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#1 adultpianist

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 17:12

I came across a bloke the other day who was advertising his services as a piano teacher.   I was curious so I asked him what his rates were and he said £40 for an hour.    I said do you do half hour lessons and he said no because you cannot learn much in 30 minutes.  I then said I have only ever had 30 minute lessons and have taken four grade exams and now playing pieces at grade 5 standard.   He then said he has never taken any exams.  

 

How can someone teach pupils if they have never taken any grades and therefore has no idea of how they work or what is needed to pass an exam in order to coach anyone wishing to go for grades


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#2 BadStrad

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 17:25

You can attend the Royal Academy and other music conservertoires without taking any music exams. A lack of exam passes doesn't mean a person lacks the skills or musicality to be a magnificent player, just that they didn't take exams.

Besides, exams are little indication of the quality of one's skill as a player as they test a variety of skills so high marks in one or two sections can boost the overall grade of an OK player.

The syllabus tells a teacher what is required and for the interested there are other support materials. It is pretty obvious what is required if you look at the documents and the music.
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#3 adultpianist

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 19:45

I think grades should be scrapped   They are clearly of little or no use


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#4 chris13

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 22:00

As far as I know, little is known about the UK music grades in the US, so I presume very few piano or instrument teachers there will have followed the 'graded approach'. I have never bothered with exams since deciding to take up piano again in mid life almost thirty years ago but I can understand others who do wish to take this route. I can appreciate what I have missed out on in not attempting grades 5,6,7, grade 5 theory but have also assumed that in my case grade 8 would be unattainable.

 

Thing is if you mention to a group of acquaintances that you play piano it is likely the next question will be what grade are you ? I agree that the question and answer need not reflect on a person's ability to play. It does however say something about their approach to systematic study.  


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#5 BadStrad

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Posted 26 January 2019 - 23:39

I agree that the question and answer need not reflect on a person's ability to play. It does however say something about their approach to systematic study.

I don't see why that should be so. Following an exam syllabus is one system. Frankly, it isn't necessarily the best system, particularly when followed in tandem with the prescribed theory syllabus which is very piano centric. I would argue that the exam system encourages advancing without improving, ie the opposite of meaningful systematic study and development as a musician.
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#6 adultpianist

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 08:15

I think the only time grades matter is when you want to teach music because at the school I go to no teacher can be employed to teach any instrument unless they have passed Grade 7


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#7 Latin pianist

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 08:32

Surely that can't be the only criteria. I've got grade 7 cello but there's no way I could teach cello.
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#8 EllieD

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 08:59

Definitely agree that you don't need exams to be a great teacher - although it probably does give some comfort to those paying the money that the teacher is competent - but definitely not necessary. I would reject that teacher because of the statement "you cannot learn much in 30 minutes" - definitely not true! I learn a lot with my teacher in that time, and (having the concentration span of a halibut) I'm not sure I could manage much longer! I think a lot of people here have lessons shorter than an hour, and don't hear any complaints about that.


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#9 zwhe

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 09:09

Grade 7 hardly gives you all the technical and musical knowledge you need to teach! I wouldn't want a teacher who hasn't either a diploma in at least one of their instruments or a music degree. Would you want a teacher at school with no further education than medium grade A-levels (approx equivalent for grade 7)? You can do a music degree, including at one of the music colleges without doing any grades, so I wouldn't be concerned about lack of them. It is also possible to get through grades based on only what your teacher has taught you; post-grade 8 study requires independent learning which is vital if you are going to teach.


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#10 vron

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 10:33

I am taught piano by someone who never did grade exams as a child but later he did some performance exams. Neither did he go to a conservatoire etc. however he has played piano and organ since a young child and had lessons with a friend who just happened to be a conservatoire teacher. He is a great piano player and teacher with deep understanding of theory and development of music and composing etc. He is also good at getting this across to me.

It shows that there is not one prescribed route or qualification that makes a good teacher.
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#11 Arundodonuts

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 11:59

I found following the grade route very useful in keeping me working effectively. It's not so much the grade exams that matter, it's the fact that someone has put together a syllabus which leads from beginner to advanced in a logical manner. The exams provide targets to aspire to and measure yourself against along the way. As an adult beginner I never had aspirations to do anything with music other than play with similar amateur musicians so the exams don't mean anything to anyone else. They were a means to an end. My first teacher had not taken grade exams - but she was Chinese and had studied in Beijing! My current English teacher did go through the standard UK grade system before going to conservatoire. Both are vey fine players and teachers.


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#12 Maizie

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 13:45

Being good at something does not make you good at teaching that something.  This is not just true for music.  Being a good artist won't make you a good art teacher; being a good physicist won't make you a good physics teacher.  You might be both, but teaching ability doesn't necessarily follow ability.

And it goes beyond teaching, as well - I'm sure we can all think of someone at work who was good at what they did, but lousy when promoted to being a manager.  It's even been in the news relatively recently with "why don't good footballers necessarily make good football managers?"  To me, that's almost a non-question - the answer is so obviously (to me) because there's a big difference between doing a thing, and teaching/managing a thing.  Shock, horror - person good a Thing A is not necessarily good at (somewhat related) Thing B!

 

Being good at grade exams means ... you are good at grade exams.  It means you can meet the requirements of the syllabus.  It doesn't necessarily say anything about your overall musical skills (though it can, depending on how the exam system is used).  But it absolutely won't tell you anything about a person's teaching ability - that's never been intended to be what it does.


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#13 mel2

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 14:43

Adultpianist only tells us what this person hasn't done.

We may be speaking of someone with an established local reputation as a performer, and who was schooled in a different way leading to conservatoire.
On the other hand, he may just be some chancer with an inflated idea of his own worth.
Either way, someone who has not been through the exam system may not be a suitable teacher for someone who likes to measure their progress against a prescribed yardstick; but he may be ideal for a jazz fan if that is his strength.

Sounds like he has his eye on a particular market if he is not prepared to compromise on lesson times.
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#14 Cyrilla

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 23:58

Hear, HEAR, Maizie!

 

:) :) :)


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#15 Aquarelle

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Posted 27 January 2019 - 23:58

I think grades should be scrapped   They are clearly of little or no use

I think judo belts should be scrapped along with football matches, tennis tournaments, dance competitions, horse racing, dog obedience trials, cat shows  and anything else that plays a part in  getting people (particularly children) motivated and progressing regularly and nicely.biggrin.png

 

I am rather ashamed of myself for rising to the bait  - but I couldn't resist!  hides.gif  


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