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#14563 - 04/05/02 10:23 AM Re: inspiring teenage students
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
I have read this thread with great interest. I also have an 11 yr. old student who is losing interest in piano. Her grandmother just called and spoke to me on the phone about it. I was unaware she was wanting to quit although I didn't see that "spark" very much. She has been making steady progress (is at the end of PA 2B) and is very gifted, pleasant to work with (altho a little hard on herself), but I have never felt she really "loved" piano. I have allowed her to always choose her music except for methods books. I have also wondered if her busy sports schedule hasn't often overwhelmed any thoughts of other things. The grandmother says her mom wants her to stay in piano over sports. That is unusual to hear! Anyway, I will take to heart some of the above suggestions, which are terrific, but if anyone has other ideas, please speak up. (BTW, I already give them opp. to play in public besides recitals). Thanks.

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#14564 - 04/05/02 12:29 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Are kids biologically programmed to have attitude problems around age 11 or so? I wonder sometimes!

I've been going round & round with Piano Kid (who, btw, will turn 11 in September). Last year she wanted to perform an all-Bach repertoire program for Guild, so I enthusiastically started working with her on that. Then, all of the sudden, she decided that she most definitely was not going to participate in Guild. I suggested that she simply cut back on the amt. of pieces or perform simplier repertoire. But no! She didn't want to do that. :rolleyes: First it was all, then it was nothing. There was no way I could persuade her to just change her program & participate. At the same time she decided to forget about Guild, she also decided that every single assignment I gave her was "too hard." :rolleyes: I backed off & allowed her to work out of BigTime pop rep. bks. & whatever else she was interested in, because it was all I could do to get her to want to practice. For months I've been hearing "Rock Around the Clock" & similar songs, over & over & over again until I think I'm gonna puke. Nothing wrong with pop music, mind you; I just don't want a steady diet of the SOS week after week, esp. if it's not classical. Anyhoo, guess what she wants to do NOW? She has up & decided that she wants to work through the PA4 curriculum (lessons, theory, T&A plus performance bks. along with Developing Artist Piano Literature Book 3) so she can earn a $10.95 plaque from Friendship House! Of course, inwardly I'm jumping up & down because she's decided (for herself, with absolutely no pressure from me) to continue with her regular studies. If a $10.95 plaque will motivate her to work, I'll buy it for her. \:D But this rollercoaster ride between not wanting to do anything & wanting to do everything is getting on my nerves.

The only advice I can give, Carole, is to try to keep your student going the best way you know how, by hook or by crook. God only knows what she really wants to do. She may not even know herself! Good luck.

[ April 05, 2002: Message edited by: Jalapeņo ]

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#14565 - 04/05/02 02:14 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
I also had a talk with her mother this morning. She said her daughter just does not want to have to WORK at anything. If she can't pick up something fairly easily, she doesn't want to do it. This seems to be very common with many kids these days. During practice, she plays through a piece a few times, starting from the BEGINNING each time a mistake is made. I have drummed how to practice into my students over and over but goes in one ear and out the other. So, what to do? I already have her doing a 3 person duet for the recital, which is unique and fun. She doesn't mind playing in public as long as it is not her peers, so we will do more of that. She attends a contemporary only church, so I will find music of that kind to play. She has a good ear, so maybe putting notes to what she has heard on TV, etc. on paper. At the music store each summer, they have a Rock Project-groups of kids that form bands (instructor led) and play (even making a video at the end). She might enjoy that. Any other ideas are welcome. We just have to really use our imaginations to come up with creative ways to keep these youngsters in music. Jala, sounds like you are doing the exact right thing with your daughter.

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#14566 - 04/05/02 03:43 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
 Quote:
Originally posted by Carole:
Jala, sounds like you are doing the exact right thing with your daughter.


Piano Kid says she doesn't want to perform for anyone except me. Short of choking the livin' daylights out of her & having to ask God for forgiveness afterwards, \:o I have no choice but to ride the rollercoaster with her & pray that I can keep her going.

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#14567 - 04/05/02 05:41 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
alidoremi Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/11/02
Posts: 2120
Loc: California
I've found that my Jr Hi students DO NOT like to perform in recitals, festivals, and the like, but they LOVE to get together with the other kids in their group piano class. As one earlier contributor mentioned, the competition among this age is intense.

As I do mainly group instruction, I've found that I have to veer from the required curriculum and come up with "catchy" stuff every now and then to keep them motivated.

I know this might get me in hot water with copyright infrigement but...
I like arranging tunes like "Star Wars", "Chariots of Fire", "Axel F" (from Beverly Hills Cop movie) on my computer for my students' levels. We even do a rendition of "Tequila" (remember that one?), only we call it "Taquitos". I use my Yamaha digital keyboard, pick a "style", turn on the single-finger-chord, and we're cookin'!

Some kids at this age are also learning a band instrument at school, so we add that to our little musical group.

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#14568 - 04/05/02 07:03 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Kola Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 63
Loc: Florida
My daughter quit at age 12 after 6 years of lessons, the last year all coaxing from me. I was told that she was very talented by all her teachers...but I think that's when she noticed boys, or they her. I would've given my eye teeth \:D for her to continue. I tried bribing her :p and would've tried just about anything for her to continue. Her great aunts all played violin in major orchestras and I think she inherited the genetic talent for music, but could not hold on past age 12. She's 35 now. I gave her her old piano after purchasing mine recently and she swears she's going to go at it again when her life slows down some. If her last teacher had tried harder, or maybe we had the wrong teacher. Hanging on to this age group ought to be a subject in itself for the piano-teaching students.

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#14569 - 04/10/02 08:56 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Amily Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 547
I've been dealing with this age group experiencing spring fever the past few weeks. Problem is we have three performances coming up in the next two months and I expect them to work hard on their songs.

So I decided to go with a theme for our summer recital (thanks to things I've read on here and other places). I picked a "star" theme, but since none of my students are playing songs about stars I looked around for a song for me to play. I ended up choosing "Little Star" by Jim Brickman (it's so pretty, and I think the kids will appreciate it.) I got my inspiration from the Robert Frost poem "Fireflies in the Garden". The first line of that poem is, "Here come real stars to fill the upper skies..."

I chose to put this under "inspiring teenage students" because I decided to get my pre-teen and teenage students to help me out with planning this recital. Even though everyone is already working on their recital songs, I have asked some of my pre-teens/teens to play "star" songs at the recital in addition to their songs. So far I have one girl who is going to play "Second Star to the Right" from Peter Pan, one is going to play, "Evening Star" by Wagner, one is going to play "Under Starry Skies" by Kevin R. Olson, and I have another who wants to play a song, but we don't have one picked out yet. There are a couple other kids who I might ask also, but I need to come up with some other star songs (I have a really pretty arrangement of "When You Wish Upon a Star", but it's a little too hard for any of them.)

So far these girls are really getting into this. They are excited to be taking part in planning and putting on the recital. I've also asked them to help decorate. We're going to make star decorations (out of chipboard, very inexpensive), use balloons (blue and silver, of course, much prettier than yellow), and we'll string up some blue and white Christmas lights so we can dim the lights and shine the spot light on the piano.

They are really excited about making the decorations and helping me set up before the recital, and they seem to be getting motivated to really work hard for this recital (I hope they stay excited, and not just let it wear off after a couple weeks).

One thing they like though is that we are keeping it a secret from the younger students. It'll be a fun surprise for the little kids to show up to the recital and find that it is all decorated up!

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#14570 - 04/10/02 09:35 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
Amily, do you have any young students?

Mine ABSOLUTELY LOVE "Star Quest" in HL Lesson Books 1 and 2 (same piece; different arrangements). It needs the CD/MIDI to get the full "pseudo-Star-Wars" effect.

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#14571 - 04/10/02 09:51 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
Amily Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 03/26/01
Posts: 547
Half of my students are under 9 and the other half are 10-15. The youngest just turned 5 a couple months ago.

How would you compare HL levels 1 and 2 to PA? My two youngest students (5 and 6 yrs. old) are both in PA level 1 about halfway through (and they get their songs perfect every week \:D ).

I do have a 9 year old who struggles a lot, but would be thrilled if I asked her to help out (thrilled enough to devote all of her free time to a project like this ;\) ), and would practice her little heart out on a song about a star, especially if it was to help me out (I know we're not supposed to pick favorites...)

I'll look at those songs! I need as many options as possible so if one song doesn't work out with a student, I can just pull out another one. Gotta love options.

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#14572 - 04/10/02 11:29 PM Re: inspiring teenage students
John Offline
Star Member

Registered: 03/29/01
Posts: 2454
Loc: Bellingham, WA
If you can afford it, buy the LESSON/CD packets ($7.95 each) for books 1 and 2; it's a great deal and will provide an excellent resource for guided sight-playing, improvisation, and fun!

Your 5-6 year olds will easily play Book 1; Book 2 is a nice supplement for Faber Level 1. You'll get to have more pieces with 4ths, 5ths, sharps, and flats, all introduced in HL Book 2.

Just got Alfred's 2003 catalog; other "star" pieces:

Star Light, Star Bright (EE)
Starlight Dreams (E)
Starlight Mood (LE)
Star On Broadway (EI)
Start Gazing (1p, 4h) (I)
The Star of Blandford Alley (I)
Stars and Wind (I)

(I can't recommend any...just finding titles)

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