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  #41  
Old 08-14-2011, 01:03 PM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

I don't really see the point in any of this thread. Why should this guy or anyone else for that matter play something that doesn't interest them? As far as i'm concerned you should either stop trying to force him to be some all round soul-less virtuoso if that either means swallowing your professional pride and stop trying to teach him stuff he doesn't want or get rid of him off your appointments list. It reminds me of one of my friends at university who is a fantastic engineer and great at building things, but can't stand maths. I personally just think he either needs to embrace maths or if he can't be arsed to do that then just quit the course and stick to what he's good at, which is garden shed engineering. You've tried to make him embrace other aspects of drumming, but at the end of the day if he doesn't want to then he might as well just stick with what he's good at.
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  #42  
Old 08-14-2011, 01:12 PM
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Yes thank you Duncan. I now get where the whole thing is going, especially the music school placement stuff, although I'm still baffled by what is accomplished succeeding in rock school when even you guys concede it's a kind of nebulous credential.
For this reason, I don't require any of my students to be working on grades, but I will take them through them if they decide that's what they'd like to do. I think the primary thing my students who do the grades get is a sense of prestige and achievement. It gives parents a somewhat objective marker to measure their kid's progress and compare with with the neighbour's kid, etc. I think for some parents it actually acts as a measure of the teacher - rightly or wrongly. They figure if you're not taking kids through grades, then perhaps you aren't serious. I've had that attitude a bit, even when I explained my reasons for not having all my students do grades. I also have to admit that directing the study of kids doing grades is much easier than for those not doing them; it's all right there in the book for you. Though I usually find myself supplementing the material in there quite a bit to help with depth and breadth of knowledge. The last thing I want is to turn out drummers who can play Grade Exams, but can't really function musically in a wide variety of contexts.
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  #43  
Old 08-14-2011, 01:33 PM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

As a teacher, student and player of 30 + years - my opinion is to help him in his search as far as you can, expose (do not push) him to other genres and let him decide if he wants to continue with you or search for another teacher.

I'm a firm believer that once good technique, coordination and reading are obtained then it's all up to the individual to seek what will help them find the musical answers that he/she is most interested in. Nowadays there's so many ways to obtain information unlike it was back in the 70's & 80's. The web and so many DVD's make so much more possible.

If this was a beginner student that came to you with these requests - that's one thing. However, this doesn't seem to be the case. If you can't help take this student musically where he wants to go - that's cool - just tell him that and let him decide if he should stay or go. I've done it a million times to students. My musical preference is not theirs.

Personally, I've left teachers myself (within the last 10 years) who were pushing me to do things I could of cared a less to do. I know and understand the value of things they wanted to push on me but as an adult and someone who's been at it for this long - I know where my interest lies and where it doesn't. When I've tapped them to the point of my way or the highway - I've chosen the highway.

When I discuss with parents and adults who are interested in having me give lessons, I let them know up front that I teach how to read, 4 way independence, & technique. I will give slight exposure to swing patterns, rock/funk and latin. I will not and do not deep dive into any of these genres unless the student wants to take it there. I can not play metal so I also let them know that. An honest assessment of what I bring to the table has always worked for me.
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  #44  
Old 08-14-2011, 03:14 PM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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Originally Posted by eddiehimself View Post
I don't really see the point in any of this thread. Why should this guy or anyone else for that matter play something that doesn't interest them? As far as i'm concerned you should either stop trying to force him to be some all round soul-less virtuoso if that either means swallowing your professional pride and stop trying to teach him stuff he doesn't want or get rid of him off your appointments list. It reminds me of one of my friends at university who is a fantastic engineer and great at building things, but can't stand maths. I personally just think he either needs to embrace maths or if he can't be arsed to do that then just quit the course and stick to what he's good at, which is garden shed engineering. You've tried to make him embrace other aspects of drumming, but at the end of the day if he doesn't want to then he might as well just stick with what he's good at.
You're right.

In no way do I try to push them to my tastes - I'm just expressing myself within the forum.

They can learn the back catalogue of Coldplay then leave, having achieved what they set out to do. Everyone's happy.
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  #45  
Old 08-14-2011, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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Originally Posted by DeanOdgers View Post
To the student that is the good stuff, who are you to tell them what music is good or bad, its a completely individual choice.
In situations like this i would teach them the song they want but explain to them that in order to play that they must learn the techniques and skills to play it.
Why teach songs at all? That means that they are dependent upon the teacher. And teaching songs is very time consuming. Why not teach:

1. Reading and writing musical notation - so they can transcribe songs themselves or be able to read transcriptions in books?

2. Technique - so they have the ability to play what is required in the songs?

3. Coordination - so they are able to play what is required in the songs?

4. Musical concepts - Verse/chorus structure, 12 Bar Blues, AABA formm etc... so they can understand the form of the songs they are interested in?


Buddy Rich has been quoted as saying something to the effect of, "Don't tell them what to play. Teach them how to play."

Jeff
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  #46  
Old 08-14-2011, 06:38 PM
N.I.B. N.I.B. is offline
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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Originally Posted by jeffwj View Post
Why teach songs at all? That means that they are dependent upon the teacher. And teaching songs is very time consuming. Why not teach:

1. Reading and writing musical notation - so they can transcribe songs themselves or be able to read transcriptions in books?

2. Technique - so they have the ability to play what is required in the songs?

3. Coordination - so they are able to play what is required in the songs?

4. Musical concepts - Verse/chorus structure, 12 Bar Blues, AABA formm etc... so they can understand the form of the songs they are interested in?


Buddy Rich has been quoted as saying something to the effect of, "Don't tell them what to play. Teach them how to play."

Jeff
Funny that you should say that, Jeff - my teacher uses music a lot with his students, but it's more of a middle-of-the-road approach. The way he teaches songs doesn't really fit your description! He'll introduce me to several songs over the course of a lesson, but he only uses them to test my ability to find a beat in songs that I've never heard. And even then, he'll stop the song only after a minute or so unless he finds that I'm doing something incorrectly. He also has me bring in my own songs (metal / jazz / fusion / just about everything else you can imagine) so I can practice those same things (including writing & transcribing) at home. We don't focus so much on getting the song right note-for-note as we do on playing that particular style accurately (using acceptable dynamics for the song, filling when appropriate, etc.).
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  #47  
Old 08-14-2011, 07:54 PM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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Originally Posted by mattsmith View Post
Yes thank you Duncan. I now get where the whole thing is going, especially the music school placement stuff, although I'm still baffled by what is accomplished succeeding in rock school when even you guys concede it's a kind of nebulous credential. However, I can absolutely appreciate the value of the theory credentials, seeing as how so many non keyboard playing drummers essentially start their American theory training from scratch when they're older...and in an almost crash course kind of way.
We have the same thing in NY. It is a six tiered grade system. I would assume it is modeled after the English system. Then at the end of the school year there is a competition, which finds me scrambling to get kids who never practice through a solo that is too difficult for them. They always do well, which should let you know what those months are like for me. I remember a few years back I had a student who never practiced. He was keen on doing a grade five because of course the year before we had done a grade four. Two weeks before the contest he informs me he is going to the Caribbean for ten days. "You gonna bring your pad, dude?" There is only so much I can do. You can see what it can be like.

I use it as a good measuring rod for students progress and I have integrated it into my own curriculum. It gives a detailed system of the presentation of rudiments, rhythmic phrasing and sight reading for informed progress. But once I give the student the Vic Firth poster with all the rudiments on it, they want to learn them all yesterday, which is fine by me. There is also a drum set grading system, which is fairly new, and those solos are not easy. Once you tell the kid he has to bring his own set, he steers clear of that. Should have taken the harmonica.
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  #48  
Old 08-14-2011, 08:15 PM
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For this reason, I don't require any of my students to be working on grades, but I will take them through them if they decide that's what they'd like to do. I think the primary thing my students who do the grades get is a sense of prestige and achievement. It gives parents a somewhat objective marker to measure their kid's progress and compare with with the neighbour's kid, etc. I think for some parents it actually acts as a measure of the teacher - rightly or wrongly. They figure if you're not taking kids through grades, then perhaps you aren't serious. I've had that attitude a bit, even when I explained my reasons for not having all my students do grades. I also have to admit that directing the study of kids doing grades is much easier than for those not doing them; it's all right there in the book for you. Though I usually find myself supplementing the material in there quite a bit to help with depth and breadth of knowledge. The last thing I want is to turn out drummers who can play Grade Exams, but can't really function musically in a wide variety of contexts.
The last part is the issue I have with ABRSM gradings. I grant you things are different in the Classical World (there is somewhat less room for musical interpretation; unless you're a conductor or a good soloist) but I've met a fair few people in my time that can play exams but cannot extend beyond their comfort zone or improvise at all. I have to say the best of those that I've known and worked with have the technical grounding from their gradings but also have a real sense of how pieces work musically rather than just theoretically.

If you're not doing gradings as a Classical teacher - then people just don't think you're a teacher. It's as simple as that. There is certainly a more institutional system there than we have and it's a lot less inflexible. The standard repertoire really is standard but I think there's actually also far less of it generally. We forget just how much music has been produced in the last fifty years compared to the five hundred before it.
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  #49  
Old 08-14-2011, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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Originally Posted by N.I.B. View Post
Funny that you should say that, Jeff - my teacher uses music a lot with his students, but it's more of a middle-of-the-road approach. The way he teaches songs doesn't really fit your description! He'll introduce me to several songs over the course of a lesson, but he only uses them to test my ability to find a beat in songs that I've never heard. And even then, he'll stop the song only after a minute or so unless he finds that I'm doing something incorrectly. He also has me bring in my own songs (metal / jazz / fusion / just about everything else you can imagine) so I can practice those same things (including writing & transcribing) at home. We don't focus so much on getting the song right note-for-note as we do on playing that particular style accurately (using acceptable dynamics for the song, filling when appropriate, etc.).
I do sort of the same thing. While I won't go over all of Chameleon, I will introduce that as a funk beat. I will have them play along in the lesson and suggest that they purchase the mp3 or CD. That will take part of a lesson. If we learned every measure, it would take weeks.

Jeff
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  #50  
Old 08-15-2011, 01:06 AM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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Originally Posted by Deltadrummer View Post
We have the same thing in NY. It is a six tiered grade system. I would assume it is modeled after the English system. Then at the end of the school year there is a competition, which finds me scrambling to get kids who never practice through a solo that is too difficult for them. They always do well, which should let you know what those months are like for me. I remember a few years back I had a student who never practiced. He was keen on doing a grade five because of course the year before we had done a grade four. Two weeks before the contest he informs me he is going to the Caribbean for ten days. "You gonna bring your pad, dude?" There is only so much I can do. You can see what it can be like.

I use it as a good measuring rod for students progress and I have integrated it into my own curriculum. It gives a detailed system of the presentation of rudiments, rhythmic phrasing and sight reading for informed progress. But once I give the student the Vic Firth poster with all the rudiments on it, they want to learn them all yesterday, which is fine by me. There is also a drum set grading system, which is fairly new, and those solos are not easy. Once you tell the kid he has to bring his own set, he steers clear of that. Should have taken the harmonica.

The NYSSMA system is terrible. The pieces on the list are not evenly distributed throughout the levels. For example, Level 6 snare can be Heating the Rudiments by Wilcoxin to Etudes 1-6 in Delecluse Douze Etudes book. The drum set audition has been around since the 80's and probably before it's not that new. Many professionals have issues with the system but it's all we have.
I have a problem with my school system having students practicing their solos for months upon end. If the student can't prepare a solo piece in 2 to 3 weeks the piece is way to hard for the student.
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  #51  
Old 08-15-2011, 01:48 AM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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The NYSSMA system is terrible. The pieces on the list are not evenly distributed throughout the levels. For example, Level 6 snare can be Heating the Rudiments by Wilcoxin to Etudes 1-6 in Delecluse Douze Etudes book. The drum set audition has been around since the 80's and probably before it's not that new. Many professionals have issues with the system but it's all we have.
I have a problem with my school system having students practicing their solos for months upon end. If the student can't prepare a solo piece in 2 to 3 weeks the piece is way to hard for the student.
there is nothing worse than sitting around with a bunch of music teachers around NYSSMA time.

I know what you mean. I've wondered why that is the case. Is it just so the student can jump a grade, or is it that there are more difficult solos in the same grade so the kid can do various levels of a level 6? There is a larger issue with the lower grades where level two solos are more difficult than level three, which is a jump level, or solos introduce rudiments that the student is not responsible for at that level. It seems a bit arbitrary.

The biggest issue I have is that it puts me in the same position that every other teacher is in, and that is that at the end of the year, my students has to show progress, often with a piece that I didn't pick, and often at a level that is inappropriate. It is a big push so rather than performing a level four where the student is more comfortable, and can show their level of musicality, the student is doing a level five so the teacher can say, look my kids are doing level fives. Of course, as you say, it often is a meaningless grade. Being able to execute the solo, or being confident with it and playing it musically are totally different things. It seems that focus is on the former.

What I try to do is have the kids prepare three or four pieces during the year, and then pick one for NYSSMA, brush up on it a month before the festival and it's a done deal. It's not always easy though with everything the kid has going on. It doesn't matter because no matter how much time you give it, and sometimes the piece is picked five months before, it will be the last week when the kid puts the nose to the grindstone. But my students tend to do quite well at NYSSMA. So I am happy about that. For me, it is less about music, and more about taking on a challenge and being successful at it.
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Last edited by Deltadrummer; 08-15-2011 at 02:21 AM.
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  #52  
Old 08-15-2011, 12:47 PM
dmacc dmacc is offline
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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Why teach songs at all?
Agreed - I do not and have not ever taught songs. Not my bag and many students have walked away as a result.

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  #53  
Old 08-15-2011, 02:12 PM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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there is nothing worse than sitting around with a bunch of music teachers around NYSSMA time.

I know what you mean. I've wondered why that is the case. Is it just so the student can jump a grade, or is it that there are more difficult solos in the same grade so the kid can do various levels of a level 6? There is a larger issue with the lower grades where level two solos are more difficult than level three, which is a jump level, or solos introduce rudiments that the student is not responsible for at that level. It seems a bit arbitrary.

The biggest issue I have is that it puts me in the same position that every other teacher is in, and that is that at the end of the year, my students has to show progress, often with a piece that I didn't pick, and often at a level that is inappropriate. It is a big push so rather than performing a level four where the student is more comfortable, and can show their level of musicality, the student is doing a level five so the teacher can say, look my kids are doing level fives. Of course, as you say, it often is a meaningless grade. Being able to execute the solo, or being confident with it and playing it musically are totally different things. It seems that focus is on the former.

What I try to do is have the kids prepare three or four pieces during the year, and then pick one for NYSSMA, brush up on it a month before the festival and it's a done deal. It's not always easy though with everything the kid has going on. It doesn't matter because no matter how much time you give it, and sometimes the piece is picked five months before, it will be the last week when the kid puts the nose to the grindstone. But my students tend to do quite well at NYSSMA. So I am happy about that. For me, it is less about music, and more about taking on a challenge and being successful at it.
The band directors like push the level so the kids can get into the area all state groups. You submit your scores to be selected. The percussion list is over saturated with pieces written by NY educators Murray Houllif and Tom Brown. I'm sorry but there are too many selections by these two and many great solo pieces are not on the list. The level 6 timpani list is a nightmare it's small and the selections simply suck. The level six mallet list is okay but has some very simple selections to very difficult. As I said the systems not perfect but it's all we have.
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  #54  
Old 08-15-2011, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: When a student gets too good too quickly

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A quick amendment: In the UK there are a few 'Grading' systems that a student can go through, usually Grades 1 - 8 which give them a fairly solid range of skills to build on. The two main ones are Rockschool and Trinity Guildhall (TG). TG is definitely the harder and more comprehensive, but most students go for the more populist and easier Rockschool.

This student has gone for the Rockschool grades. The problem arises from the fact that a student has to choose three performance pieces in various styles, but more often than not they go for the pieces that they find the least challenging. This is what he has done - he's chosen rock/metal/punk etc. and avoided all Jazz, Latin etc. He's now nearly at G8 but, in my view entirely un-equipped as a player...
It annoys me that Rockschool is so rediculously easy compared to the TG. I'm a fair player, not fantastic, but pretty damn good for three years of about six hours a week practice average. The thing that bugs me and it's going to sound odd that it annoys me is that I could go for the RS G8 and pass. Which sounds good in theory, but I wouldn't go for the exam because having the certificate doesn't make me a G8 player.

I'm not good enough to be a true G8 player but if I learnt the two or three songs and the sticking technique I could be called one. And to be honest, that slightly insults me.

What do you think?
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  #55  
Old 08-15-2011, 07:28 PM
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It annoys me that Rockschool is so rediculously easy compared to the TG. I'm a fair player, not fantastic, but pretty damn good for three years of about six hours a week practice average. The thing that bugs me and it's going to sound odd that it annoys me is that I could go for the RS G8 and pass. Which sounds good in theory, but I wouldn't go for the exam because having the certificate doesn't make me a G8 player.

I'm not good enough to be a true G8 player but if I learnt the two or three songs and the sticking technique I could be called one. And to be honest, that slightly insults me.

What do you think?
I agree with you. Totally.

A true reflection of your standard should be based on going into the exam room and playing the pieces from cold. I think it's ridiculous that you can spend as long as you like 'perfecting' a couple of pieces and then be graded as a result.

It's great to sight read, great to be able to play all the rudiments etc. But, most people will never use these skills - sorry, I've said it. Most want play like Tre Cool or Hawkins. They're never going to use a ratamcue in 3/4. Ever. And neither will they ever get a sight reading gig unless they're invited to help out at the local am dram. I'm not saying that it's a good thing, but it's what I've seen with my own eyes.
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