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Piano lessons - self teach v's teacher coming to house

(16 Posts)
whiteagle Thu 28-Jul-16 23:12:06

My DS who is 10 has an interest in music - plays the guitar and has bursts of liking the piano. I taught him myself when aged 8 using the Pauline Hall beginner books - his interest waned a bit, but he then was keen to start again and so i got him a teacher that come to the houses each week. He has lost his enthusiasm again ( teacher is young and vibrant so not coming from her). I am stopping the lessons as it is a waste of money of he isn't practising.

He does like playing though - he uses youtube to learn pop songs. I'm not bothered about grades, ( i slogged it out to grade5) and if he just does it for pleasure that is fine with me.

So my question is where do we go from here? I am thinking maybe an online course where he can work at his own pace or do i get him fun music and just say to hell with the fingering! Does anyone have an experiences to share of less formal learning?

Mistigri Fri 29-Jul-16 07:37:20

Honest opinion? You've tried formal lessons twice and it didn't suit him. I would leave him to it, with access to youtube if he needs it (there are a lot of piano tutorials on YouTube).

My DD having done some lessons (on a wind instrument) as a younger child stopped music lessons completely at 10. Aged 11/12 she took up guitar then later piano, both initially self-taught. She just stated proper formal piano lessons in the last year (she's 15 now) and progress has been remarkable.

Motivated older children can make very rapid progress - getting on for grade 8 standard in 18 months worth of lessons in DD's case - she is a better pianist than I was after 8 years of lessons as a child. You'll find other examples on the general musicians thread.

Does your DS have guitar lessons? You might look at finding him a group class, for the social side. DD has guitar lessons with a local music school run by a jazz musician - she started in the adolescent group (where they played mainly pop songs) and this year has moved into the adult jazz group. She loves it.

SaltyMyDear Fri 29-Jul-16 07:39:21

Grade 8 in 18 months!!!!! Piano or guitar?

Mistigri Fri 29-Jul-16 07:49:25

Salty piano and "getting on for", not actually passing an exam (she doesn't do exams but is playing grade 7-8 repertoire). But this really isn't uncommon among older, motivated students with some prior musical experience and in DD's case it doesn't imply great musical talent.

Like a lot of mainly self taught musicians, DD's strength is improvisation and composition, not technical ability. Maybe the OP's son would like to try this?

irvineoneohone Fri 29-Jul-16 08:45:30

Mistigri, how did you decide (or did she decide ) she wasn't going to do exams?

My ds started learning piano in Feberuary, and loving it at the moment. He does lessons at school for 20 minutes a week. The teacher gave him a homework over the summer to buy grade1 piano book, choose 3 pieces and practice over the summer.
I am not entirely sure if I want him to take exam route. He said he will do as requested by teacher, but I'm not sure if he understands meaning of taking exam route. (Book is for 2017/2018, so quite long way to go there yet, but still.)

Like your dd, my ds loves improvisation and composition, rather than playing a piece as it says.
We ordered the book, but still not sure. ( I want to say to teacher he is not doing any exams for at least for a while, but I don't know if it's ok or not.)

raspberryrippleicecream Fri 29-Jul-16 08:57:40

Irvine firstly if your DS has reached that standard on 20 mins a week at school he is doing really well.

Misti doesn't live in UK so her DD is in a different system.

Exams aren't compulsory, my DC play multiple instruments eith exams in some and not others. They also skip grades.

Choosing 3 pieces on their own to learn with no input also seems an unusual method to me, but I am not from a musical background.

Why not come over to the musicians thread, lots of experience on there.

irvineoneohone Fri 29-Jul-16 09:17:55

Thank you, raspberry.
I have no background in music, so I have no clue about anything!
I think it's more of have a go, rather than practice properly, about 3 pieces.
At the lesson, teacher gives him homework to practice new pieces(about 3 short ones.) every week on the book, and correct him at lessons. Is it not normal?
It feels like they are going really fast. I don't even know if he is playing it correctly or not, when he is practicing.

raspberryrippleicecream Fri 29-Jul-16 09:34:34

How old is your DS? Which book is he using?

Mine whizzed through the early books, but two of them played other instruments first.

DS2 started from scratch at 6 on 15 mins at school, then 30 mins at home. But the teacher told me what she was focussing on each week. I was lucky to sit in on his lesson at school (I was volunteering eldewhere) but she writes it in their practice books if not.

raspberryrippleicecream Fri 29-Jul-16 09:38:54

Sorry, op. I meant to answer you too.

In your position I'd let him enjoy it.

It might also be that he hasn't found 'his' instrument yet.

irvineoneohone Fri 29-Jul-16 09:46:18

He is 8, and just finished yr3.
He is using piano time 1 and piano time pieces.
He likes to play by ear, so he played song from his favorite game for school concert. But when she asked him to translate the music into score, he couldn't do it. I don't think he got basics covered yet.
She writes something on the notebooks, for direction for homework. But most of the time, he tries to figure out how to play the piece, and come back and tell me he was completely wrong.

irvineoneohone Fri 29-Jul-16 09:47:43

I am sorry, for hijacking!

catkind Fri 29-Jul-16 09:56:29

Irvine that's amazing progress if he's ready for the grade 1 pieces already. I know from other threads that he's very bright though. If they can easily pick up music reading it makes a big difference. And if they practice most days - it's amazing how many seem to think it's a once a week activity according to music teacher friends! Can you email or call the teacher and say you'd rather DS didn't take exams for now? They'll still be good pieces to learn. There's no particular need to do every single exam. I started at 4 on one instrument, 3 on the other, both after a few years just learning for fun.

whiteagle Fri 29-Jul-16 15:40:24

We too used PianoTime 1 and made rapid progress. He now has a grade 1 classical ( swan lake etc book) as he likes that stuff too. I guess my concern with the letting him get on with it is that he will develop bad habits with fingering that will be impossible to correct. Can anyone recommend online resources.

BackforGood Fri 29-Jul-16 15:49:55

I think it's worth persevering with proper lessons until they get to around Grade 3 or 4 standard. All dc go through stages of not practising. I think if you give them the basics (even if it's slower due to limited practice) then they have the skills to pick up whatever instrument they want when they get a bit older, with resources like the internet.

irvineoneohone Fri 29-Jul-16 17:16:34

Thank you cat.
We haven't received the book yet, we'll see what's it's like first. (He may freak out!)

Ferguson Fri 29-Jul-16 20:07:43

OP - what kinds of music does he prefer, and does he know any 'Theory'?

As you suspected, Fingering is important, but there are a few rules that make it not TOO difficult. Also, scales and exercises can make it easier to get 'fingers to do what they are supposed to do'.

And is it an acoustic piano you have, or a digital piano or keyboard? An electronic instrument gives much more scope for 'informal' learning, and computers, recording and multi-tracking can also keep the interest of a young musician who doesn't want to to go down the formal 'Grades' route.

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