, have her browse and choose some music she may like to play. Some maybe pop and some of her pickings may even surprise her. If the store has a piano she can sit down and try the song beforehand.

Perhaps in a nonchalant way bring it up in discussion "I haven't heard you play in awhile, I sure miss it." Perhaps ask why she hasn't touched the piano. Maybe she just needs a break, so don't push it. Our local universities offer music camps for 2 weeks and up (not sleep overs) this may interest her.

I wouldn't worry about too much, she'll come around on her own if she truly loves playing the piano.

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#14273 - 07/09/01 09:26 AM Re: from work to play
cecilly Offline
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Registered: 04/11/01
Posts: 779
Loc: Illinois
Thanks guys for the suggestions. Unfortunately, as a teacher, I have loads of duet books, pop books, you name it I've got it. And so does my daughter or at least she has easy access to them. What stumps me is that when she actually does sit down to play (at my insistance usually), she really does seem to enjoy herself (at least music that's learned and not really needing to be worked on). It's kind of like doing a puzzle. If she had a choice of what to do on a rainy day and TV/computer games were not an option, but say reading, drawing, and putting a puzzle together were available options, she'd NEVER choose the puzzle. However, if I get a puzzle out and get it started and draw her into the activity, she begins to get into it and ends up enjoying it. She's just not a self starter I suppose with certain things.
I read once in a parenting book, that sometimes parents jump in too soon to assist our kids in choosing or getting started in an activity or helping them entertain themselves, often to the point where they actually lose their own resourcefulness in occupying themselves. Instead parents should turn off and remove all extrinsic passive entertainment devices and allow the kids to get so bored to the point they WILL choose more active kinds of things to do.
I just wonder about my own students tho. How many look at playing the piano as an absolute last resort activity? I don't think I really want to find out the answer \:\)

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#14274 - 07/09/01 03:48 PM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I think there's some truth in what you said about parents jumping in to fill their children's time. My kids & I are starting on a soap crafting project, & my husband takes them swimming, to the movies, etc. every weekend (btw, Jason, they loved the Shrek movie). But for the most part, we're at home with nothing special planned. I've noticed that Piano Kid, who most of the time has to be made to practice, ends up going to the piano (without being told) about 3-4 times a day. It's probably out of boredom; but at least she's practicing daily without me having to fight with her. Also, I do believe she likes it better when she takes the initiative to go practice, rather than being told what to do & when to do it. I sort of let her choose most of her own repertoire these days, which I'm sure is a piano teaching "no-no," but she still likes classical music enough that she's still working on pieces that are good for her; & it sure beats having her quit piano lessons. The big battle I have with her is getting her to do written theory work. That's where she's a royal pain in the you-know-what!

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#14275 - 07/09/01 06:21 PM Re: from work to play
Janice Offline
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Registered: 01/19/01
Posts: 565
Loc: Newalla, Oklahoma, USA
Jalapeno, you know you are going to go through alot of "pain in the----" in the next few years. \:D My thoughts are with you.
One thing that might be fun and not expensive is--make stepping stones. You can buy several shapes of already made ones at Lowe's, etc. and use acrylic paint that you get at the craft store (the cheaper the better) I made several 3 years ago and used stencils and then I traced some from coloring books using grafite carbon paper. They have been in the rain, sun,hail, and snow \:D and they still look okay. Also, if you want to go on you can get pea gravel and let them separate the stones and make patterns by gluing the stones with Liquid Nails then fill in with grout that can stay outside. All of that is really cheap and goes along way. My grandsons loved it. You can make your own stepping stones with ready mix concrete but you have to like mixing concrete in a tub.

This is just another thing to keep YOU busy but I really have fun with it too.

It's hot here--I know it's hot there.

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#14276 - 07/09/01 06:50 PM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Thanks, Janice. I'll keep that in mind. Yes, it's a lot of work for me, but it sure beats listening to them complain that they don't have enough to do! Sometimes I feel like doing what my mother did with me. I didn't dare say I was bored--she'd find something for me to do--chores. ;\)

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#14277 - 07/10/01 08:59 AM Re: from work to play
OKMusician Offline
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Registered: 03/01/01
Posts: 602
Loc: Oklahoma
Jalapeno, I too was a great "chore provider". My kids learned very early to NEVER say the "B word" or I got my windows cleaned or the bathroom scrubbed!!! They may have been lots of things growing up, but bored was not in their vocabulary! Of course living in the country, there were always forts to build, walks to take, animals to play with and they loved sports so they would go out and practice dribbling their soccer ball or shooting baskets. They were never allowed to watch tv or play video games much so they learned to find their own entertainment.
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#14278 - 07/10/01 09:23 AM Re: from work to play
Vivace' Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 1717
Loc: USA
Janice

My grandchildren want to come play at your house! All of you are so creative with making the stepping stones and the soap!
I tried to make a wreath ONCE - After about 30 minutes, I gathered up everything, threw it in the trash and went shopping for one.
Why am I so impatient with crafts? Must be my (not fun) rational temperament or something. \:\(
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Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,and never stop learning." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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#14279 - 07/10/01 01:24 PM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
 Quote:
Originally posted by Vivace:
Janice

My grandchildren want to come play at your house! All of you are so creative with making the stepping stones and the soap!
I tried to make a wreath ONCE - After about 30 minutes, I gathered up everything, threw it in the trash and went shopping for one.
Why am I so impatient with crafts? Must be my (not fun) rational temperament or something. \:\(


You sound just like me! I purchased silk flowers, along with a book of instructions, so that I could make my own arrangements for my wedding. Well, I cut the stems the correct length & followed the instructions to the letter (or at least I thought I did!), but my arrangements looked like ****. I was about to throw the whole mess in the trash when my dear, sweet husband walked in the room, took one look at the pictures in the book, & said, "I can do that!" I told him to go ahead, 'cuz I was obviously not getting anywhere. :rolleyes: In a matter of minutes (no lie, folks! minutes!), he had finished all the arrangements, & they looked exactly like the illustrations in the book! The only thing I could figure is that since he's so good at math, perhaps he has an eye for symmetry or something. Beats me how he did it so fast & so well. I felt a little bit incompetent, to say the least. I decided that floral arranging is not my forte. ;\)

The reason I think I can make soap is because it's very much like baking, which I can already do very well. Plus I don't have to go out & buy a bunch of equipment & supplies that I'll be stuck with if my projects don't turn out right. ;\)

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#14280 - 07/10/01 01:53 PM Re: from work to play
Vivace' Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 1717
Loc: USA
You're probably right because I don't mind spending hours repairing my toilet or replacing the belt on my clothes dryer. Maybe I thought the wreath wasn't important enough - who knows?
I'm just happy to have creative people around to make things beautiful \:\)
_________________________
Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,and never stop learning." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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#14281 - 07/10/01 03:54 PM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Well, I can tell you right out front that a wreath would not be important enough to me to slave over. Very few craft projects are, IMO. I'd rather just go to the store & buy something ready-made. I may end up getting a wreath as a present anyway. My sister in CA is thinking about doing some sort of wreath that you make with fabric (sewing). She loves to sew, so for her it sounds like the perfect craft. I, on the other hand, know how to sew (my mom was a prof. seamstress & taught all of us girls how to sew) but just hate to do it. My mother also loves to work in the garden, & I have a sister who has followed in her footsteps with that. Me? I'm the "impractical" one who spends so much time playing the piano, which of course in my family is not considered to be all that useful--until someone in the family decides to get married & my services are needed! ;\)

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#14282 - 07/10/01 08:27 PM Re: from work to play
Janice Offline
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Registered: 01/19/01
Posts: 565
Loc: Newalla, Oklahoma, USA
Don't be too impressed with me. I do many things by accident and I am not a "craft" person anymore. I do like the outdoor things but again, many times it is just an accident they turn out. I'm not much for cutsy (?) things from craft fairs anymore. I have collected too much and need to get rid of things. I am very intrigued by pottery making and sculpturing but the one thing I tried make was a rabbit that turned out looking like a strange dog.
By the way, my little rabbit Chelsea is sick and I have been taking her to the vet. I don't know how it is going to turn out but she's in a very bad mood. It is so hot here. I wouldn't want to be a rabbit. Sorry, off subject.

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#14283 - 07/10/01 09:19 PM Re: from work to play
Rhapsody Offline
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Registered: 11/19/00
Posts: 2329


Janice,

I hope Chelsea recovers quickly. Imagine how hot she must get under all that bunny fur. I can barely survive in temperatures above 72 degrees and I only have skin.

Although I have quite a collection of music and a few wonderful decorative accessories, I've never wanted many "craftsy" or "knicky-knacky" things. My mother and favorite sister started buying me lots of little "dust-catchers" not long after I first left home. I, perhaps not in my most sweet and demure way, told them I really didn't like that sort of stuff. \:o Of course, later if I ever mentioned liking anything remotely along those lines, I had to hear "But I thought you didn't like that stuff." What I liked and what they selected for me on their own were vastly different, but they just didn't seem to understand.

Two of my sisters sometimes go to crafts fairs and try to sell some of their handiwork. These events sound like pure torture to me, but they really seem to enjoy making all sorts of little crafts and milling around with the customers and often buy more than they sell. I guess belonging to such a craftsy family, it took a while for me to realize how much I really dislike doing this sort of thing. I used to make special toys for newborn babies of friends and family and some of them were greatly appreciated and rather cute if I do say so myself. One favorite was a tiny little crocheted banana made with nothing other than yellow yarn so it was easily washable. I think my best effort was a small baby bed pillow with an extremely soft cotton cover on which I machine embroidered various classical composers names. My pianist friend love it and after that I retired from crafts figuring I could never top it.

Now I give CDs or audio tapes of Rubenstein playing Chopin Nocturnes and Waltzes. It's easier for me and no baby has complained yet.

[ July 10, 2001: Message edited by: Rhapsody ]
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#14284 - 07/11/01 06:10 AM Re: from work to play
sdps Offline
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Registered: 01/03/01
Posts: 316
Loc: Whitehouse, Texas USA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Rhapsody:
Two of my sisters sometimes go to crafts fairs and try to sell some of their handiwork. These events sound like pure torture to me, but they really seem to enjoy making all sorts of little crafts and milling around with the customers and often buy more than they sell. [ July 10, 2001: Message edited by: Rhapsody ]



Imagine what THEY must think of teaching piano lessons...sitting inside all day, listening to student after student playing less than advanced music (and classical at that...to some people that is pure torture!), listening to incorrect notes.
\:D

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#14285 - 07/11/01 07:00 AM Re: from work to play
Janice Offline
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Registered: 01/19/01
Posts: 565
Loc: Newalla, Oklahoma, USA
sdps, that is very true. Isn't it nice that everyone can do what they enjoy? I use to love to sew but as I get older, I just don't want to be confined! Actually, it just depends on which personality has kicked in. \:D (That's what my husband says, anyway) :rolleyes: Everytime my daughter comes she comments on how much "stuff" I have and now I am beginning to see it but I am very sentimental. I am trying to be better.

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#14286 - 07/11/01 07:13 AM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
 Quote:
Originally posted by sdps:

Imagine what THEY must think of teaching piano lessons...sitting inside all day, listening to student after student playing less than advanced music (and classical at that...to some people that is pure torture!), listening to incorrect notes.
\:D


Snicker, snicker! So true. \:D

But at least our "artwork" doesn't collect dust! Like I said in one of my previous posts, my talent is very much appreciated when someone in the family gets married. I always wonder how many people realize that you can't perform that way without practicing regularly... :rolleyes: I really believe that's the main reason that most people who sign up for piano lessons end up dropping out. They see people performing, & it all looks so easy. They don't stop to consider how much work is involved. Yes, we pianists love the work. To us, the work is fun. But to someone who's not really "into" it, I imagine it seems like pure drudgery & therefore not worth doing. I feel that way about knitting & crocheting! ;\)

Rhapsody, I'm not keen on going to craft fairs, so I imagine it would be pure torture for me to sit out there all day long just to make a few cents. Still, I imagine you could meet a lot of interesting people that way. ;\)

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#14287 - 07/11/01 07:37 AM Re: from work to play
Lisa Kalmar Offline
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Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
Janice,

Sorry to hear about your wee bunny. I remember seeing a story on the news one time here some people bought a teensy kiddy pool during the dog days of summer. They had a H U G E rabbit that just lolled about in the pool until the weather changed. Might this work?

Since I'm already totally off the topic, let me add I'm having massive problems with sending both my new and old email, including the Piano Club private messaging, the Total Horror, but I haven't had the time to force a Teen Unit to help straighten this mess out. That's not necessarily all bad, because I've used the time to work around the house. :rolleyes: \:D Oops, I digress from the already digressing topic - anyhoo, I'm thinkin' of just pickin' up the phone and calling you JVee. Would you think I'm weird if I do that?

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#14288 - 07/11/01 08:36 PM Re: from work to play
Janice Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 01/19/01
Posts: 565
Loc: Newalla, Oklahoma, USA
Lisa, I would love it! I am usually in the house by 8:00pm and I stay up late.
Chelsea is doing better and will be fine except for her bad mood. Today I was told she had to move in the house until her eye heals. What rabbit do you know has their own bedroom? She's in a cage and still remembers the litter training from when she was a baby but now I wonder if she will be able to go back outside until the heat is over. I'm not ready for this. At least she is quiet. Believe it or not, rabbits have a voice and she is using it. The vet smiled and said I think she's saying I love you. (I don't think so) She just grumbles. I miss the sweet bunny she was.

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#14289 - 07/11/01 09:06 PM Re: from work to play
Rhapsody Offline
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Registered: 11/19/00
Posts: 2329
Janice,

Aside from Chelsea's annoyance with the heat, her eye problem and being given eye drops 5 times a day, plus seeing the Vet more than once within a few days time, do you think part of her grumpiness could be because she misses her bunny friends you gave away? I don't know how friendly she was with them, but even though I was not that fond of many of my relatives and dreaded their visits when I was a child, after they were gone I somehow felt a bit lonely. This passed quickly for me, but maybe Chelsea actually liked your other bunnies. Just a thought... \:D
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#14290 - 07/12/01 06:44 AM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Maybe she needs a male rabbit friend (though you'd soon be stuck with more bunnies!) ;\)

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#14291 - 07/12/01 08:07 AM Re: from work to play
Janice Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 01/19/01
Posts: 565
Loc: Newalla, Oklahoma, USA
Rhapsody, thanks for the concern about Chelsea. She never knew the other bunnies (in a little more uppity class, you know ;\) ) She lived a total different part of the yard. She never once rubbed noses with them. As far as a male friend--this is my little girl you're talking about! hee hee Actually it's tooo hot to have baby bunnies and right now in her mood she might do in a guy rabbit. In the rabbit world, if a female doesn't like the male at mating time, she can kill him. The female is the one who calls the shots. (This was info from two rabbit experts) It happens in the rodent world. (experienced it in the gerbal world - long story)
I am sure her eye just hurts and she doesn't understand pain. I have told her if she doesn't get in a better mood after she is well, start packing!



[ July 12, 2001: Message edited by: Janice ]

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#14292 - 07/12/01 10:10 AM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Too bad females don't call the shots in the human world! ;\)

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#14293 - 07/12/01 10:17 AM Re: from work to play
Jason Offline
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Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
It's always struck me that music's a pretty odd field when it comes to gender/race.

The concert pianists and teachers tend to be male, the teachers tend to be women, the students (at least at the college level) tend to be asian, and the Russians tend to win all the competitions.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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#14294 - 07/12/01 10:52 AM Re: from work to play
Lilla C Offline
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Registered: 06/06/01
Posts: 48
Loc: Chicago
I've been running a little test in my small studio - my contest winners (attendance, perfect performance, assignments complete, etc., etc.) are always the Asians. Likewise at our local high school almost the entire top 10% is Asian. One of my Asian students is just going into high school. This student is taking her second junior college math course on the side, for no credit. Also taking multiple instrument lessons. All with no prodding from parents - entirely self-motivated. I don't know what it is, but it is unmistakably there. I will admit though that this particular transfer student came to me reading and counting beautifully, but mechanically. I have worked hard and successfully getting her to bring out feeling in her music. When I demonstrate the difference, she can pick it up in a week or so. If I don't demonstrate, she reverts to mechanical. As opposed to my worst-reading student who never wins a contest, but who plays beautifully by ear and composes lovely pieces. Hmmmm. Something to think about. Lilla

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#14295 - 07/12/01 11:58 AM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
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Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
There was an article in Clavier regarding an interview with a piano teacher (can't remember her name right off the top of my head, sorry!) who has taught successfully in Japan. In her comparisons of Japanese & American students, she said that Japanese students are way ahead technically, but that American students are far more creative. I imagine that it has a lot to do with what society expects. Let's face it. Doing a top-notch job, striving for perfection, or whatever you want to call it, is not an ideal that most Americans try to reach. And I'd venture to say (I could be wrong, so please don't throw cyberbricks, okay?) that most Japanese people don't value creativity & individualism as much as Americans do. I always wonder why few people manage to find a good balance; i.e., excellence in performance coupled with creative expression.

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#14296 - 07/12/01 12:18 PM Re: from work to play
Rhapsody Offline
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Registered: 11/19/00
Posts: 2329
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jalapeno:
And I'd venture to say (I could be wrong, so please don't throw cyberbricks, okay?) that most Japanese people don't value creativity & individualism as much as Americans do.


A perfect example of this is reflected in Japanese and Chinese art. Quite often the artist's name is unimportant and unknown and repetition of subject matter and form is desired. A beautiful recreation is often valued as highly or more highly than something totally new. The refinement rather rather than the creativity is most important.
I agree with Jalapeno that a balance -- the best of both cultures -- would be the ideal. When this balance is attained, true beauty and artisty is the result.
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#14297 - 07/12/01 12:30 PM Re: from work to play
Jason Offline
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Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
I've heard this argument often before, but I just don't see a lack of creativity in Japanese culture. After all, their culture has come up with Anime, and having seen Akira, Dragonball Z, and some other examples, I find them wildly imaginative. Take also for example the games available for the PS2 in Japan, as well as all the little electronic gadgets they play with. Having 3 Asian and 5 Caucasian students of my own of similar age, I can't tell a difference in imagination at all. However, all 3 of my Asians prepare well for lessons, while only 3 of my Caucasians do.

Of course, for any pianist, you have to have both a solid work ethic (which tends to breed technical excellence) and imagination. People with great technique and no imagination tend to get weeded out in the college years - often switching majors going to grad school, or landing completely unrelated jobs. People with great imagination and bad technique get weeded out much earlier, simply because it's hard to detect imagination in someone's playing when they can't even hit the right notes at the right time. I also think that bad imagination/good technique players tend to stick with lessons longer than bad technique/good imagination players.

Of course a lot of the problem lies in parenting styles, and I'm not prepared to say that one is better than the other. Part of the problem, however, lies in some of the teaching. Too many teachers choose one over the other. They don't know how to develop both.

Most of these teachers don't realize it, though. Some teachers think that simply assigning pages out of a "technique" book will help their student's technique. They think being in book 4 of some technique series means a student has good technique. Not true. Others think that having their students compose their own piece, invent stories, and draw pictures will help foster creativity. Wrong again. Technical development is a constant process of learning how to move. It requires that a teacher KNOW what good technique is. Unfortunately, far too many teachers don't even have a strong enough technique to handle Chopin etudes or Beethoven sonatas other than Op. 49 and 14. I'm of the opinion that even teachers of elementary students should have high technical facility.

It goes the other way, too. Imaginative playing means so many different things - quality of sound, degree and manner of phrasing, intensity of articulation, command over tempo. Yet too many teachers teachin phrasing in one way, decide on articulation and tempo based on the markings in the score alone, and don't really work on tone quality with their students.

A case in point: voicing. Why don't teachers teach voicing? I have had SO many transfer and camp students over the years who were very capable of voicing chords in their pieces, yet I can't recall any of them ever knowing what voicing was or having worked on it with their teacher. Yet voicing is one of the most important elements of having a good sound. Probably THE most important. And it's not even hard to teach, I have a grand total of about 5 things I do with students to work on voicing, and it works with students at just about any level.

Hmm...this rant is getting rather long. \:\) Sorry about that, I'll shut up now. \:D

J
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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#14298 - 07/12/01 12:50 PM Re: from work to play
Vivace' Offline
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Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 1717
Loc: USA
Why Jason, I'm sure you're dodging cyber-tomatoes about now. Of course we teach our students voicing..........
Remember my Vivace Vexation and how vociferous I get when my students don't voice properly? \:D
Seriously, don't you go anywhere until you share those 5 ideas with us!
You know, of course, why some teachers don't teacher their students to voice - they don't know how themselves.
_________________________
Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,and never stop learning." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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#14299 - 07/12/01 03:35 PM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
If missing notes & rhythm are sins, then not knowing how to voice is the unpardonable sin! You bet your piano I teach voicing! \:\) But, Jason, you must remember that just because certain students don't have good voicing skills doesn't necessarily mean their teachers never taught them. They could simply have been difficult students to teach. :rolleyes: Something to consider... ;\) And yes, Jason, please share those 5 ideas with us!

[ July 12, 2001: Message edited by: Jalapeno ]

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#14300 - 07/12/01 06:24 PM Re: from work to play
Vivace' Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/25/01
Posts: 1717
Loc: USA
Jala
I disagree with you. IMO the students Jason is referring to have not been taught to voice and their teachers didn't know how to teach it to them. ;\) You can always tell when they give you that puzzled look, they don't have a clue and have never been taught.
_________________________
Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us,and never stop learning." ~ Ludwig van Beethoven

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#14301 - 07/12/01 10:24 PM Re: from work to play
Jason Offline
Star Member

Registered: 05/14/00
Posts: 2019
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Jalapeno said "But, Jason, you must remember that just because certain students don't have good voicing skills doesn't necessarily mean their teachers never taught them."

To my way of thinking, you really can't say you've taught anybody anything until they can do it.

That being said, I think we all (me included), fail miserably on a daily basis. Our students don't understand or can't do what we tell them. This is just the way things are.

This does not mean we are bad teachers or should give up. Indeed, it takes a great deal of perseverance to teach anyone anything.

My guess is that there are many teachers out there who feel they've "taught" voicing. They're wrong. Voicing is a vital part of tone quality, and the quality of tone should be addressed at every lesson. You can never have "taught" voicing, you can only "teach" voicing. That is the only effective way.

Luckily, there are only a few things like this. Tone quality is one - it must be addressed at nearly every lesson. Like 90% of the time. Rhythm is another, it is too vital and too important to be left in the past tense. Character and personality also rank rather highly for me.

Other things, like theory, music history, composition, etc... Are more expendable. They're very important of course, but if I only have 45 minutes and I have to choose between tone quality and theory. I choose tone quality, 90% of the time.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)


www.pianoped.com

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#14302 - 07/13/01 06:58 AM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Originally posted by Jason:
Jalapeno said "But, Jason, you must remember that just because certain students don't have good voicing skills doesn't necessarily mean their teachers never taught them."

I guess I should have said, "But, Jason, you must remember that just because certain students don't have good voicing skills doesn't necessarily mean their teachers never griped at them about it." ;\)

To my way of thinking, you really can't say you've taught anybody anything until they can do it.

True.

That being said, I think we all (me included), fail miserably on a daily basis. Our students don't understand or can't do what we tell them. This is just the way things are.

This does not mean we are bad teachers or should give up. Indeed, it takes a great deal of perseverance to teach anyone anything.


True, but you forgot to mention the type of student who is almost impossible to teach because s/he won't do what we tell them to do (the ones that refuse to do their written theory assignments, don't want to learn to read notes, don't want to work on a piece long enough to master it, etc. & so on & so forth ad nauseum.) :rolleyes:

And what about the ones who have to practice on cheap electronic keyboards (i.e., Casios & similar brands sold at Wal-Mart)? :rolleyes: What about the parents who refuse to buy a decent instrument for their children? If a student has to practice on a piece of junk, how can a teacher expect him/her to learn proper voicing skills?

My guess is that there are many teachers out there who feel they've "taught" voicing. They're wrong. Voicing is a vital part of tone quality, and the quality of tone should be addressed at every lesson. You can never have "taught" voicing, you can only "teach" voicing. That is the only effective way.

Luckily, there are only a few things like this. Tone quality is one - it must be addressed at nearly every lesson. Like 90% of the time. Rhythm is another, it is too vital and too important to be left in the past tense. Character and personality also rank rather highly for me.


I agree 100%. \:D

Other things, like theory, music history, composition, etc... Are more expendable. They're very important of course, but if I only have 45 minutes and I have to choose between tone quality and theory. I choose tone quality, 90% of the time.

Amen! \:D

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#14303 - 07/19/01 09:15 AM Re: from work to play
cecilly Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 04/11/01
Posts: 779
Loc: Illinois
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jalapeno:

True, but you forgot to mention the type of student who is almost impossible to teach because s/he won't do what we tell them to do (the ones that refuse to do their written theory assignments, don't want to learn to read notes, don't want to work on a piece long enough to master it, etc. & so on & so forth ad nauseum


Jalapeno, you are so right. I believe that most of us teachers are doing our best to teach what we know. But, to be honest, we really don't teach anything, we simply provide a student the opportunity learn. We could say and do exactly the right things to "teach" anything, but if the student simply won't (for whatever reason) reach out and accept what we're offering, apply it to their own playing, etc., there's nothing really that we can do to "make them learn". We have the responsibility to offer the best we have, but the student also has a responsibility, if s/he wants to learn, to take the information and do something with it.

I get so very tired of the many many students who come thru my door and expect to be spoon fed. It's a real epidemic in this country. Kids today want a magical education: apply themselves minimally but expect maximum results. Something for nothing. I see this happening everywhere with growing majority of children (grown ups too).

Thanks again Jalapeno for mentioning this. It is so true.

[ July 19, 2001: Message edited by: cecilly ]

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#14304 - 07/19/01 10:36 AM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
If you couple that type of student with a parent who doesn't see to it that his/her child arrives to lessons on time, comes to lessons & practices regularly (on a decent instrument, I might add), it makes for a very difficult teaching environment, especially if the parent is only willing to pay for 30-minute lessons.

Successful piano lessons really involves 3 parties: teacher, student, & parent(s). If even 1 of these parties is not doing his/her part, then the student's progress is hampered.

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#14305 - 07/19/01 05:53 PM Re: from work to play
cecilly Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 04/11/01
Posts: 779
Loc: Illinois
Jalapeno, although I teach 30 min. lessons right now (eventually I'm going to increase that to at least 40 min. but right now I don't have the extra time to extend all my students to 40 min.), and I see that you clearly do not prefer a weekly 30 min. lesson set up, I wondered if you had ever considered offering students 2 30 min. lessons per week? I teach school music too and my elementary classes meet 2x a week for 30 min. so I thought, "why not piano?" Also, if I schedule a make-up lesson for a student during the week, which actually means s/he'll be coming in for 2 lessons, I find it works great. We usually spend the 1st session focusing on part of the assignment and the other session on whatever is left to cover plus a few games or such to round out the time. And there's so much more time for reinforcement of practice procedures and such.

Of course, scheduling 2 lessons might be tricky if a student is busy with other activities. But since your own teaching schedule is open with fewer students, the 2x/week thing might be worth trying. Just a thought.

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#14306 - 07/19/01 06:44 PM Re: from work to play
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I've thought about it, but it is so hard to get people to come more than once a week. Even scheduling make-up lessons is tough, because my students are involved in other after-school activities. It was difficult just to get them to want to come to the piano performance classes, which are only scheduled 4x/year. I certainly like the idea of 2x/wk. better than once/wk., because you can catch mistakes before they get practiced all week long. Practice makes permanent, ya know.

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