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This forum is becoming depressing - post happy stories about teaching


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#46 jenny

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 15:28

I know this doesn't 'count' as it's not about a pupil, but I have been visiting my daughter and my 3 year old grandson this week and yesterday, when we were on a car journey, he was listening to a song on his playlist (he's only just three but has an amazingly varied collection of tracks that he loves) and he suddenly joined in with a particularly high part of the song, perfectly pitched. My daughter (who sings very well herself) said that he often joins in, usually quite quietly as if just singing to himself. This was really joyous for me! 


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#47 Aquarelle

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 08:54

The story about the Saint Cecelia day concert continues. Pupil A plays the trumpet and as Father W really wants duets rather than solos for his concert I asked A if he thought he could manage a trumpet solo. I know that his lessons are group lessons and in typical French teaching style the pupils do the oom pah pah accompaniments and the teacher plays the solos. So A looked a bit uncertain. However I just happened to have a copy of “Party Time for Trumpet” so I picked the piece with an accompaniment I though pupil d could manage and asked A to bring his trumpet to his piano lesson. Well he certainly could play the notes – but being used to belting out alongside his fellow trombonists it was, to say the least, rather “brassy” – an adjective I usually apply to Wagner (apologies to Wagner fans!)

 

I asked A if he could play more quietly to which he replied that that was difficult on the trumpet. Not knowing the first thing about trumpet playing I couldn’t help. If anyone can I’d be glad for a bit of advice. (Yes  I did think about a mute but he hasn’t got one and I’m not sure if it would be the correct solution anyway.)

Then  when I next saw pupil D I gave him the piano accompaniment and apart from a few bars in the middle he found it reasonably comfortable. This is a boy who doesn’t work much until the last two weeks before an exam so I have a nervous breakdown and he comes out of it all with a good merit. Well that’s that happened at Grades 1 and 2. So I know he can pull it off under pressure. So I have told him he has to know the “difficult” bars by next lesson - or else!I have written another note to Father W explaining all this and asking if the trumpet/piano item would be acceptable.  I can probably arrange a lesson with the boys together the week after next when they will both have had time to learn their parts.

 

I’m finding this all rather enjoyable!


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#48 ma non troppo

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Posted 08 November 2019 - 21:58

 
I asked A if he could play more quietly to which he replied that that was difficult on the trumpet.


Aquarelle, this really tickled me and I laughed out loud. Apologies to trumpeters everywhere!
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#49 thara96

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 12:09

The story about the Saint Cecelia day concert continues. Pupil A plays the trumpet and as Father W really wants duets rather than solos for his concert I asked A if he thought he could manage a trumpet solo. I know that his lessons are group lessons and in typical French teaching style the pupils do the oom pah pah accompaniments and the teacher plays the solos. So A looked a bit uncertain. However I just happened to have a copy of “Party Time for Trumpet” so I picked the piece with an accompaniment I though pupil d could manage and asked A to bring his trumpet to his piano lesson. Well he certainly could play the notes – but being used to belting out alongside his fellow trombonists it was, to say the least, rather “brassy” – an adjective I usually apply to Wagner (apologies to Wagner fans!)

 

I asked A if he could play more quietly to which he replied that that was difficult on the trumpet. Not knowing the first thing about trumpet playing I couldn’t help. If anyone can I’d be glad for a bit of advice. (Yes  I did think about a mute but he hasn’t got one and I’m not sure if it would be the correct solution anyway.)

Then  when I next saw pupil D I gave him the piano accompaniment and apart from a few bars in the middle he found it reasonably comfortable. This is a boy who doesn’t work much until the last two weeks before an exam so I have a nervous breakdown and he comes out of it all with a good merit. Well that’s that happened at Grades 1 and 2. So I know he can pull it off under pressure. So I have told him he has to know the “difficult” bars by next lesson - or else!I have written another note to Father W explaining all this and asking if the trumpet/piano item would be acceptable.  I can probably arrange a lesson with the boys together the week after next when they will both have had time to learn their parts.

 

I’m finding this all rather enjoyable!

Funny! 


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#50 Latin pianist

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 12:16

The father of the two boys I teach on a Saturday morning, came to the door this morning and said he had some extra money for me as there was a cheque from March that I hadn't cashed.Not a huge amount but it was very honest of them to bring it.We get so many tales on here of people not paying that I felt it was very heartening to receive unasked for money. Goodness knows where the cheque went.
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#51 Aquarelle

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 20:29

Saint Cecelia - next episode. On Friday pupil S arrived with the accompaniment to a rather obscure clarinet solo. I forgot to write down the name of the piece but it was one of those sort of modern pieces you sort of don't find memorable. I asked S if he had practised it. The answer was "Well, umm, er - a bit." I asked him to have a go.  We came to a stop at the end of the second line after a dozen or so mistakes, hesitations and complete collapses. S looked distraught.

 

He is actually a very conscientious 15 year old boy (yes, there are some!) who likes to get everything exactly right. So I felt the horror rising as I took my pencil and started crossing out all the notes I thought he needn't bother to play. I thought he was going to be a conscientious objector. Then he said "isn't that cheating?".  "Yes" I said, " but it's good cheating because the point is you can't stop!" And I added that that was what he was to do in his Grade 5 sight reading next summer if it looked too hard.  Well by trial  and error we got through the score and by the end of the lesson he was laughing as much as me and crossing out notes for himself! As i told him, many great painters make sketches before masterpieces and we were simply making a sketch. ( I got that from reading examiners' comments on sight reading)  -" There were several note errors but the melody was outlined."  We all know what sins that covers!

 

Well S is going to try to practise with the clarinetist and will report back next Friday. Seriously I am beginning to wonder whose concert this is. Father W must have received my letter by now but has not replied. I wonder if I will get an invitation?


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#52 thara96

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 10:47

My mom was teaching on Tuesday last week. One of her pupils (a 7 year old boy) arrived for his lesson as usual. He is learning music theory too. He is one of her regular pupils. He turned 7 less than two weeks ago. 

At one point during the lesson, he was working on a vocabulary exercise my mom set him. The exercise was to copy out something. He copied out everything correctly without any mistake at all. She marked it after he had finished and was amazed that a 7 year old boy could do that perfectly. No help needed at all. 

He has made progress since he started last year in May of 2018 she said. 


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#53 zwhe

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Posted 11 November 2019 - 20:25

A six year old, who has just started MFPA B. We have learnt C, D & E on the treble clef, so I got her to draw them on the whiteboard. She than drew the next note up, and asked what it was. I asked her if she could see a pattern, and she said "I know, its an F!" She then continued to draw and name all the notes on the treble clef up to G at the top. I love it when the penny drops and they understand how notation works.


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#54 thara96

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 09:17

A six year old, who has just started MFPA B. We have learnt C, D & E on the treble clef, so I got her to draw them on the whiteboard. She than drew the next note up, and asked what it was. I asked her if she could see a pattern, and she said "I know, its an F!" She then continued to draw and name all the notes on the treble clef up to G at the top. I love it when the penny drops and they understand how notation works.

 

A six year old, who has just started MFPA B. We have learnt C, D & E on the treble clef, so I got her to draw them on the whiteboard. She than drew the next note up, and asked what it was. I asked her if she could see a pattern, and she said "I know, its an F!" She then continued to draw and name all the notes on the treble clef up to G at the top. I love it when the penny drops and they understand how notation works.

 

A six year old, who has just started MFPA B. We have learnt C, D & E on the treble clef, so I got her to draw them on the whiteboard. She than drew the next note up, and asked what it was. I asked her if she could see a pattern, and she said "I know, its an F!" She then continued to draw and name all the notes on the treble clef up to G at the top. I love it when the penny drops and they understand how notation works.

 I agree.

 

I was teaching my 6 year old sister music theory on Sunday. I love it when little children master a concept. To help her, I used flashcards to aid memorization. I concur. That moment basically makes me proud. Success after a struggle is always worth celebrating. 


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#55 jenny

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 10:05

I have a young pupil who has recently changed schools and so can't get to me at her usual time because of traffic problems. As I am pretty well fully booked on the days that I teach, both she and her mum were very anxious about her losing her place with me. After some manoeuvring, I managed last night to find a way to fit her in, but it was so gratifying that they both really wanted her to continue with me and were trying everything they could to make it work.  :)   


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#56 Aquarelle

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 10:09

I have been contacted this week by an ex-pupil - he finished his lessons with me four years ago and is now nearly 21 years old. He has continued to play the piano for pleasure and has apparently given some lessons to friends. Now he has been asked to teach an 8 year old boy  who has just been given a piano. He contacted me because he felt that he didn't know quite how to tackle teaching a young beginner; I thought that was nice. I have given him some advice on how to get started, what to look out for, how to observe the pupil etc. and what material to use. He  has promised to come back to me with a progress report and further queries.

 

I know that  there is always some reticence about "unqualified" teachers, students etc giving lessons but I  started out that way and I also have to say that here in France there are very few private instrumental teachers - and many of them don't take beginners.  What pleased me was that my pupil recognized that he needed help. I gathered from our converstaion that he was very serious about doing the right thing. He had a copy of the famous  (infamous in my view) French tutor "La Méthode Rose".  I told him to burn it and get the Piano Adventures Primer. This could be interesting.

 

The Saint Cecelia story continues. We managed to arrange to get the trumpet soloist and his accompanist together on Saturday morning. That was fun. The trumpet was fine though still a bit rasberryish.. The accompaniment needed more simplifying. I might add that the pianist turned up head shaven and in pseudo military gear! This was apparently his older brother's idea! However, I think my teenage boys know that I am hard to shock! Friday evening I hadn't been quite so successful as the boy who was asked to accompany a clarinettist and for with whom I had worked on simplifying the piano part last week has thrown in the sponge.

 

I have had an extremely nice letter from Father W, thanking me for my help and inviting me to the concert.


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#57 jenny

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 11:57

I have been contacted this week by an ex-pupil - he finished his lessons with me four years ago and is now nearly 21 years old. He has continued to play the piano for pleasure and has apparently given some lessons to friends. Now he has been asked to teach an 8 year old boy  who has just been given a piano. He contacted me because he felt that he didn't know quite how to tackle teaching a young beginner; I thought that was nice. I have given him some advice on how to get started, what to look out for, how to observe the pupil etc. and what material to use. He  has promised to come back to me with a progress report and further queries.

 

 

The same thing happened to me last year. A young lady I'd taught in the past (from being an extremely promising 6 year old, through to being at Grade 6 level when I left her area) contacted me for advice about teaching a young beginner. She had passed Grade 8 and wondered if she knew enough to teach anyone else. I was so pleased to hear that she wanted to teach and passed on advice and suggestions. So rewarding!  


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#58 thara96

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Posted 18 November 2019 - 16:16

 

I have been contacted this week by an ex-pupil - he finished his lessons with me four years ago and is now nearly 21 years old. He has continued to play the piano for pleasure and has apparently given some lessons to friends. Now he has been asked to teach an 8 year old boy  who has just been given a piano. He contacted me because he felt that he didn't know quite how to tackle teaching a young beginner; I thought that was nice. I have given him some advice on how to get started, what to look out for, how to observe the pupil etc. and what material to use. He  has promised to come back to me with a progress report and further queries.

 

 

The same thing happened to me last year. A young lady I'd taught in the past (from being an extremely promising 6 year old, through to being at Grade 6 level when I left her area) contacted me for advice about teaching a young beginner. She had passed Grade 8 and wondered if she knew enough to teach anyone else. I was so pleased to hear that she wanted to teach and passed on advice and suggestions. So rewarding!  

 

 

 

I have been contacted this week by an ex-pupil - he finished his lessons with me four years ago and is now nearly 21 years old. He has continued to play the piano for pleasure and has apparently given some lessons to friends. Now he has been asked to teach an 8 year old boy  who has just been given a piano. He contacted me because he felt that he didn't know quite how to tackle teaching a young beginner; I thought that was nice. I have given him some advice on how to get started, what to look out for, how to observe the pupil etc. and what material to use. He  has promised to come back to me with a progress report and further queries.

 

 

The same thing happened to me last year. A young lady I'd taught in the past (from being an extremely promising 6 year old, through to being at Grade 6 level when I left her area) contacted me for advice about teaching a young beginner. She had passed Grade 8 and wondered if she knew enough to teach anyone else. I was so pleased to hear that she wanted to teach and passed on advice and suggestions. So rewarding!  

 

I love hearing stories like this one!


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#59 zwhe

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Posted 21 November 2019 - 20:18

This one is happy and sad - I've just had to tell one of my pupils he will need to get a new teacher soon as he is almost ready for his grade 8 and I don't teach piano past that point. Its good for him, especially as he has been learning for less than 2 years! I've got a friend who is local who could take him on, and I've suggested considering auditioning for one of the junior music colleges as he is only 13.

Its weird - you always wonder what it would be like to have a gifted pupil, and it turns out the answer is...over before you know it! Its been challenging to keep up at times, but very fulfilling.


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#60 Aquarelle

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 08:36

The St;Cecelia episode continues and is  turning out to be great fun.  My two teenage boys doing a trumpet and piano item assured me that this Saturday they couldn't do a lesson together because they had school Saturday morning. In fact it turns out  they have school from nine until eleven on alternate Saturdays. However the "horror"  for them of having to go to school on Saturday looms large in their minds and when I asked if it was every Saturday they both said "Yes." So I set about on a round of phone calls to alter the Saturday morning timetable once more so that they could come at 11.30. But this week I had two parents for whom that proved difficult. A third parent then informed me that there was no school tomorrow and the boys could come. So I had to ring round again with the news that we didn't need to rearrange after all. I thought I might get grouses - but no! Everyone laughed and said how typical of teenage boys to mess things up!

 

Meanwhile the news that I have been invited to the occasion spread among the parents and it turns out that the concert is to take place during a meal and that the meal is a "bring your own picnic" thing. One family have invited me to join them in their picnic and have offered to drive me there and back as I have never been to the school / chateau where this is to take place and it's a bit difficult to find.


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