Lesson peeves...

September 23, 2012 at 04:01 PM · One of mine is the bringing a new piece that you've fallen in love with to a lesson and having the teacher immediately play it perfectly for you. I feel its been stolen, even a little violated..

Another: being told to do an excersize without being told why.... (perhaps more of an adult learner peeve),

V.com has had a couple of topics on more extreme dislikes from either perspective (here's one Emily started

http://www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm?id=6651

But my queery is more about the little things with teachers/students you are otherwise fond of. Perhaps we can all learn a little...

Replies

September 23, 2012 at 05:14 PM ·

September 23, 2012 at 06:10 PM · you are going to have to explain that one Scott or we are going to think the worst...

September 23, 2012 at 07:20 PM · One thing I really dislike is having to come up with my own interpretation first and then being disagreed with and shown a different ("better") way.

I don't mind this if the different way is presented as a suggestion to try out. Then I'll try it both ways, weigh and consider it, and come to my own conclusion, which may indeed result in my changing my mind. This is how my current teacher usually presents things. She's not dogmatic and has a lot of good ideas and experience to share.

But I hate the feeling of being tested and found wanting, which is what happens when I come up with and present my own interpretation and am then told no, that's wrong, do it this other way instead. Then, I really really wish they would have just told me how I was supposed to do it in the first place before I wasted all that time and effort.

September 23, 2012 at 07:47 PM · Reminds me of a famous flute teacher who when presented with an urtext by a student immediately marked it to indicate the correct way to perform the piece.

September 23, 2012 at 07:59 PM ·

September 23, 2012 at 08:25 PM · Scott: I have to admit I don't know what the 'Axe Effect' is.

Axe can be a euphomism for a guitar?

September 23, 2012 at 08:56 PM · Elise, take a look at

www.theaxeeffect.com

Scott, I don't think the negative influence of the axe effect is limited to music lessons . . .

September 23, 2012 at 09:07 PM · Patrick, I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, depending on where the student is. If a student isn't ready to work from an Urtext, they might benefit from having the teacher's markings. (Although you said "famous flute teacher," which would imply that s/he was teaching advanced students who would benefit from working through interpretations on their own rather than having the teacher just mark it up.)

Anyway, to be clear, I like the idea of having students come up with their own interpretations and discussing them with their teacher. What I object to is something that pretends to be a discussion or a dialog but really isn't: a situation in which the teacher thinks there is only one right answer (the teacher's) but withholds it until the student jumps through a bunch of hoops.

September 24, 2012 at 01:41 AM · I always hate when the kid shows up.

September 24, 2012 at 01:56 AM · Scott, I teach a lab course for first-year college chemistry majors. I wanted to develop a couple of experiments using gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS), since all of our first-year teaching labs now have this instrumentation. I thought of analyzing some commercial products for common fragrance compounds, so I went over to CVS to see about buying a few colognes. I do not use anything except antiperspirant, so I was blown away by the diversity of "men's body spray" available. I simply had no idea, probably because I don't watch television. The brand names that made me laugh the hardest were probably "AXE Anarchy" and "Old Spice Danger Zone."

Coming back to the original question, it used to bother me when my teacher would take a phone call during my lesson. Since then I have come to understand that he simply communicates entirely by phone. He is not an email person. So, when I need to discuss something simple, I call, and obviously I am happy when he picks up, even though I know it's probably during someone else's lesson. If it's going to be a longer conversation I just ask him when his schedule ends so that I can call him then.

September 24, 2012 at 09:33 AM · I hate getting assigned pieces that I hate. Shouldn't the student have a say in what they play next? There should at least be some discussion (e.g., here are a few choices, take your pick).

I hate when a teacher won't graduate me on a piece. If you work at something for 8-9 months, then it's as polished as it's going to get -- time to move on and come back to it if you still can't play certain parts.

September 24, 2012 at 10:38 AM · Maybe you need a better-fit teacher Smiley? I have to confess to have had 8 teachers in 4 years - entirely because I've been looking for an excellent fit (I think I found it). But this really is a different topic.

September 24, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Elise, turn your peeve around and consider this ;) You bring a piece you're really enthused about, the teacher claims to know it, but mangles it. Or utterly lacks the chops to play it. I don't know how often that happens in the classical world, but I know of people taking fiddle students who have NONE.

September 24, 2012 at 12:15 PM · Sue: that really would be 'time for a new teacher'. It depends of course on your level, but you have to feel the teacher has something to give, else whats the point - and mangling a piece that you think you can play would be rather ding.

The other case is really a peeve - the teacher thinks (deludes themselves?) that they are simply demonstrating how it is played - when actually they are showing off, of just simply enjoying themselves, but in either case, without considering the impact on the student.

Whatever the teaching scenario I think the teacher should let the student have the first go and then make some positive comments - nice tone here, like the way you emphasized etc. then go ahead and teach - and play bits even short passages. But IMO don't ever play the a large part of the piece, that is depriving the student of their goal and undermining their ability.

September 24, 2012 at 12:17 PM · I should add that the above is irrelevant if the student is near equal in ability to the teacher because then the goal can be higher than the teacher can achieve. I doubt Heifetz in his late youth was terribly intimidated by his teachers ... :)

September 24, 2012 at 03:23 PM · My favourite teacher comments. These are from more than one teacher over the years.

(on vivaldis winter) " play that slower" "no no no! Not the tempo, the phrase!" "and more space between the 32nd notes."

"Play the Paganini more like a piece... It's not an étude!"(sigh) "I already know you can do continuous trills... Give me the melody"

"Breathing loudly doesn't constitute an artistic idea"

"COUNT THE RESTS!!!!!!! AAARRGGGGH"

"Your bow is a continuation of your arm"

"do you want to enter in this competition/masterclass"

"It would be fun!" "you need experience"

"Can you do a more in time rubato for me please?"

"Come Play the piano part to this sonata"

"Just play the figured base line for this on your violin"

"you have no talent, please leave for today"

"I'm only harsh because I care" (smile)

"Use a springing bow"

"no, not riccochet"

"No, not spiccato"

"let's hear that again?"

"ok, do it the way it was"

"perfect performance, I just didn't feel anything"

"you need to practice those scales in 444 AND 415"

"kreutzer can sound baroque" "kreutzer is a great composer"

I love some of my teachers and love the others most of the time.....

September 24, 2012 at 04:48 PM · Another peeve I thought of today (at my lesson) was the amount of trust I have to have in what other people tell me, even when it's contrary to my own gut feeling.

Today I was working on a passage that contains a shift: C#-D#-E on the E-string. I have to finger it such that I am playing the C# with a 2 and the D# with a 3, and then shift to a 1 on the E. I don't do this shift in tune, and then that causes the whole next measure to also be out of tune.

My teacher thinks the reason that I am not getting the shift in tune is that I am not hearing the half step between the D# and the E correctly.

She may be right--she usually is--but that is not what I'm feeling at all. When I play those 3 notes an octave down, or play them as written as a 2,3,4 without a shift, I hear the half-step and it sounds fine to me.

So, she says to practice it an octave down or without the shift so I can hear it, then do the shift, and go back to doing the octave down/no shift if I miss the shift. She thinks that if I learn to hear it, I'll get it.

But I think I'm hearing it fine already. I don't really understand how playing it an octave down and playing it without the shift are going to help me play it with the shift.

But, since my teacher knows what she's talking about, and her advice has helped me in the past, I just have to trust her, I think. That's hard for me to do as I tend to be a natural skeptic.

September 24, 2012 at 08:20 PM · Karen - you're right. I don't think your basic ear is the problem. Problems of shifting like those are easily fixed by playing the shift's preparation notes, for practice. So in that case, play C#, D#, then play B with the first finger and slide it up to E. Once you can pull that off correctly several times in a row and in proper tempo, play C#, D#, then slide up with the third finger (that you just used to play the D# with) to G#, and then play the E with the first finger, for which you're already in position.

Once you can play both of these exercises, the shift should sound in tune. This quick and easy to use method is the solution to virtually all shifting problems that involve changing fingers.

September 24, 2012 at 09:39 PM · It never in fact bothers me when my teacher plays a piece for me. It makes me set a goal for myself to try and get to that level even though I know I won't as soon as I would like. Also I like it when my teacher messes it up because it makes her seem more human and a more reachable goal to reach if she can mess up just like me.

Hmmm...but what does bother me? I don't think anything does. I think I have found my perfect match teacher wise. She understands me and helps me and I am never really annoyed with anything she does. I think the only thing I don't like is when she misses little mistakes that I catch. But they are always minute so I guess it's good for me to be able to catch it. But anyway I'm rambling.

Oh and one more, this doesn't happen nearly as muh as it use to, but I hate having to stick to a piece I can't stand. I also don't like being taken off of an excersise or piece that I feel I haven't accomplished yet :/

September 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM · Here's one:

A teacher who can't remember what you were working on the previous lesson. I don't mind paying well for a lesson but I expect some of that money will go towards some sort of record of my current status and expectations for the next week.

September 25, 2012 at 01:29 AM · Elise, what if you had 30 grad students and 20 undergrads working in your lab? Would you remember exactly what they were doing on a weekly basis? What courses they were taking, what experiments they were running? I guess there are people who can remember all that, but I'm not sure I would be one of them. (I probably will never have more than 5 at a time though, so it's kind of a moot question for me.) But I see your point. A person in such a situation could keep a file on each student and jot a few notes in it each time they met. That's not too much to ask.

When I get to my lesson I play what I want my teacher to help me with, and sometimes he asks me to play something that he has not heard in a while. Lately I've been really trying to improve my scales in thirds, sixth, and octaves, so I just started one lesson playing B-flat major scales in thirds, and we spent some time talking about intonation, hand positions, relaxation, and achieving better legato.

@Smiley, when your teacher assigned a new piece you should ask why that one -- what will you learn? My teacher assigned me Kreisler P&A and honestly that kind of "show piece" is not my cup of tea, but I understood that it was being assigned to improve intonation in the upper registers, bowing technique, double stops, and general agility. And those are all things I need.

September 25, 2012 at 09:27 AM · I think if a person can't come up with and implement a system to help them remember what their students are doing on a weekly basis (such as the one Paul describes), they have no business having that many students. (That's true for science too).

September 25, 2012 at 09:52 AM · Karen, that's true but what I've noticed about the huge science research groups is that meetings with individual students usually are not weekly. There are exceptions of course, but actually not seeing every student every week enables you to have better quality meetings through which you get to know them pretty well. Plus they're college and graduate students, so the conversation is much less one-sided than it would be in a violin lesson with a seven-year-old.

September 25, 2012 at 10:35 AM · Like you Paul I refuse to have more students than I can supervise.

Once when I was running the division I remember getting a very positive reference from a Very Famous Scientist (VFM) for a new scientist recruit (who had been in his lab for several years). Partially on the basis of this reference (which was glowing) we hired the individual. He signed - but never showed and I discovered that he had taken a job in France. I wrote to VFM to ask about the individual. I was astonished at the reply which was: "well actually I never met with him".

Thats how the big labs work - the head honcho does the international work and runs the ideas and has Research Associates that actually run the lab and experiments. I suppose its like car manufacture - the CEO is never seen on the shop floor. This case was particularly extreme though because a postdoctoral fellow (the candidate) is quite a high position - meaning I think that the lab chief didn't even attend lab meetings.

The dangers of such an approach in science are enormous since you have little check on the veracity of the data - but it seems to work for some (they often put two groups on the same project to be sure). I suppose a conductor operates in a similary manner, relying on the section chiefs to interact with the players themselves. But I don't think it works for teaching - I'm happy to have more senior lab members teaching but I always check on the outcome. IMO the only real way to be effective is to limit the size of the group to the point you can meet regularly. BTW I meet with every lab member individually at least 3 times a week.

September 25, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Yeah, I used to work in a big research group. I agree that weekly meetings with the PI may or may not be necessary, depending on what the individual researchers are doing, but it's a real and ongoing problem for the PI to keep up with the data and to provide even minimally adequate supervision and mentoring if there are too many of them. I never wanted to run an academic lab myself for that type of reason (among others).

September 25, 2012 at 03:41 PM · Yep, I certainly agree with all that. You can get stung if you are not paying attention.

September 26, 2012 at 12:27 AM · The other peeve (mentioned above) was teachers who tell you what to do but don't tell you why. This drives me crazy because I already regard myself as my most important (if least informed) teacher. Thus, its not enough for me to be instructed to practise a bow action or particular study unless I'm also told exactly what this excersize will achive. This stimulates me to explore other avenues to the same goal, be they other studies or pieces that use that technique.

September 26, 2012 at 07:03 PM · My peeve was when my teacher said: you haven't practiced.

However I had really practiced a lot, but just found it darn hard to do!

Demotivating.....

Or when the teacher would tap with her bow on my finger board to stop me, when she was frustrated. (read impatient)

But being a teacher myself now, makes me wonder: what will my students think?

September 27, 2012 at 10:52 AM · It's been many years since I've taken lessons, so I will focus more on pet peeves as a teacher. However, I will comment on an example from Elise's post: as a student, I always found it very inspiring and exciting to get a brilliant and beautiful demonstration from a teacher. (When you consdider that my teachers have included Glenn Dicterow and Aaron Rosand...) I know that many students are inspired by this, but some get demoralized by it. The great cellist, Piatigorsgy, sensed that in one of his students, so in succeeding lessons he purposely played worse and worse - and the student got better and better!

OK, as a teacher:

1. Young students who obviously don't want to be there, and are forced by their parents.

2. Students who come unprepared and then compound the felony by trying to fake their way through it, instread of admitting it at the beginning. That rarely works, and adds insult to injury.

3. Tardiness

4. Poor attitude - resistant, uncooperative

5. Adult students who view the teacher in a way similar to say a contractor that they hired to redo their kitchen. Sort of "I hired you, so teach me what I want, whether you think I ready for it or not, and I'll practice what I want, when I want."

Oh h---, just students, period! No, just kidding! When I have a decent student with some talent, who does a reasonable amount of work most of the time, has a good attitude and obviously loves the violin, it's a joy for me to teach. I really love trying to pass on what I know.

September 27, 2012 at 11:43 AM · Perhaps I overspoke - it seems a bit silly to take lessons form a virtuoso and not have them play what you are trying to learn. What really peeves me is them doing it before you've played it for them - you don't get the pleasure of presenting the music as yours. That really helps with the development of musicality and is perhaps the only time when the teacher will hear your inner version or interpretation of the piece.

September 27, 2012 at 02:14 PM · I can understand that. When I teach, I always let the student play first. Then I offer a (hopefully) constructive critique. Then, sometimes a demonstration is worth 1,000 words.

September 27, 2012 at 02:42 PM · As a student, my main peeve is that my instructor does not allow me to play anything through without interruption. I get that we have limited time to work with each other, but I would be more focused if I weren't waiting for him to pounce on every tiny mistake. It makes me nervous and I make more errors as a result.

On the other hand, I'm going to have a lot of experience dealing with pressure from the get-go. Maybe that will help later on.

September 27, 2012 at 05:45 PM · Krista: I hear you! I've had teachers where I felt they never actually heard me 'play'. Of course I'm probably totally wrong - in actuallity a few notes was all they needed!! Its definitely a good sign when the 'destroying angel' steps in to flatten you on line 3 and no longer line 1 :-\

September 27, 2012 at 09:09 PM · What I always hated was when a teacher would point out all the bad things but not mention the good. Of course I needed to know what I was doing wrong, but if a teacher never mentions anything that you've improved, you start to feel like a hopeless loser.

September 28, 2012 at 03:18 AM · bug....hmmm. Well the only thing that bugs me is under my control really, parental involvement during the lesson. I mean really, come in, sit down, take notes and show interest in you sons playing. Let him impress you, fake it! I keep inviting you in hopes you will catch a clue. I keep explaining its importance, please clue in. I know you arent supervising the daily practicing, and you should. Listening from the other room while you focus on work, well...thats just lazy. It sends the wrong signal to your child. Show him how important he is by payin attention now, in a short while he wont want you to.

September 28, 2012 at 03:26 AM · I always post how I feel and then I go back to read your posts to see how I stack up. Ive got to say Im glad I never had a teacher after reading what some of yall have had to put up with. Music is fun, its imperfect, its emotional, its passionate. When you take lessons from me your first act at the beginning of the lesson is to perform for me and your family what you are working on, to thunderous applause. Then we focus on intonation and bowing, then we work on efficiencys and other technical aspects that might make it easier or better sounding. I dont think Ive ever told anyone that they did something wrong. maybe Im wrong since Im self trained highly motivated, eternally optomistic, incredibly in love with music type person. Im glad Im not educated thats for sure.

September 28, 2012 at 03:31 AM · sorry for the triple post: Ive nothing against you masters of music types. Im sure most of you are quite lovely and passionate. Its the few bad apples that spoil the barrel as it were. I just feel so bad for you that had the rigid teacher type. sorry, had to decompress. thanks.

September 28, 2012 at 06:30 AM · robert - I think you may have over-interpreted most of the posts. This topic is about minor irritants - peeves - not anger. Every relationship has bumps in it - but that does not mean we don't adore our teachers/students, appreciate all their efforts and gifts and realize that we too have equal and probably much worse flaws that they have to put up with.

I never had a private teacher as a child, though we did have good school music teachers. I am eternally grateful that I have the time and resources now to get personal instruction - other than the time I put in practising, its the biggest single factor for my current development as a violinist.

September 28, 2012 at 10:42 AM · Why limit this to mild irritation? The thing that bothered me most about a teacher bothered me more because I really liked and respected him, and he seemed pleased with my progress and to find me teachable. I admired his playing enormously. He just didn't show up for lessons. No phone call, no email. That happened three times so I quit. He couldn't understand why I'd find it disrespectful. I wasn't the only student he did that to. He had also made a point about how important trust is between student and teacher.

September 28, 2012 at 10:59 AM · @Robert, on the contrary the foregoing posts make me count my lucky stars at the wonderful teacher that my daughter has now. In fact that is why I started up violin again after 25 years way, because I saw the incredibly high quality of the instruction that she was getting, I decided it was my best chance to see if I could start in again, and I'm so glad I did.

@Raphael, I agree with your peeves even though I am not a violin teacher. Just try to remember that as parents we are sometimes balancing a lot of things, some of them quite complicated.

September 28, 2012 at 12:44 PM · Robert, this parental involvement thing is actually more complicated than that. I think what you're describing is one ideal for young children, but sometimes it's really better if the parents are less involved, especially as the students get a little older. Even at relatively young ages, not every kid wants their parent there at the lessons. Sometimes students take instruction much better from a teacher than a parent, and/or don't feel like they can be themselves if the parent is also in the room.

I actually would turn it around and say that one of my peeves as a parent is when/if a teacher expects that degree and kind of parental involvement from every family, regardless of circumstances, age of child, or teaching/learning philosophy. I've even seen teachers directing their comments and instructions toward the note-taking parent rather than toward the student: telling the parent, rather than the student, how, when, and how much the student should be practicing. It's like they are talking over the student's head as if he or she isn't even there. I think this is a very unfortunate trend and keeps students from learning to take responsibility for their own learning.

September 28, 2012 at 01:03 PM · well, yes, as the child matures (whatever age that is) he or she learns to self critique and teach themselves, no question. But since this was about what bugs us, lack of parental involvement or interest at the crucial stage -early. was mine. As far as the rest, you can be highly motivating, influential, accademic all the while being massively positive. The idea of what was is technique crusher stopping me at measure 3 instead of 1? really, I stop my students on errors all the time but not in a crushing sort of way. Ive heard the horror stories and no way I would put up with it no matter how famous or talented the teacher. but thats just me. :)

September 29, 2012 at 10:36 AM · Oh yes, I forgot to mention stage parents among my pet peeves as a teacher. From the get-go they know best what their child needs and what student and teacher should be doing at every moment. And yes, it is even worse if the student is already a teen. Anybody seen the excellent movie, "Shine"? I've had a couple of student's parents like David Helfgot's father!

Paul - though I'm not a parent I have a pretty good idea of what a tough job it is, and some of the balancing acts involved. This is also true of the student - especially a teen student, pushed and pulled by demands of school, other interests, peer pressure, girlfriend or boyfriend issues, etc. But I've sometimes felt very frustrated to see that the violin was at the bottom of a long list of extra-cirricular activities.

September 29, 2012 at 12:23 PM · I'm a bit surprised that none of the teachers have identified students that act as if they know more than the teacher as a peeve.

Perhaps some of my teachers would chip in... :)

September 29, 2012 at 02:55 PM · I dont get peeved, I work with it. I dont have a preset this is it mentality. Im flexible, affable, encouraging, challenging....um, humble. Yes, Im no ego maniac. I connect with my students at their level no matter the age and bring them along at a pace they can handle. If the child is out of focus, I stop and we refocus. eventually the child gets it. Most of those kids who actually want to learn, like to be challenged anyway. IMO. (some of you know more than me, education and experience. I respect that.)

September 29, 2012 at 04:45 PM · Something that has always bothered me, since I was a student and maybe even more now that I'm a teacher, is a teacher who doesn't adjust their approach for different types of students. (I say "don't" because I don't know if the underlying reason is "can't" or "won't.")

Some teachers don't tailor their comments to a student's needs, working only on phrasing and rubato when the student has difficulty holding onto the instrument and making a sound. They may be a wonderful teacher for advanced students, but less advanced students may not be so lucky.

Some teachers don't change the way they explain a concept if the student is clearly not getting it -- they'll just keep saying the same thing over & over again until the light finally comes on for the student (or doesn't). This often leaves the student wondering if they are stupid and/or untalented.

Some teachers stick to the "do what I do" approach of physically playing the instrument, regardless of the student's physical attributes. Some violinists are giants compared to their instruments (Perlman looks like he's playing a toy violin; so does James Ehnes, in a different way) and some need to extend their bow arm almost 100% to reach the tip of the bow. "Play like me! No need to straighten your elbow!" Teacher has a short neck / student has a long one? Sorry, no shoulder rest for you, even though you have 3x as much space to fill.

Some teachers insist that every student play a piece exactly the same way, ignoring the differences in temperament or the direction their insight is likely to lead them. (As if a piece of music will not stand up to different interpretations!)

All of these teachers may be perfectly wonderful teachers for certain students, but I'm afraid the rest of their students actually don't have a good teacher.

September 29, 2012 at 04:58 PM · Raphael, I agree ... violin shouldn't always be dead last.

September 29, 2012 at 06:23 PM · As an adult student my peeve is the lesson is too short. I mean you are just getting warmed up and time is up. I will also add traveling in crappy weather just to get to your lessons is a major downer.

September 29, 2012 at 08:39 PM · James, you might consider asking whether you can have a longer lesson less frequently. The only problem with lessons every other week is that you will need to be flexible with the time of the lesson so that it can either be the first or last lesson of the day for your teacher. Otherwise (s)he will have a hole in his/her schedule on the weeks you are not there.

September 30, 2012 at 07:28 PM · I can't remember many, or even any, peeves from when I was learning. I guess I was fortunate to have teachers I got on with really well!

I do remember feeling very insulted when tutors of youth orchestras and ensembles showed no interest in seeing the performances to which their work had contributed, or when other teachers walked out after their pupils had played. As a result, I make every effort to attend even small-scale performances, and to stay to the end.

As a teacher, my peeves are probably just the usual ones...

October 1, 2012 at 12:15 AM · Owain, thats a good point, the poor student that plays last has just his parents in the audience! Which makes it pretty obvious when his teacher has left too...

October 1, 2012 at 11:08 AM · 5. Adult students who view the teacher in a way similar to say a contractor that they hired to redo their kitchen. Sort of "I hired you, so teach me what I want, whether you think I ready for it or not, and I'll practice what I want, when I want."

Wow Raphael - as an older student myself, I had no idea just how prevalent this is. I was exposed to it whilst listening to my instructors speak amongst themselves.

And Elise - I can relate to being interrupted. My very first violin instructor would stop me when I made a mistake by saying,"AT!" I'd try again and he'd say,"AT!" again. Then, I'd go to put (what I thought was the correct finger) down on the string, but before I could play, he'd say,"AT!". It frustrated me, but I never said anything, I dutifully allowed him full rein.

---Ann Marie

October 1, 2012 at 11:44 AM ·

October 1, 2012 at 11:57 AM · But teachers also talk about their students in all kinds of ways no?

Personally, I try to do my best and admit my faults when it's horrible. I am not always arguing my teacher either. No one is perfect and the perfect teacher or student doesn't exist. She's full of knowledge, explains and plays well and I'm happy to think that she's happy to teach me so I won't change the winning recepie : )

It's ok to make little jokes as long as they are loving ones. When they become serious, it's not the good teacher for you.

October 1, 2012 at 04:25 PM · I forgot to say that personally, I loved all of my teachers. Each of them was/is different, but that's what has made me the player I am today.

Everything I do musically, I play, I know, I owe to them.

--Ann Marie

October 1, 2012 at 06:15 PM · Paul D.- I am taking lessons every other week at 45 min. Perhaps I will notch it up 15 min. Though it probably still won't be enough time. Lol.

October 1, 2012 at 08:22 PM · C'mon Ann Marie, everything? You must have learned something on your own :-)

October 1, 2012 at 08:32 PM · Perhaps it was a more general comment - you could learn all of the Bach S&PS and owe it to the teacher that taught you how to play three-string chords....

October 3, 2012 at 03:01 PM · Ok sure, but you get the gist of what I mean.

I'm an adult learner, but I'm also a slow learner. I tend to plod along, but once I get something, I GET it.

---Ann Marie

October 19, 2012 at 10:36 PM · I had the best teacher but he was elderly and died a year after I graduated from high school. He was encouraging and taught me so much. I stopped playing for a while but I recently started again. I'm been trying to find a group to play in or teacher but so far no luck... I wonder if teachers dislike adult students who aren't beginners? I guess children are probably easier to teach.

October 19, 2012 at 11:50 PM · You have to look - but they are out there. I found teachers treasure a student that is enthusiastic and that practises - that can be a nice refreshment from a lot of the kids ;)

But ultimately an adult student needs to learn to be their own teacher. The coach (maybe a better term) serves to catch errors, provide inspiring ideas and suggest solutions. But we figure out the basic route to learning. I've actually found that one of the most fun parts of the journey....

October 21, 2012 at 02:07 PM · Anyone have any information on what the great composers of violin compositions had as pet peeves? (especially about performers)

October 21, 2012 at 04:30 PM · I guess that applies to all composer/performer relationships. OTOH, unless the composer was a virtuoso on the instrument I would guess most are eternally grateful someone can and would play the piece!

October 21, 2012 at 10:52 PM · Well now I have a pet peeve; when your teacher does very little to help you understand the piece as more than just notes on a page.

October 21, 2012 at 10:52 PM ·

October 22, 2012 at 07:29 AM · hmmm, sounds like a step beyond a peeve, almost a loss of faith...

October 22, 2012 at 08:32 PM · What do you mean Elise?

October 23, 2012 at 04:36 AM · You wrote: when your teacher does very little to help you understand the piece as more than just notes on a page.

Its just one sentence but still comes accross rather strongly that the lesson is mechanical and lacking in musical connection. Obviously you realize that learning is about way more than being able to play notes.

Was this the case just for one piece or is this what you feel generally about your lessons?

October 23, 2012 at 08:59 AM · Well, I just switched over to viola permenantly in August and I just got a private teacher for the first time eight months ago. I flaws that needed fixing (and still do) and needed to understand music. So, it's more like she is helpingly me a beginner level with understanding music(she teaches a lot of kids and intermediates). I just want something more instense. I want to walk away from a lesson with my head crammed with knowledge, which used to happen, but now that I have grown so much, I want more. Its not that she is a bad teacher because is wonderful, i think i've just outgrown her. So I'm going to talk to my teacher about this, and see what happens

October 23, 2012 at 10:33 AM · Perhaps you've got to the stage where a teacher is just a guide - I certainly feel that way. Same as going to college - the lecturers tell you about a subject but its up to you to research it to understand it.

I listen intently to my teachers comments not only for the direct issues but also for the indirect ones said in passing ( for example, 'its as if seem to lighten the bow at the end of the stroke'). I then explore that in my studio and see if I can reproduce it and if I can find a way to fix it.

Thus, perhaps you are asking too much from the teacher - or maybe she is going more detail on each issue than you need (not allowing for your previous experience on the violin or capacity to teach yourself). Thus, the lesson is few subjects, each with high content, instead of many subjects each with a lower content but an assumption that you can figure it out.

October 23, 2012 at 07:17 PM · Well she is a guide and I'm grateful for that, but I recently just switched over to Viola and sometimes all I need is a guide, but I have many flaws that I may not notice and there are those that I do notice. (Technique wise mainly the bow hand)

Before I got her as my teacher 8 months ago, I was teaching myself. She does let me have the freedom to research and learn some things on my own, but it's almost too much for the stage I'm at. I plan to major in music, and I have a lot of growing to do and I need the help of my teacher to be more of a teacher than a guide at this moment. Maybe when I get more comfortable in my technique, but not right now

October 23, 2012 at 08:58 PM · then it sounds as if you are on the right track - just give her a chance :)

October 23, 2012 at 09:52 PM · I shall :)

October 26, 2012 at 02:54 AM · when your teacher does very little to help you understand the piece as more than just notes on a page.

I think the teacher should perform the piece for you and explain why things are the way they are for your understanding. And then allow you to express your own interpretation and the two of you discuss the pros and cons etc. Passionless teaching is the worst IMO.

October 26, 2012 at 10:59 PM · It wasn't passionless teaching because she lives to teach and play; she loves teaching a lot. It's just that she knew that I could do a lot or my own and gave me more freedom than I would like. She is really amazing at teaching orchestral songs. Just today I was showing we what I had to play for a playin test and she is awesome at teachin things like that and I loved that.

But also today, I told her that I was dropping her. I never said the exact words, but me and her have a great understand for eachother. We are like best friends and we love each other to death, but she encouraged me to do what Is best for me. She knows that my music is everything to me and would never get in the way of that. I cried a bit after I left, but I'm ready to start this new phase in my musical life

October 28, 2012 at 12:48 AM · In the lesson, it's the teacher supposed to have most of the control over what is played, unless asked by the student to practice something?

October 28, 2012 at 10:57 PM · In a good working relationship you should trust your teacher to identify both pieces and studies - the idea is to work on your weaknesses. Thus, if you find it hard thats actually a good thing!

I hope my teacher doesn't read this :D

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