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So my guitar/piano lesson was a disaster...what do I do to sort this out?

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  • So my guitar/piano lesson was a disaster...what do I do to sort this out?

    Urgh, this is going from bad to worse. I took in my keyboard and tried to use it in class with a student, and regardless of what I seemed to do my student seemed to really struggle. I tried various different things including playing right or left-hand parts only, breaking it down bar-by-bar, explaining the chordal patterns....pretty much anything I tried seemed to fail.



    Part of the problem seemed to be that he could not follow the sheet music, which consists of the two piano staves with guitar chords written above them.



    I'm quite frustrated now, as my hopes were that future lessons would involve me doing more accompaniment and my student could then be allowed to play more freely unaccompanied and free from me having to show him every single thing he needs to do.



    So, can anyone think of a decent solution to this problem? My only idea was to teach sheet music reading for the piano accompaniment so that he could then follow it as I do. But this seems like massive overkill and isn't likely to be that helpful outside of these specific songs.



    I'm beginning to wonder if the problem is me; I've always been in the lucky position of being able to just get on and play alongside other musicians without getting lost, and on the reverse nearly all the new musicians I've dealt with have been able to do this as well. Similarly, I learnt to read sheet music pretty easily, and so think nothing of reading staves.
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    <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>Motorik</strong>
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    <div class="message">[Prog rockers are] all babes. It's like the Miss World contest, but with sudden changes of time-signature.</div>

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  • #2
    Sorry but I can't follow that at all.

    Maybe teaching isn't for you.

    Comment


    • #3
      It seems to me if I understand your post properly, that you need to teach your student how to read music first.
      <div class="signaturecontainer">Foul language is the sign of a weak mind trying to express itself forcibly. * Thankfully, my computer program masks all the foul language and changes it to @&amp;%)7#</div>

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      • #4






        Quote Originally Posted by Steadfastly
        View Post

        It seems to me if I understand your post properly, that you need to teach your student how to read music first.




        He's a guitarist...how many guitarists will ever need to read sheet music outside of classical guitarists?
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        <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>Motorik</strong>
        <a href="showthread.php?p=46326925#post46326925" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
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        <div class="message">[Prog rockers are] all babes. It's like the Miss World contest, but with sudden changes of time-signature.</div>

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        • #5
          How long has this student been learning guitar?
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          <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>jonfinn</strong>
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          <div class="message"> (Yoda: &quot;Practice you will. Discouraged, frustrated and inadequate you will feel. Give up you must not for failure you will guarantee.&quot</div>

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          • #6






            Quote Originally Posted by PhilGould
            View Post

            Urgh, this is going from bad to worse. I took in my keyboard and tried to use it in class with a student, and regardless of what I seemed to do my student seemed to really struggle. I tried various different things including playing right or left-hand parts only, breaking it down bar-by-bar, explaining the chordal patterns....pretty much anything I tried seemed to fail.



            Part of the problem seemed to be that he could not follow the sheet music, which consists of the two piano staves with guitar chords written above them.



            I'm quite frustrated now, as my hopes were that future lessons would involve me doing more accompaniment and my student could then be allowed to play more freely unaccompanied and free from me having to show him every single thing he needs to do.



            So, can anyone think of a decent solution to this problem? My only idea was to teach sheet music reading for the piano accompaniment so that he could then follow it as I do. But this seems like massive overkill and isn't likely to be that helpful outside of these specific songs.



            I'm beginning to wonder if the problem is me; I've always been in the lucky position of being able to just get on and play alongside other musicians without getting lost, and on the reverse nearly all the new musicians I've dealt with have been able to do this as well. Similarly, I learnt to read sheet music pretty easily, and so think nothing of reading staves.




            Don't get discouraged if one of your solutions doesn't work! If anything, you eliminated a possible solution. That gets you closer to the right answer. Try to establish from the student these two things:



            -What does he/she want to be able to do that he/she can't do now?

            -How important is that goal to them?



            One of the biggest mistakes teachers make is to push their own agenda on their students. It's an easy mistake because the teacher is (hopefully) further along than the student and (hopefully) knows more. The teacher can spot all the potential pitfalls.



            However, the teacher never has ALL the information. You can only go on what you have in front of you.



            In my case, I'm a pretty strong reader. I've done tons and tons on gigs where I show up and sight-read the gig, top to bottom. I didn't learn to do that until it was clear the NOT learning to sight-read would hurt my career. My teachers shoved it down my throat and it did nothing. Not until it became important to me.



            On teaching, one of the best pieces of advice I ever got came from another faculty member at Berklee, Jim Kelly:

            "Never work harder than the student."
            Thinking too much produces exactly the opposite of the intended outcome.

            Comment


            • #7
              IMO, student-centric teaching starts with determining a frame of reference, one that both the student and the teacher share. A good teacher helps the student navigate towards their goals. We cannot get the student to their goals by forcing them to go a certain way or do a certain thing. We may have to let them experience many different perspectives peripheral to their goal before they start to get an idea on how all those various perspectives are just different views of the same thing. We often have to walk them around the problem before they start to see their own path.



              Creativity and cognitive empathy are our best tools. Once they find a path that will move them closer to their goals it's our job to facilitate their process by using tools and methods that we've discovered though our (hopefully more extensive) experience.



              It's OK to have chosen the wrong method from time to time, it shows that you are brave enough to be creative. It's when we choose the wrong method too often that we know we need to reconnect with what the student wants and how they are seeing these things.



              A wise man once told me "We teach what we want to learn". I always try to keep that thought in mind in order to avoid pressuring my students to learn a certain way and to push myself to continually reassess what my student's perspective is on these issues.



              cheers,

              Comment


              • #8






                Quote Originally Posted by PhilGould
                View Post

                So, can anyone think of a decent solution to this problem? My only idea was to teach sheet music reading for the piano accompaniment so that he could then follow it as I do. But this seems like massive overkill and isn't likely to be that helpful outside of these specific songs.




                Yes, that was overkill. In that particular scenario, you might have have prepared your student's sheet music with just HIS part and not include yours. Some students do not respond well to too much data being thrown at them at once.









                Quote Originally Posted by PhilGould
                View Post

                I'm beginning to wonder if the problem is me; I've always been in the lucky position of being able to just get on and play alongside other musicians without getting lost, and on the reverse nearly all the new musicians I've dealt with have been able to do this as well. Similarly, I learnt to read sheet music pretty easily, and so think nothing of reading staves.




                No two students learn in exactly the same fashion. You cannot assume any student will have exactly the same learning experience as yours.



                Listen well to the advice of Jon Finn and Jed - these guys have teaching experience. You should also take lessons yourself - because you have asked about things in other posts that are best answered by studying with a teacher. Take lessons not only for yourself, but for the benefit of your students - study how your teacher is teaching you and see what you can apply in turn to your students.

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                • #9
                  I'm not a classical guitarist, but I read music all the time. I do a lot of musical theatre work, which is some of the most intensive reading gigs out there. I also use the skill to learn music out of books all the time, and also to write down my own songs, especially for playing in bands that aren't guitar-centric.
                  www.poparad.com

                  Comment


                  • #10






                    Quote Originally Posted by PhilGould
                    View Post

                    He's a guitarist...how many guitarists will ever need to read sheet music outside of classical guitarists?




                    I hope you're saying this "tongue in cheek". Any one who is serious about playing music should be able and want to read music. There are so many things sheet music can tell you that tabs never can. Rests, time signature, length of notes and tied notes are just a few of them.
                    <div class="signaturecontainer">Foul language is the sign of a weak mind trying to express itself forcibly. * Thankfully, my computer program masks all the foul language and changes it to @&amp;%)7#</div>

                    Comment


                    • #11






                      Quote Originally Posted by Steadfastly
                      View Post

                      I hope you're saying this "tongue in cheek". Any one who is serious about playing music should be able and want to read music. There are so many things sheet music can tell you that tabs never can. Rests, time signature, length of notes and tied notes are just a few of them.




                      True - and I can read music but tend not to on guitar. I like the sheet music with the TAB underneath. I use the TAB for finger position only and use the staff for everything else you mentioned - note duration, time, all accents, legato, etc. The combination of both works really well for me.

                      Comment


                      • #12






                        Quote Originally Posted by Steadfastly
                        View Post

                        I hope you're saying this "tongue in cheek". Any one who is serious about playing music should be able and want to read music. There are so many things sheet music can tell you that tabs never can. Rests, time signature, length of notes and tied notes are just a few of them.




                        Problem with sheet music is that sometimes it's just not going to be there. Relying on sheet music to tell you about rests and ornamentation is a massively dangerous thing when it is really needed that you develop your ear to judge for yourself where stuff like this is necessary. One of my favourite guitarists Allan Holdsworth can't read a note and he seems to manage just fine.



                        I think this thread's gone off on a tangent slightly though...I've taught guitar classes before where not a note of the stave made an appearance and yet every single student was able to play the material I'd set them to be able to play, with piano accompaniment.



                        The issue isn't even the sheet music but the fact that this student can't play guitar along to a piano accompaniment, whcih was really the entire point of me bringing in the keyboard to class in the first place. It likely wouldn't have mattered if I'd just given him a lyrics/chords sheet without the stave.
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                        <img src="images/misc/quote_icon.png" alt="Quote" /> Originally Posted by <strong>Motorik</strong>
                        <a href="showthread.php?p=46326925#post46326925" rel="nofollow"><img class="inlineimg" src="images/buttons/viewpost-right.png" alt="View Post" /></a>
                        </div>
                        <div class="message">[Prog rockers are] all babes. It's like the Miss World contest, but with sudden changes of time-signature.</div>

                        </div>
                        </div>
                        </div> </div>

                        Comment


                        • #13






                          Quote Originally Posted by vman4639
                          View Post

                          True - and I can read music but tend not to on guitar. I like the sheet music with the TAB underneath. I use the TAB for finger position only and use the staff for everything else you mentioned - note duration, time, all accents, legato, etc. The combination of both works really well for me.




                          You must have excellent sighting perception to be able to connect both. I could never do that. However, with a little more practice, you can do away with the tabs for finger position, the notes tell you where your fingers go.
                          <div class="signaturecontainer">Foul language is the sign of a weak mind trying to express itself forcibly. * Thankfully, my computer program masks all the foul language and changes it to @&amp;%)7#</div>

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            can the the kid play in time?

                            can he tap his foot along while he is playing?

                            can he play along with a metronome?

                            with a drum machine?
                            <div class="signaturecontainer">I used to be &quot;with it&quot;, then they changed what &quot;it&quot; was.<br />
                            Now, what I'm with isn't &quot;it&quot;, and what's &quot;it&quot; seems weird and scary to me.<br />
                            (Abe Simpson)</div>

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Well, the obvious solution is to get a new student.



                              Get rid of this bum who can't play what you want. Who does he think he is?
                              **This space for rent. Inquire at office.**

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