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Do you think we need to consider changing piano teachers?

(16 Posts)
FiveHoursSleep Wed 19-Apr-17 08:19:09

This is our third teacher/ teachers- our first stopped teaching and went into politics, our second was very traditional and my eldest coped with the 90 minute lessons and the insistence on 30 minutes of scale practice a day, but my youngest three have autism and found her too demanding and were refusing to go to lessons.
So we moved to a local 'studio' that has three teachers teaching at once, is always very busy and is very relaxed about exams etc.
The kids ( 15, 13, 11 and 9 now) just don't seem to be learning very much. DD1 ran out of time to sit her G6 exam, so has just moved on to G7- she's gone to another teacher and is progressing well.
DDs 2 and 3 have been preparing for their G5 and 3 exams for over two years and are now sitting them next week in a rush as they have run out of time too. There are a whole lot of pupils in the same boat.
DD2 has failed G5 theory 3 times now ( 45%, 55% and 59%) and DS has been learning for three years now and hasn't even started his G1 pieces yet.
I'm not fixated on grades really, but it's some measure of progress and the kids to compare their progress with others.
They are all quite musical- grades 6, 5, and 3 in their second instruments and they do practice every day- some days more than others.
AIBU, or should we look for yet another teacher? Unfortunately DD's teacher is full otherwise we would consider him.

Ceto Wed 19-Apr-17 08:28:03

I don't really follow how they have run out of time? It's a few years since I dealt with grade exams, but my recollection is that you just entered for them as and when you were ready. I think a lot depends on whether they're enjoying their music or are frustrated by lack of progress. If you want them to take exams, they obviously are going to have to do the work on scales etc.

Fleurdelise Wed 19-Apr-17 08:30:38

In the situation described above and if the dcs are practising but not progressing I would definitely look for another teacher, I would though ask their current teacher why they think there is no progress. When you say the three teachers are all teaching at once do they get the same teacher every time or are they taught by whichever teacher is available?

ImaginaryCat Wed 19-Apr-17 08:32:40

I assume you mean the syllabus is changing, hence running out of time.
With what you describe I'd switch. You need a middle ground. My DD has a fab one but I'm not giving her name out until DD2 has a space! grin

FiveHoursSleep Wed 19-Apr-17 09:02:02

Yes, sorry, the syllabus has run out.
They do see the same teachers but they don't make a point in writing stuff down and seem to just go over the same stuff again and again.
Don't get me wrong, kids are not perfect and can be resistant to doing what they are asked, but we are paying £22 per half hour lesson per child and I just expect a little more feedback/motivation/progress...
Will start looking for new teachers.

Wafflenose Wed 19-Apr-17 09:18:55

Yep, I would move them. I remember your DD2 and the theory from about a year ago - I would dearly love to help her, but fear I might be too far away (South West). As an aside, another teacher might be able to move her to a different exam board so that the theory won't be an issue for a long time - she could always move back for, say, Grade 8.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 19-Apr-17 09:28:03

Aww Wafflenose, that would be lovely but we are in London.
I think she needs some dedicated help with her theory, not the 10 minutes tacked on the back of a lesson that she's getting now.
I'm not sure what the situation is this time, but last time she got 100% in two of the difficult questions,, and 80 in another, but then got 0% in another where she answered it wrong from the beginning and 10% in an 'easy' question.
I am sure she is capable of passing this and recognise it's not all the teacher's fault, but I don't feel she is really committed to getting DD2 over this hump IYKWIM.

Wafflenose Wed 19-Apr-17 09:36:11

If a pupil like DD2 were to come to me, I'd have them do at least one paper each of Grade 3, 4 and 5 (and I'd be prepared to go back further to fill in gaps if necessary) to see where the problem areas were. I'd then spend a couple of terms working methodically through the Grade 5 book and around 8 practice papers to build confidence. I'd recommend 30 minutes per week for a few months to really get to grips with it. Having said that, a few year ago a girl came to me having failed twice, and her mum was only willing to pay for 4 hours of my time. That meant I was unable to teach her in my usual thorough way, but we found the problems (scales and ledger lines - she didn't know any scales and didn't draw any ledger lines, so her high and low notes were indecipherable) and managed to do just enough to get her over the pass mark.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 19-Apr-17 09:54:36

I think that's what she needs tbh. Some dedicated and methodical teaching from someone who isn't a parent or sibling...

FiveHoursSleep Wed 19-Apr-17 12:02:53

It looks like the school will take DD2 for her theory, so that should help. Now to track down some piano lesson spaces...

Wafflenose Wed 19-Apr-17 12:32:08

That's really good news! I'm sure she'll pass with some more time and structured lessons.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 19-Apr-17 14:57:37

Thanks Wafflenose. Some people are probably thinking that she's just not able to pass the exam, but I'm sure she is with the right help.
She's far from stupid and she has been very good about having to try again and again and again.

Ferguson Wed 19-Apr-17 19:53:02

I always claim that with Theory - as with Maths for some children - it is very important that they UNDERSTAND what they are being told and shown. There is quite a lot of Maths and Physics in understanding how Harmony and Scales 'work'.

There are plenty of books and on-line sites that demonstrate technical things to do with music, though some are better than others.

Come back if you still need help, and I'll try and direct you towards suitable resources.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 19-Apr-17 20:07:54

Ferguson, I think you are right. DD likes to understand why things work, she can't just memorise them.
I'd like any links you could give us, if you have time.

Ferguson Sat 22-Apr-17 20:59:41

Sorry - have only just come back to this 'thread':

shop.abrsm.org/shop/prod/Taylor-Eric-First-Steps-in-Music-Theory/610730

shop.abrsm.org/shop/prod/Taylor-Eric-The-AB-Guide-to-Music-Theory-Part-I/598230

shop.abrsm.org/shop/prod/Taylor-Eric-Music-Theory-in-Practice-Grade-1/599624

(There is Theory in Practice book for each Grade: I have only shown Grade 1 as an example.)

www.8notes.com/piano/

www.dummies.com/art-center/music/piano/the-grand-staff-and-ledger-lines-of-piano-music/

www.essential-music-theory.com/grand-staff.html

These links may be of some use, I hope!

FiveHoursSleep Tue 25-Apr-17 14:24:23

Thank you so much for these links. I hope to have a happier update later in the year but we've just got her mark sheet back. 2/10 for intervals and 4/10 for key recognition but full marks for transposition and chord recognition!
I'm sure she can pass with some dedicated lessons.

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