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#28325 - 09/03/02 04:22 PM Re: "But I play so much better at home..."
AdrienneM Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/28/01
Posts: 317
Loc: Kentucky, USA
Originally posted by Lilla:
Ah, yes. I see what all of you mean. Kind of like my friend's daughter. Her teacher ripped her music in two and tossed it at her last week. Daughter came home in tears of course. Same teacher is upset with daughter that she is playing soccer. Daughter BTW is 6 yrs. old.

That's horrifying!
Private Piano Instructor in Lexington, Kentucky

#28326 - 09/03/02 05:16 PM Re: "But I play so much better at home..."
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
Yes, it is horrifying! It's hard to believe there are still teachers around like that. \:\(

#28327 - 09/03/02 05:21 PM Re: "But I play so much better at home..."
Joy123 Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 05/22/00
Posts: 566
I have heard "I play this beter at home" from time to time as I've taught down through the years. Sometimes it probably is an excuse, but sometimes it's just an honest way of
wishing they could have had the same results they had at home without the teacher listening. For me, if someone said it over and over and wasn't prepared, I'd think it was just an excuse for sure. However, when someone says it occasionally, I have great sympathy for them because I have felt it myself when taking lessons. When it's the occasional thing, I usually just tell them that I know exactly how they feel because I use to be able to play my pieces better in practice, while in college, than when I played them for my teacher. I sympathize about pianos being different and how it always makes a difference with someone watching us. But, I also use it as an opportunity to tell them that we have to work on trying to get use to different pianos and to having people hear and see us play. I just don't make a big deal out of it unless it were to become a habit. The way I have handled it so far, I usually don't hear it from the same person often. My sympathy and explanations usually take care of it.

It must be a very common thing because one day when I was in the music store, I saw a jar of music pins that were made to wear. There was one big round button type pin that I almost bought. In bold letters it read, "I PLAY IT BETTER AT HOME." lol

#28328 - 09/03/02 05:24 PM Re: "But I play so much better at home..."
Marcia Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 11/18/00
Posts: 354
Loc: Maple Grove, MN
The phenomenon of "I played it better at home" is all too common. I've always felt it's not the piano, it's the pressure of having your performance judged by your teacher that's to blame. So we have to help them deal with the pressure. When we're playing at home, we are the most relaxed, and the notes come easier because we're not tense. At the slightest pressure from the teacher to play correct notes, rhythm, fingerings, etc., the student tenses up a bit and the tension can cause the discomfort of feeling "I'm not playing as well as I could at home," which tends to make the piece fall apart more. I try to give the student a chance to "warm-up" on the piece if that happens in lessons. I've even said, "I'll let you practice it for 3-5 minutes without me looking over your shoulder, then we'll try it again." (My, what you can learn during their "practice" period!) Sometimes students allow tiny mistakes when practicing at home and still say they performed it perfectly. Then, when at the lesson, the same tiny mistakes are there, and they know you aren't going to let them go, so there it is again: tension from anxiety, and the claim that they "played it better at home." BTW, the Noonas wrote an elementary piece to this effect: "I played it better when I was at home, I played it better when I was alone; Something about the studio makes me forget everything I know; you make me count and go so slow, I played it better at home!" Think we can all use a little humor now and then, even regarding these little annoying excuses we all hear from time to time. The teacher who ripped the music needs an attitude adjustment. We all have to face the fact that we can only do our best for our students as far as they will listen to what we say; we need to leave it there and not be upset when we have to deal with these human reactions. \:D

#28329 - 09/03/02 05:34 PM Re: "But I play so much better at home..."
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
I just had the opportunity to use the line, "That was a great warm-up" today. ;\) Fortunately, the student was able to play her piece perfectly the 2nd time. Let me emphasize, however, that this was a student who normally comes to lessons well prepared & who never makes excuses for herself; also, she's only 8 years old. When I hear a student use an excuse week after week, it gets old & I can't help but question whether s/he's telling the truth.

I hope that means my students don't feel nervous around me. I can't imagine being so nervous that I couldn't perform for my teacher! My teacher was kind & gentle; she never made me feel nervous. I try very hard to put my students at ease.

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