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Lesson frequency?

Discussion in 'Pianists' started by hasekamp, May 29, 2013.

  1. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    This must be a stupid question to all those very exprienced pianists here. Nevertheless I ask it.

    My musical background is such, that I started to play piano and take lessons again six years ago, after not having played for many years.
    I was already a pensioner then. I have always been content with my lessons, at a local music school, where lessons always last 30 minutes.

    A few moths ago, my teacher became a "partial pensioner", and was allowed to give less lessons.
    I have a new (very young) teacher therefore now. This new teacher seems to inspires me - contrary to my expectation - much more than my former teacher, with whom I was content.

    My level is such that I play at the moment Haydn sonatas, the "not very difficult" Chopin pieces (if such a thing exists at all), the Inventions and Sinfonias by Bach and, at my own request, Scott Joplin, whom my new teacher also takes quite seriously. So I consider myself to be an intermediate / slightly advanced player. I study piano one hour per day.

    Now, here is my question at last:

    I have to enroll for the new season of lessons at the music shool within the next two weeks, and of course I will continue my lessons.
    BUT would it be useful (improve my playing) if I took lessons every week instead of ever two weeks?
    There are so many experienced players (and maybe also teachers) here, that I hope to get some practical advice about this. Of course I will also consult my teacher before I decide!

    Is there anybody here who is an intermediate / slightly advanced pianist who has experience with the most effective frequency of lessons?

    Thanks for reading this.
     
  2. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's not a stupid question at all! :)

    When I was taking lessons a few years back, I had a one-hour lesson every week. And that still didn't seem like enough time to cover everything. Is it possible for you to have a longer lesson time? I don't think a half-hour lesson is enough time with your level of playing.
     
  3. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    These music school lessons are probably kept so short because they are mostly aimed at children, whose ability to concentrate for longer than that is limited.

    I agree with Monica that, for the more mature individual, longer lessons would be a good idea. If you're thinking about doubling the same total amount of lesson time per season, I think it would be better to double their duration than their frequency, i.e. to go for a whole-hour lesson every two weeks instead of a half-hour lesson every week.

    At your level you should be working more independently and on several things concurrently, so that over a two-week period you should have plenty of things stored up to ask your teacher about.
     
  4. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hi hasecamp, (This question was from 2008, but I address it anyway.)

    This is an interesting question and I surmise that you'll get several opinions. For beginners, probably a half hour lesson per week works best in the earlier years. And for the intermediate student with more abilities, probably an hour lesson weekly will work quite well. At these levels of training, the emphasis is on fundamentals, piano theory, touch and tone, ear training, building technique, musicality, etc.

    Once a pianist moves into the lower-advanced repertoire, the game changes in my opinion. Here the emphasis is more on interpretation and the finer points of artistic piano playing. I believe there is a correlation between the quality of practicing (preparing) and the quality of performing. Some of it is a function of time invested in practicing, achieving deep concentration, and keenly listening to every note. Learning how to be your own critic is key. I believe there is also a correlation between successful practicing and the time interval needed for the next lesson. This interval varies a lot among advanced pianists. When I was studying with a master-teacher for several years, I would mark my scores with his comments and suggestions. I devoted my practicing to accomplishing those valuable pointers in my playing. Then I would go to the next lesson. In my case I found that if I went every three weeks for one hour, that's all I needed to expand repertoire and to noticeably improve artistry of performance. But again, that's variable, as everyone is different. Plus their goals are different. Some pianists might feel the need to meet every week, while others might feel that once a month works best. If you can assimilate your teacher's guidance into your playing and demonstrate it well at the next lesson, intuitively it will become clear what the interval between meetings should be, and what the duration of the lesson should be. There is no "standard" that I know of. It's an individual thing.

    I hope this helps.

    David
     
  5. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    Thanks for all these wise words!

    Sadly 60 minutes is no option for this music school.
    And I want to stay there, because I want to stay with this new teacher. He inspires me very much. Since he teaches me I study more than before! And it looks as if he likes my motivation too.
    I will now discuss the matter with him. In a few weeks I expect to be able to post a follow-up.
     
  6. rainer

    rainer New Member

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    In that case, book 30 minutes, and then another 30 minutes immediately thereafter. 8)
     
  7. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Half an hour seems peanuts, perhaps perfect for kids who can't concentrate much longer but to an adult I would recommend lessons of at least one hour. But that may well necessitate a private teacher. We I took lessons again a couple of years ago, after a long stretch of non-tuition (not unlike yourself) I ended up taking a 2-hour lesson each month or so. Most of that was then devoted to finer points of interpretation, as David already mentioned.
    But perhaps you'd feel more comfortable with more frequent shorter lessons, and maybe it's better like that to start with. Whatever works for you !
     
  8. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    I teach 30 minutes per week for beginners through Suzuki book 3 (book 3 = Clementi sonatinas and such), 1 hour per week for Suzuki book 4 through advanced. 1 1/2 hour per week is for advanced students who aspire to play professionally or at least major in music (it's what I had in high school) -- I haven't had any students at that level yet but then I've only been teaching 5 years.

    By mid-book 3 it's apparent to all that 30 minutes is insufficient. The pieces are getting longer and I can barely cover scales, Czerny and a working piece in a half hour, let alone multiple working pieces or anything else. I think you will find you really do need 1 hour/week at your level.

    I recently began taking lessons again (best decision I made in 2012) and I have an hour lesson once a week. I wish I had 1 1/2 hour a week but my teacher doesn't work that way. There is never enough time. When I was a high schooler taking 1 1/2 hour lessons every week, we still only had time for maybe 2 out of 4 working pieces plus exercises and occasional other tasks.
     
  9. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    Thanks again for all your remarks. I (too) would prefer 60 minutes per lesson, but with my current teacher (who is bound to the music school) that is not possible. And he really is very inspiring. More than any of my former teachers.
    Given all this, 30 minutes per week is the most I can make of it now, and that is what it will be during the next season. My teacher also spports the idea that more lessons are better for me, and he also would prefer 60 minute, but here it is.
    Hopefully I can convince him to combine two lessons sometimes. I think nevertheless that 30 minutes per week can be filled effectively.

    At the end of the season (June or July 2014) I will evaluate the situation again.

    "To be continued" :D .
     
  10. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    If you are only working one one piece per lesson, or perhaps several really small pieces, maybe it is.
     
  11. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    Yes, that was the idea when I discussed things with my teacher.
    One piece per lesson, or maybe two if they are almost "ready" (if any piece ever is "ready" at all).
    Thanks for mentioning this. I had forgotten it.
     
  12. hreichgott

    hreichgott New Member

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    I wonder what sort of music school limits lessons to 30 minutes!
     
  13. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    I hope it's not the " Learn to play the piano in 30 minutes" school :mrgreen:
     
  14. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    It is a general music school that aims at giving some music education to anybody who wants to. Anybody can enter without any test. You find many different pupils there, from small children who start with music up to pensioners who want to deepen their acquired musical education. There is no obligation to do any tests or level exams.

    It is not a school that educates talented musicians to concert musicians. Those schools have access restrictions and only accept pupils who pass a test. And those schools have regular tests and end with an exam.

    Hope I am clear. There are two quite different types of music schools here.
    And of course you can take lrssons from a "free-lance" teacher.
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Hey, you two are from the same country! Do you know each other? :p
     
  16. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    Yes I see now that Chris is from the Netherlands too!

    But I do not know Chris. Sorry.
     
  17. techneut

    techneut Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Of course. We Dutch ALL know each other. It's such a small country :p
     
  18. hasekamp

    hasekamp New Member

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    There has been an interesting development for this topic:
    The new teacher I am so enthousiastoic about was not allowed to return on the music school for the current season, because there were differences of opinion about his manner of teaching. (I wonder what they did not like!).

    Although this was no good news for him at first, he wrote to his former students if they would like to have private lessons from him, which most of them wanted.

    So, now I have lessons of 45 minutes per week from the teacher of my choice. After the first lesson I think 45 minutes per week is good for me.
     
  19. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    That's nice! Things often have a way of working out for the best.... :)
     

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