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Teaching Styles

Postby Kpen » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:06 am

Hey Tubenet! What do y'all think of teaching with a strong negative point of view and how do you deal with a teacher who seems to be very negative when it comes to getting the student to improve?
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby The Big Ben » Sun Jun 09, 2019 2:32 am

Kpen wrote:Hey Tubenet! What do y'all think of teaching with a strong negative point of view and how do you deal with a teacher who seems to be very negative when it comes to getting the student to improve?


Dunno. Maybe you are just bad and thick-headed. Deal with it? Fire the teacher and find someone who thinks you are great. And buy a new, expensive mouthpiece and some exotic synthetic valve oil. That can usually help.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby lost » Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:15 am

Thanks for the interesting topic. Assuming this is a private situation you could try a new teacher if that is an option, and on your way out, explain to the negative teacher why you left.

Trying to change someone usually doesn't work. A lot of them think it's their job to tear someone down and instill discipline, and to a degree, it's what you pay for...but it can be done in many positive ways for different learners.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby Ann Reid » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:16 am

Well, the best teachers with whom I’ve ever studied started with the tear down of my bad habits and under functioning skills and then pushed me to adopt progressive approaches to improvement. Negative, I guess.

The worst teachers I’ve ever had were very highly qualified musicians who were too nice and too social, found my conversation too interesting, and took much more of the time I was paying for to chat than to address what I was hoping to achieve.

If as a student you are objective about how you currently play and what you want to achieve from studying with a particular teacher I think it’s easier to decide whether a teacher is invested in student success or is putting in time being nasty and earning a fee for that.

If you’re seeing pointless “nasty”, it may be time to look for someone else. If instead, you are getting structure, consistency, follow through, skill mastery, forward progress, no nonsense instruction? I don’t want to be shmoozed. I want to learn, in language I can understand, how to play better.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby ScotGJ » Sun Jun 09, 2019 8:57 am

The negative view, and the negative argument, are the easiest points of view to take. It is not hard to state what is not working or what is "bad". It is much harder to construct a plan of action around what needs to be done to improve--which can't simply be "don't do that". The best teachers identify where a student is in their skill set, and then prioritize courses of action. Good teachers give clear and explicit feedback about what is not working and they give clear perceptions (and models) for what needs to be done to replace the ineffective actions. A student also needs to know what they are doing correctly. If all the teaching is around "what not to do" a student can get stuck with no positive model to aim for.

There can also be another discussion about how people behave in a position of power. Some behave badly.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby bloke » Sun Jun 09, 2019 9:24 am

I never bought lessons searching for compliments, as compliments aren't particularly instructive.

That having been said, I never sought out teachers that couldn't - besides blunt criticism - supply shining example (via their own performance demonstrations).
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby windshieldbug » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:09 am

bloke wrote:I never bought lessons searching for compliments, as compliments aren't particularly instructive.

That having been said, I never sought out teachers that couldn't - besides blunt criticism - supply shining example (via their own performance demonstrations).


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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby Art Hovey » Sun Jun 09, 2019 10:31 pm

Teaching private lessons is much easier than teaching physics to a class because what's right for one student is just wrong for the next. But the teacher still has to figure out what works best for the the student. That's a skill which some have and some don't.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby jperry1466 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:18 pm

One of the best teachers I ever studied with was David Kuehn at North Texas. I went to college about 90 miles away but studied with him privately, taking one-hour lessons. When I didn't do well or wasn't as prepared as I should have been, he would just say, "you're doing fine". At the end of 59 minutes, I went home. When I practiced my tail off and went back the next time well prepared, there would be no compliments or even recognition of my progress, but the lesson would last 2 hours or more. It didn't take this country boy long to figure out he was a different kind of motivator and teacher.

In my own directing career, I could be pretty harsh and negative, but when the kids did something well I praised them just as hard as I had criticized. Knowing your material is not enough; you have to figure out what motivates your student to do it right. Some of the worst teachers I had were great orchestra players with a great God-given natural talent. They never had to struggle and couldn't understand why everyone else did.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby Art Hovey » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:37 pm

"They never had to struggle and couldn't understand why everyone else did."

That's it.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby Worth » Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:29 am

I have always appreciated the more critical style, but with a decent sense of humor. Someone who is not above sharing their crash-and-burn moments.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby bloke » Tue Jun 11, 2019 12:13 am

Art Hovey wrote:"They never had to struggle and couldn't understand why everyone else did."

That's it.


I don't really care whether a teacher is sympathetic with my struggles.
I'm only interested in them pointing out that they are audibly aware of them...
...and - if the entire passage/piece doesn't sound like a struggle - where/when it does sound like a struggle.

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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby MaryAnn » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:12 pm

All I ever wanted was to be shown (I'm a visual learner) how to play the instrument. I found that exceedingly hard to come by; the standard from a horn teacher would be to give an "exercise" that would force the student to learn a specific technique in order to do the exercise, without any instruction on how to do the technique, or sometimes even what the exercise was for. I ended up deciding they didn't know how to teach the techniques. Only had a few really good lessons in my entire life. Attitude didn't matter....it was whether I was getting the information I was paying for. The only exception to the "showing" was my oboe teacher, who was downright fantastic. With just a few things being told in words that described what to do, I was off and running. Of course this guy could have been an engineer, so it was a good mental match. He never criticized; he'd just say "do such and such" to fix the problem.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby pauvog1 » Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:54 pm

If you're not happy with the service your private instructor is providing, then find another.

That being said, some folks can be a little abrasive, but still effective. It's your $ and ultimately your call. Random folks on the internet w/o all the info can't really give you much better answers to this one.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby timothy42b » Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:22 am

MaryAnn wrote:All I ever wanted was to be shown (I'm a visual learner) how to play the instrument. I found that exceedingly hard to come by; the standard from a horn teacher would be to give an "exercise" that would force the student to learn a specific technique in order to do the exercise, without any instruction on how to do the technique, or sometimes even what the exercise was for.


I think there is a big divide between teachers who are goal focused (what) and teachers who are method focused (how). Goal focused (inner tennis types) are probably the majority, because that's what worked for them. Some of us students do better with teachers who understand the how, not just the what. There exists a great fear of losing it all by trying to understand too deeply, almost like a religious person falling into heresy and worse by questioning the wrong thing.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby MaryAnn » Wed Jun 12, 2019 4:18 pm

That's the problem....if the student is not a natural, not explaining the how ends up with someone who doesn't progress.

For example, viewtopic.php?f=2&t=92684
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby hbcrandy » Wed Jun 12, 2019 6:17 pm

When teaching, you have to walk a fine line between a positive attitude toward a student and statement of reality when it is appropriate. I tend to find something in the student's playing that I like to some degree and start with mentioning that aspect of his/her playing, but, following it with, "But here is how to make it even better yet." Or, things that are glaringly bad, I open with, "Here is something we really have to get to work on." and offer suggestions of how to work on it to get improvement.

A needed reality check came up just recently in a lesson with a talented, but young student. The student wanted to take an audition for an ensemble and his parents sent me the music two weeks before the audition. First, there was no way in two weeks the student could have presented himself well enough to make the ensemble. Secondly, the music was WAY to difficult for the student at his current level. I told the student that he is not ready for this ensemble at this time, but, with serious dedication and work, in the future it would be a possibility. Also, in the future, for auditions such as this, get the repertoire as early as he could to allow the preparation time needed. I conveyed the same message to his parents and added that I want to set my students up to succeed. On this audition, his very first, he would crash and burn at his current level of playing, I want to make a first audition a positive experience when he is at the skill level to take such an audition.

I try not to be negative but I do convey that improvement is possible with work. No one is born knowing how to play their chosen instrument.
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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby hup_d_dup » Wed Jun 12, 2019 8:17 pm

Kpen wrote:Hey Tubenet! What do y'all think of teaching with a strong negative point of view and how do you deal with a teacher who seems to be very negative when it comes to getting the student to improve?


It makes a big difference whether this is happening in a school situation or if in private lessons.

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Re: Teaching Styles

Postby russiantuba » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:15 pm

“There is no reason for your success or failure other than your state of mind”—Roger Rocco

Negativity exists, and it can be closely confused with someone fixing issues you have in order to make you better. There are boundaries. I’ve had issues as a student where I had an instructor tell me to quit and sell my horns, due to something small and fixable.

As a teacher, sometimes you hear something and thing after thing that needs improvement, and you may feel that you should point it out so they can work on it in the midst of larger concepts so they have a high level of awareness. Part of it is understanding and learning a teaching style. As a student, you should ask if you have questions or if it is unclear. Just because they are picky and have high standards, doesn’t mean they are negative, it often means they hear the potential. Also, though I try to teach and learn the student’s cognitive abilities, and thus each approach is different, if a student does like a particular approach, I focus on that. Teaching is an art in itself.

I try to point out, and I make students point out to themselves things they notice as good and improvement to help to ride the success. I would suggest the same regardless of the situation. Also, remember the private lesson is not so much teaching, but coaching. We work with what YOU put into work in the practice room, and do final shaping and additions to what you bring in through certain concepts (I learned this approach from composition teachers and art teachers), while introducing the concepts. Keep an open mind, but don’t accept things like “you suck, you won’t ever make it, etc).

I would highly suggest that you take a couple outside lessons, if allowed (assuming you are a college student). If you are a high school student, you are more than welcome to take a guest lesson with me at Ohio Northern Univ and I know many people in your area you can benefit from.
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