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This forum is becoming depressing - post happy stories about teaching


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#31 Aquarelle

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 13:10

Well, I wish my four would do something about the domestic spider population! They don't even seem very interested in the mice! 

 

My happy teaching moment so far this week was having a pupil who this month has left behind her college years and started at the lycée. the difference in maturity is showing already. She is a fragile pupil but despite being unwell during the week, came cheerfully for her lesson and had made some real progress on the piece in hand. I had another good moment when a younger boy was working on the cycle of fifths and he counted up all the sharp keys and got them all right. As a "treat" I am teaching him to play chords I V I in every key and he is allowed to use the pedal. He thinks this is great fun!


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#32 BabyGrand

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Posted 26 September 2019 - 16:49

I've been hesitant to join this thread, because things are tough at the minute, and I don't have any spectacular or inspiring stories to share.  But I do try always to look out for the little positives, things that can see you through even a bad week. 

 

Like the enquiry from a lady who apparently has heard "good reports" about my teaching (always encouraging to hear!). 

 

Or the new piano student whose parents have gone from "we may well not continue past the trial lesson", to "we may get some kind of digital piano if he keeps going", to "we can get an acoustic but it will need to go in the attic", to "we're going to make space for it downstairs", within two weeks of lessons.  

 

Or the voice student who had seemed to be losing interest and be not far from giving up, who has started practising again.  

 

Or the boy who was offered a place at an after-school activity that clashed with his violin lesson, but decided he'd "much rather do violin".  

 

Or the delight on a little girl's face when I gave her a special magical unicorn folder to keep her theory sheets in.  

 

Or even the adult student who was so lovely when I had a nightmare of a day and had to cancel and rearrange her lesson, and it made it feel like no problem at all.  

 

:)


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#33 Aquarelle

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Posted 27 September 2019 - 08:48

Like Baby Grand I have had a bit of a tough time this week but I want to put this post here because in the end what looked as if it was going to be tough turned out to be very positive. I am losing two pupils I have had for seven years. I don't want to go into details here but for various reasons teaching these two brothers has thrown up some problems I don't seem able to solve. Their very nice mother, whose friendship I value, came to talk to me about it yesterday. We were both upset by the situation and both searching for a solution. What could have been a very difficult conversation turned out to be informative and positive. The problems are not solved but there is no tension, there was no anger, no recriminations. When I thanked her for coming to talk to me she said "But why should I not come?" she was very surprised to hear that some parents just don't.

 

So every cloud has a silver lining. 

 

Another positive - my first pupil of the Thursday  bunch had done everything I had asked her to do and succeeded and the last one had worked forward  in the piece I set last week, using exactly the same techniques for note learning as I had suggested for that part we had covered together.


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#34 Misterioso

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Posted 28 September 2019 - 10:37

I took on a wee girl for violin lessons several years ago, and to be honest, thought she wouldn't last 6 months. It's been slow progress, but I have just entered her for her Grade 3, and now I'm teaching her piano as well.


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#35 Aquarelle

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Posted 28 September 2019 - 20:50

Teenage boy finally  showing signs of coming round to my point of view that if he listens to me and practises the way I suggest he will actually make progress. Teenage girl asking for more work because her allocated practice time at boarding school is too long for the work I have given her. Eleven year old girl giving a nice performance of the Volga Boat Song on treble recorder. It  was a nice Saturday  morning but did leave me knackered - 6 lessons back to back and I got so involved i forgot to make myself a cup of coffee.


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#36 elliewelly

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Posted 29 September 2019 - 14:03

I have had some rubbish so far this term (non-payment woes, and pupils taking a hike) but also some fab things...

 

A little boy who started learning a year ago is trying out for the NCO and playing Grade 4 pieces.

One of my teenage students likes the look of what I do so much that she has decided to train to be a music teacher.

I have some new, enthusiastic little ones, and a woodwind trial booked for a 7 year old tomorrow.  She's already learning the recorder, and coming to get measured up and see what orchestral instrument she might like to start learning too.


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#37 Aquarelle

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 12:53

Nine years ago one of my boy pupils sat the one and only Trinity exam I have ever entered a pupil for - Grade 6 Piano. It was the usual story of not being able to do Grade 5 theory in time for AB G6 practical. His parents arranged for him to go to Spain to take the exam as there is no Trinity centre here - sadly they no longer operate in northern Spain  either. The pupil then went on to other things and I thought that was probably as far as his music would go.

 

In the supermarket yesterday a man tapped me on the shoulder and said "Excuse me, are you .....?" I said I was but didn't recognize him. He was, in fact the father of the aforesaid pupil. We had quite a long chat and it turns out that his son has never stopped playing and is now back in England playing  keyboard and other instruments with various popular music groups and making his living from music. You honestly never know what seeds you have sown. I was particularly pleased to hear that the young man appreciated his "classical" time with me as this gave him a good basis for other styles. It would be nice if more felt like that - I've just lost two brothers  who decided youtube would be "easier". I have been unable to convince them that a thorough grounding in reading and understanding music would take them a lot further. Well, you can't win 'em all but I was delighted to catch up on one pupil's news! :) 
.


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#38 Aquarelle

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Posted 15 October 2019 - 08:39

I'm doing my best to support this thread because I agree that we often share our difficulties but not always the things that make teaching a happy experience. So here I go again. I got a message from a mother who plays the flute. I teach her four eldest daughters  piano and the eldest (eleven ) of these got a distinction at Grade 1 in the summer. Mother has been asked to play at a church celebration of St Cecelia's Day.. She decided it would be nice if her daughter could accompany her and messaged me to say she had nothing in her music which her little girl could cope with  and could I find something at her level. The child is home schooled so mother and daughter will have time to practise together. Mother said she thought it would be a good experience for her daughter to play in public and to have a project to work on - and she asked if I agreed.

 

I have found a nice little minuet in a book of baroque pieces with an accompaniment which will be easy to simplify and should satisfy both players..


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#39 jenny

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 08:48

My youngest pupil came for her piano lesson yesterday - she's just 6, very bubbly and is doing remarkably well in every way, so I always look forward to her lessons. While I was getting things organised, she starting playing some notes with her right hand and I asked if she could turn it into a tune for me, which she immediately did, complete with words. I was thrilled that she did this so happily and with no hesitation. She was obviously making up the words as she went along and I loved that she thought it was great fun!  


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#40 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 13:57

A few from me:

 

Two young sisters, both learning piano, who are working cooperatively rather than competitively.  Both of them follow directions and their practice is very effective.  The younger sister asked me to give her more material to work on!

 

An adult banjo student who has picked up the style incredibly quickly.  Like the girls I mentioned earlier, he practices at least an hour a day, and his practice is super-effective.  Last night at his lesson we played several duets, with me on guitar and him on banjo.  Then he asked me about the theoretical foundations of rhythm guitar, including chord inversions and harmonization!  Cue a highly technical discussion at the piano, touching everything from diatonic chords, major vs. minor vs. modal (much of the repertoire in this style is Mixolydian), primary chords in major vs. Mixolydian, common progressions and cadences, stylistic appropriateness of progressions and cadences, and even relative minor chords and when it is stylistically appropriate to susbstitute them...   All this with a banjo student who soaked it all up!

 

An adult piano student who is the most ambitious I have ever encountered, and has the dedication and hard work to match!  She practices, on average, three hours a day on average.  Distinctions at Grade 1 and Grade 2.  Taking Grade 5 theory in two weeks' time, scoring Distinction on practice papers.  She actually scored 100% on one of last years' past paper.  I fully expect her to score a Distinction on the exam.  The first time she came to my studio, she brought a long list of music she wanted to play, ranging in difficulty from the Bach/Petzold Minuet in G all the way up to Chopin's Revolutionary Etude.  She has her eyes set on a DipABRSM and perhaps even higher.  This morning she told me that she eventually wants to play the Bach/Busoni Chaconne in D minor, which is from the FRSM syllabus!  She tore through a big compilation of Grade 2 music, and is now working through the Grade 3 syllabus pieces (which are giving her plenty to chew on, thankfully) before she chooses her three exam pieces.  Her scales and arpeggios are coming along great.

 

Another adult piano student, who was formerly a trombonist.  He has a passion for performing publicly, and also for music theory.  Sometimes we spend more than half of each lesson studying theory.  He was asking me last night about the advanced theory exams, including AMusTCL.  He hasn't committed to that track (and I'm not going to push him too hard) but it's great to teach a student who is as passionate about theory as I am!


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#41 corenfa

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 14:22

Dr Rogers- I did something similar with my teacher by bringing her the Chopin polonaise op 53 when I was nowhere close to being able to play it, but I suspect I just gave her a headache instead of inspiring her! Hope your student teaches the level that she wants.
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#42 Aquarelle

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 10:25

Earlier this week I taught some lessons for pupils who don't have the same holiday as me. It meant cutting into a day and a half of my holiday so I was not very pleased but they are lovely  co-operative families and I didn't want them to lose out. All the lessons were enjoyable but one stood out. Several of these children have recently asked me about playing in a concert for St Cecelia's day which a priest at their school is trying to organise.

 

Of course there has been the usual thrusting of music far too difficult into the hands of my pupils and the assumption that if they "play the piano" they can read, learn quickly and accompany another musician just like that. I wrote a note to the priest explaining  that pupil D was full of good will but the  accompaniment to the proposed  violin solo was beyond his capacity and he could offer a short solo piece he has learnt recently and would that do?  The answer was yes but pieces  to be played with another musician were preferred. So i wasn't surprised when the same piece turned up again, this time in the hands of pupil A. this boy has returned to me after a year off and is around Grade 3-4.  He  hadn't brought the score but explained all this to me in a rather garbled fashion at the end of his lesson! so I didn't have time to write another note to Father W but asked the boy to explain that this music was also too difficult for him. As A has only just restarted his lessons with me and didn't explain all this at the start of the lesson there wasn't time to think about an alternative offering.

 

Meanwhile I had had a request from a mother who is a flautist. She had been asked to play a piece and she wanted to do something with her eldest daughter - see my post above. Well this week mother came to the lesson with her flute and we worked together. It was quite delightful. The little girl had learnt all of the piece and only stumbled right at the end when mother lengthened her nice baroque trill to give the child time to catch up! These are moments that make it all worth while, aren't they?


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#43 Misterioso

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 10:44

Well, I wish my four would do something about the domestic spider population! 

 

Last week I took on a delightful new student of 8. When I first answered the door to her and her mother, I ushered them in, and was about to follow when I noticed, dangling from the ceiling, a spider, in between them and me. I don't do spiders! So I stood where I was and yelled "Help" very loudly in the hope that OH or DD would come to the rescue. But the lovely mother stepped forward, asked if I had a spider phobia, and took the spider outside for me, shoeless (mother, not spider) as I have a no shoes policy. I probably didn't make a very good first impression, but they came back this week! 


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#44 chris13

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 10:56

My teacher is currently helping me with Schubert's Impromptu in A flat. I tried to learn it a few years ago but was never satisfied with the sound I could produce. This time I am determined to do justice to it and my teacher has the patience of a saint and I keep apologising to her that I will probably need to go over her advice a number of times before it sinks in. I am always amazed at the number of ways she devises to get over the technical difficulties that I keep coming up with. In this morning's practice session I am beginning to hear what it really should sound like.


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#45 ejw21

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Posted 01 November 2019 - 12:36

My teacher is currently helping me with Schubert's Impromptu in A flat. I tried to learn it a few years ago but was never satisfied with the sound I could produce. This time I am determined to do justice to it and my teacher has the patience of a saint and I keep apologising to her that I will probably need to go over her advice a number of times before it sinks in. I am always amazed at the number of ways she devises to get over the technical difficulties that I keep coming up with. In this morning's practice session I am beginning to hear what it really should sound like.

That's fantastic! 


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