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Which teaching style is best?

  • Strict, expects the earth & sets scales, makes rules

    Votes: 7 17.5%
  • Has plan but allows student to modify it after discussion

    Votes: 12 30.0%
  • Leads from the front - plays & inspires & digs up new repertoire

    Votes: 7 17.5%
  • Uses textbook - Suzuiki or other scheme - & works through it

    Votes: 2 5.0%
  • Lets student make free decisions about repertoire & practice

    Votes: 5 12.5%
  • Uses mp3s & concerts to motivate students

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Works by challenging student with difficult or unusual assignments

    Votes: 3 7.5%
  • Other - give details

    Votes: 4 10.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Teaching styles in music vary greatly and in recent years have even become polarised. Some teachers like theory, scales, rules & set practice; others prefer a freer method. Which teaching style do you think is most effective in learning a stringed instrument?

Having been brought up 'in the old school', I prefer the hierarchical approach; yet I have benefited from a teacher who is very free and experimental and also inspirational. I have made huge advances in the last two years & have worked very hard. However, because of my age, I need more detailed instruction - things no longer 'come naturally' to me. So I decided to take exams, and I have now taken on another additional teacher to teach me methodically.

Apart from having to pay two weekly fees, this is an ideal solution for me. My exam teacher of necessity has a narrow focus, but that's okay, as I get to play all sorts of adventurous repertoire with the other. The Inspired One does not make me do exercises, or tell me about keys and scales and arpeggios - but the exam tutor does, and that means when I am playing for my freer teacher, I can control the sound I am making much better than before. And this has given me confidence.

I am making it a poll just to stimulate discussion & am really interested in your replies - if you have any! Also any experiences you can share that would help me to learn how people learn in music.

Thanks in advance for any replies.
 

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It's an interesting problem. Suzuki to some extent goes beyond the dots and looks at playing by ear in groups to develop musicality. Yet the books include intonation exercises to develop technique.

There's a whole range of skills that you need in playing music - reading music, sense of tempo, sense of pitch, sense of tonality, musical theory as well as all the practical techniques of bowing and fingering.

The old fashioned scales, arpeggios and studies approach covered everything although it could be somewhat dry. A freer approach - playing by ear and so forth - doesn't develop the theory or the reading or the sense of tempo but it can cover much of the other work if the tunes selected can be used as studies.

I grew up, as a pianist, in the old school and much prefer it.
 

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As the OP says, quite correctly, concern with "which method" and polarization about which method has skyrocketed within the last few decades.

It is only within the last decade or so that when people learned I taught piano, I was immediately next asked "Which method do you use?" (Previously, I can not recall ever being asked that question, even from fellow musicians.)

My answer -- which I still believe most valid -- is, "The old-fashioned classical method. That is where you get everything, technique, repertoire, theory, in some thought-about order of pedagogy / presentation, with time taken more or less on what needs more or less work at any given moment." (This is, of course, repeating what worked for me and so many others. Lessons may have used collections of pieces, I did work initially from Bartok's Microkosmos, for example, but after that, I never had a 'graded teaching / repertoire book,' ever. This did not seem to hinder me in any way from gaining admission in middle school to a high-standard music camp, ditto later a music prep school, or subsequently, conservatory.)

Any method is a near certain fail if the teacher has not / can not assess both the student's psychology (individuated learning) and their potential abilities. Any method, methodically applied to teaching how to play an instrument, misses a lot, and I tend to think of it as treating individuals like objects on a belt in a production factory.

Too, in lessons where "method" is used by a good teacher, those lessons will have many supplemental bits of assignments and outright 'detours from the method,' probably in amount as much of that supplemental attention as material 'from the book.'

Methodical, in application, is good: rigorous discipline is good.

Method in teaching -- without any extra-the-method supplements -- especially in one-on-one contexts, just sucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
:tiphat: This is a fabulous post, PetrB - maybe that's because you say everything that I believe too. :)

I think teaching the methods - the scales & techniques in music, the grammar and figures of speech in language - is so helpful, because as well as not missing things out, the student is given a logical way of perceiving the subject which s/he can slot into her brain. But as you say, it would be dead and off-putting if a method is drily applied, without any assessment of the student's needs and without any room for creativity. That is an ideal, but we all have experience of gifted teachers who could achieve this balance.

I suppose I posted this thread as a bit of a protest - because I have seen the baby thrown out with the bathwater - young teachers averse to teaching methodically, believing that their students have to learn or want to do everything on their own, the teacher being a 'learning facilitator'. A really good teacher could be fairly free while keeping tabs on what the student is learning and making sure they don't miss anything. That also is possible, but it is much harder to achieve, and it is much easier for the teacher to slide into being a popular 'personality' who is really not a teacher but either a performer, or a 'best friend' to his or her pupils.

However, it would be interesting to see someone else's 'take' on teaching methods.
 

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Following the student's whim is fashionable: it is also, unbeknown to those who believe in it, a dreadfully laid-back if not downright lazy approach: it also denies the role of teacher / student and the relationship they have as the student develops.

You cannot be personally free, or personally expressive, without more than a basic technique and knowledge base of how music works, and how to work the instrument, since all freedom and expressivity is bound up with the knowledge and technique... I know that is a classic dichotomy, but there 'tis. To give the student much else but very limited choices is to abandon proper pedagogy, ergo that is no longer efficient teaching.

The irony in the more 'let the pupil do what they want' approaches is the pupil progresses less rapidly than under tutelage where the teacher is more entirely in command.

P.s. The phenomenon of parents wanting concrete and tangible results, often motivated by boasting rights so they can say, "My child has reached level "X" exams... with the unstated, "your child is only at," has become a market force to which the teaching profession has capitulated. I think that capitulation is near wholly responsible for the creation of so many methods (and grade level exams) -- to impress and convince the client with a false glamor (a pallid one at that) of guaranteed 'efficiency' -- where the time the student spends and the money the parents spend is all as accountable and reliable as a warranty on the working of a purchased product.
 

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If you want to have a fun afternoon playing string quartets with friends you have to learn to read music at sight. So no playing by ear on its own. No one wants to play with someone who has to have 3 months notice of what you might be playing so that they can learn their part by ear. As scales and arpeggios played by reading the music are an important part of learning what music in certain keys looks like and as fast recognition of musical patterns are part of being a good sight reader only doing "fun" things limits the amount of fun you can have later.
 

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I think that it needs to be a well balanced mixture. In the beginning I was taught with scales, more stricter and straightforward criteria and more common music. When I moved up to a higher level I was taught using many different compositions and sight reading to figure out intonation and such. I'd play Shepard's Hey, Klaxon, and top it off with Variations on a Korean Folk Song to get the point of intonation and shifting across. There needs to be a blend and a give and take so that a student isn't frightened off but is challenged enough and free enough to explore all the different directions music can take.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have just passed my first music exam, Violin ABRSM Grade 3, with distinction. It is a lowly grade, but I am 'over the moon'. Thinking about it, I have an ideal set-up. My exam teacher is wonderfully thorough & kind, and my 'repertoire' teacher is imaginative, inspiring, challenging. I am blessed.
 

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I have just passed my first music exam, Violin ABRSM Grade 3, with distinction. It is a lowly grade, but I am 'over the moon'. Thinking about it, I have an ideal set-up. My exam teacher is wonderfully thorough & kind, and my 'repertoire' teacher is imaginative, inspiring, challenging. I am blessed.
Many congratulations !!!
 

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I have just passed my first music exam, Violin ABRSM Grade 3, with distinction. It is a lowly grade, but I am 'over the moon'. Thinking about it, I have an ideal set-up. My exam teacher is wonderfully thorough & kind, and my 'repertoire' teacher is imaginative, inspiring, challenging. I am blessed.
Seconding Moody's "Many Congratulations !!!"
 

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Seconding Moody's "Many Congratulations !!!"
Thirding (if such a word is possible) the above two!

My piano teacher was fairly strict and old fashioned in his ways, thus there were always scales, and a study every week as well as whatever pieces you were working on, and it worked, BUT, he never put me through exams. He did say at one point, "if you really want to do them, then you can, but I'd rather not." His feeling was that he didn't want to be constrained by whatever was on the Associated Board syllabus for that year. He also used to say, "I feel that too many teachers only put their pupils into exams for their own greater glory, so that they can say 'well I've had seven grade 5's with distinction' etc. and that has nothing to do with music." He did encourage me to play all sorts of pieces outside what he taught me. My dad was a very good pianist in the lighter style, his favourite music for piano being that of Billy Mayerl, and he could also do a good imitation of Fats Waller, well, my teacher asked me one day if I played anything else, and I played "The Doll Dance" by Nacio Herb Brown, it wasn't really my teacher's type of music, but he complimented me on it and felt it was good to be playing in other styles. He himself had no qualifications in music, he was an elderly gentleman who live two streets down from us, but he was inspirational and had studied with a concert pianist by the name of Leonard Rayner in the 30s. I visited him regularly for years after I'd finished lessons and sadly due to Parkinsons disease he could no longer play, but to talk music with him was an absolute joy, and I miss him still.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
I think you're right about exams. With my exam teacher, I have been playing the three prepared pieces & only them for months. On the other hand, he has taught me about timing, dynamics, and different types of bowing and taken me through the aural tests in a structured way. I'm beginning to see how it all hangs together. So it's not about the piece of paper for me, it's about the ladder of learning.

With my other teacher, talented though he is, we have raced through pieces without settling on any structured technique & without any notes taken or reference to earlier progress. On the other hand, my musical experience & my fluency at bowing have gone through the roof with him. And he is such fun - it's the most exciting time of my life since my teens and twenties, and how can a simple pensioner resist? :)

Your teacher sounds absolutely ideal - disciplined, but enthusiastic & ready to try different repertoire.
 

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I think you're right about exams. With my exam teacher, I have been playing the three prepared pieces & only them for months. On the other hand, he has taught me about timing, dynamics, and different types of bowing and taken me through the aural tests in a structured way. I'm beginning to see how it all hangs together. So it's not about the piece of paper for me, it's about the ladder of learning.

With my other teacher, talented though he is, we have raced through pieces without settling on any structured technique & without any notes taken or reference to earlier progress. On the other hand, my musical experience & my fluency at bowing have gone through the roof with him. And he is such fun - it's the most exciting time of my life since my teens and twenties, and how can a simple pensioner resist? :)

Your teacher sounds absolutely ideal - disciplined, but enthusiastic & ready to try different repertoire.
I am afraid I am going to be "a voice of doom" or something. I basically think that grade exams are totally unsuitable for adults. They were designed to be taken by children to show parents that the child has been learning their lessons. They don't give any idea of standard because they are only standards in relation to each other as in grade 3 is better than grade 2 but not as good as grade 4. Teachers of adults in my opinion should never ever suggest that these tests should be taken by adults and it is completely possible to teach pieces with all the things that you mention, like bowing and aural and all the other things without ever using music from an exam syllabus. My usual advice to adult starters is to not take exams and to not go to teachers who think that it is alright to patronise adults by helping them to take these exams.

It is really important to get grade exams into perspective in the world of adult music making. Many adults do not realise that grade 8 is an elementary exam compared to what it is possible to play on any instrument. From the perspective of a professional player grade 8 is an exam that beginners take. In the world of adult education grade 8 is like an exam that you would take at the end of high school at age 18. So when you mention to another adult that you have taken grade 8 you are effectively saying that you have graduated high school or in the UK that you have passed an A level. Most adults would think that you were a bit odd if you went round telling people that you had graduated high school or that you had passed an A level as most people can do this. This is the same for grade 8. Most people who study any instrument can pass grade 8 so having done this does not make you into a special musician, just an adult beginner who is showing everyone that they don't know anything about standards in music. In my case I won't play with adults who have done grades because I know that in most cases they have had teachers who can only teach using the grade syllabus which is very limited, and have missed out so much really exiting music.

Grade 3 is roughly the same standard as a spelling test that an 8 year old might do at school. To tell other adults that you have passed grade 3 you are roughly saying that you have passed a test suitable for the average 8 or 9 year old in school. It is quite acceptable for an 8 or 9 year old to say this because that is the level that they are at in their education but it is not acceptable in adult education. What this means is that if a teacher has not explained this to their adult pupil, they are in effect patronising them because they are treating them as if they were an 8 or 9 year old by the use of their educational resources, like the pieces on a grade syllabus, many of which are easy arrangements. There is no need to do this. I usually suggest that adults who have teachers who teach grades change to teachers to someone who can truly teach adults without using resources designed for children.

Taking grades wastes time, money and effort that could be well used in other much more constructive ways. In terms of an orchestral instrument, playing in a group gives a much better use of time and a much faster progression than taking exams.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
You are not the voice of doom; you are simply presenting a very cynical & partial view of exams - in my opinion, missing the bigger picture.

If you have read this thread carefully, you will see that it is about people's opinions on teaching styles, and exams are a part of this. I was asking if newer styles of teaching are omitting basic drills and skills that used, perhaps, to be too rigorously enforced.

I do see your point of view, teaching(?) adults who are younger than me and hope to get somewhere - like joining an orchestra. But for me, returning to the violin is a new-found hobby - no, make that passionate pursuit - in retirement. I wouldn't want to join an orchestra; I would like to play folk in sessions, but that, of course, I practise separately from my exam studies or baroque repertoire.

Don't worry, I am not going round telling people I got a distinction on grade 3 with any idea of vaunting my prowess. I posted it on here simply because I'd mentioned my nervousness at the prospect of my first music exam, and some of my TalkClassical friends were asking how I got on. It seemed more low-key to post here than on a more widely-read thread. And if you look at my post, I point out myself that grade 3 is a 'lowly' exam & talk about the way my two teachers, with their different styles, complement each other.

You don't need to tell me about exams and standards - I have just retired from a career in education, teaching at every stage from seven year olds to first year undergraduates.

As I said in my post to Shropshire Moose, I agree that exams can have a narrow focus, and to start off with I wanted to take them only as a way of motivating myself to practise. Then I discovered my fabulous fiddle guru, a performer in baroque music & a folk fiddler. He doesn't do exams, so I happily forgot all about them. But after eighteen months, during which I improved tremendously, I became uneasy about not getting systematic instruction. My generation was reared on systematic instruction and it suits my personal learning abilities best.

No way did I want to leave my wonderful fiddle teacher, so I decided to do exams as a way of getting experience of another teaching style. This way, I could go in addition to a respected local teacher who teaches to exams. I am delighted with him. Now that I have finished my exam, he has got me on a repertoire book practising new bowing skills before we go on to the next grade. It is really gruelling, but I am learning a lot.

I do think your views on exams are too negative. True, we don't go round boasting about them much in adult life, but A-level standard (grade 8) is worth something. It's university entrance level, not just graduating from high school. At my age, I should be so lucky if I ever get to grade 8, alas.
Plus, as someone who regularly administered advanced spelling tests to nine-year-olds, I know that your comparison of such tests with grade 3 is simply wrong! Grade 5 is 0-level, and grades 3 & 4 are therefore more like working up to that in secondary school. Perhaps such a comparison suited your purpose, however.

In my own case, I have the problem of shyness and lack of confidence when playing in front of others. I think the exam experience - not the bit of paper, which has never interested me - will help me to face up to this and to conquer my nerves. Because I am on the exam circuit, I will be forced to learn vibrato, too, which has twice defeated me in the past. It's all good!

Maybe your adults only want exam certificates to prove something to their friends; but for my husband and me, and many others I'm sure, taking exams is just a very good way to keep one's nose to the grindstone - or rather, fingers on the keyboard and bow on the strings! :)
 

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You are not the voice of doom; you are simply presenting a very cynical & partial view of exams - in my opinion, missing the bigger picture.

If you have read this thread carefully, you will see that it is about people's opinions on teaching styles, and exams are a part of this. I was asking if newer styles of teaching are omitting basic drills and skills that used, perhaps, to be too rigorously enforced.

I do see your point of view, teaching(?) adults who are younger than me and hope to get somewhere - like joining an orchestra. But for me, returning to the violin is a new-found hobby - no, make that passionate pursuit - in retirement. I wouldn't want to join an orchestra; I would like to play folk in sessions, but that, of course, I practise separately from my exam studies or baroque repertoire.

Don't worry, I am not going round telling people I got a distinction on grade 3 with any idea of vaunting my prowess. I posted it on here simply because I'd mentioned my nervousness at the prospect of my first music exam, and some of my TalkClassical friends were asking how I got on. It seemed more low-key to post here than on a more widely-read thread. And if you look at my post, I point out myself that grade 3 is a 'lowly' exam & talk about the way my two teachers, with their different styles, complement each other.

You don't need to tell me about exams and standards - I have just retired from a career in education, teaching at every stage from seven year olds to first year undergraduates.

As I said in my post to Shropshire Moose, I agree that exams can have a narrow focus, and to start off with I wanted to take them only as a way of motivating myself to practise. Then I discovered my fabulous fiddle guru, a performer in baroque music & a folk fiddler. He doesn't do exams, so I happily forgot all about them. But after eighteen months, during which I improved tremendously, I became uneasy about not getting systematic instruction. My generation was reared on systematic instruction and it suits my personal learning abilities best.

No way did I want to leave my wonderful fiddle teacher, so I decided to do exams as a way of getting experience of another teaching style. This way, I could go in addition to a respected local teacher who teaches to exams. I am delighted with him. Now that I have finished my exam, he has got me on a repertoire book practising new bowing skills before we go on to the next grade. It is really gruelling, but I am learning a lot.

I do think your views on exams are too negative. True, we don't go round boasting about them much in adult life, but A-level standard (grade 8) is worth something. It's university entrance level, not just graduating from high school. At my age, I should be so lucky if I ever get to grade 8, alas.
Plus, as someone who regularly administered advanced spelling tests to nine-year-olds, I know that your comparison of such tests with grade 3 is simply wrong! Grade 5 is 0-level, and grades 3 & 4 are therefore more like working up to that in secondary school. Perhaps such a comparison suited your purpose, however.

In my own case, I have the problem of shyness and lack of confidence when playing in front of others. I think the exam experience - not the bit of paper, which has never interested me - will help me to face up to this and to conquer my nerves. Because I am on the exam circuit, I will be forced to learn vibrato, too, which has twice defeated me in the past. It's all good!

Maybe your adults only want exam certificates to prove something to their friends; but for my husband and me, and many others I'm sure, taking exams is just a very good way to keep one's nose to the grindstone - or rather, fingers on the keyboard and bow on the strings! :)
What I would like to suggest is that you ask your exam violin teacher to explain to you where in the standards possible to achieve on a musical instrument grade 8 comes. I find adults have a very difficult time understanding that grade 8 is not quite like A level. After A level you can go onto university to study based on your A level results. Grade 8 isn't like this. For university courses where there is a performance aspect of the course entry is by audition for playing standard in addition to the correct A level grades. If you haven't passed grade 8 but you pass the audition you can still get a place. If you haven't passed the relevant A levels you can't. For conservatoire entrance you need to have passed grade 8 by the time you are 14 or to have been learning for a short time, for example you passed grade 8 two years or less from when you started playing.

What you may not know is that not all the grade exams are the same level of playing standard on each instrument. It is much easier to pass grade 8 on the flute than it is on the horn for example. For the horn you need to know a lot more than you do for the flute, so it is quite common for people to pass grade 8 on the flute when they have only been learning for two years. If you do this on the horn it is quite unusual. The grades are not calibrated to each other. More children pass grade 8 on the violin at primary school than pass grade 8 on the trombone. This is because there are fractional violins but all children learn on adult size trombones. It is now not unusual for children to pass grade 8 on the violin while they are at primary school. Can you now see why grade 8 isn't like an A level? How many primary school age children do you know who have passed an A level. It is also quite common for young people to take DipABRSM while still at school, and these aren't the people who are going to study music at conservatoire as conservatoire entrance audition standards are much higher than this.

For young people hoping to study medicine having passed grade 8 with distinction on a musical instrument is no longer a way of getting a university to offer a place. The universities prefer students who play in a large variety of music groups in their spare time rather than grade exams, because grade exams are too easy now.

Over the years technology has made the violin much easier to play. Carbon fiber bows make good bows available at a much more affordable price, and the new types of strings make a making a decent sound across the whole range of the instrument much more achievable than it was when playing on gut strings that could go out of tune or not have the same kind of sound on different strings, so a more advanced technique was required in order to get the standard of playing that can be achieve much more easily today.

In line with the technology the grade exams have not increased in difficulty. Standards of playing have risen enormously but the grade exams have only increased in difficult by a small amount, and not enough to reflect the decrease in difficulty of learning the violin caused by the introduction of better bows and new strings and also better quality student violins. While 40 or 50 years ago grade 8 would get you a place at a university to study music performance, it won't now because most people who start an instrument can now pass grade 8. Another consideration is the introduction of marking course work as part of the GCSE exams. This means that many young people have less free time. If the exam boards increased the difficulty of grade 8 in line with the new technology in violin playing, far fewer people would pass any form of grade exams. This means that it could be the case that the exam boards do not make any money, which of course is their primary purpose.

Faster progress can be achieved by playing with other people from the start of learning a musical instrument.

It is for all the above reasons that I suggest that adults do not take grade exams. They really are a very elementary compared to what it is possible for an adult to play on an instrument.

You may have noticed that grade 8 is marked as advanced on the grade syllabus. This isn't advanced in terms of playing standards it is advanced in terms of the grade exams. So grade 8 is more advanced than grade 3.

I am just trying to explain why in terms of adult education grade 8 isn't something to aspire to. It might be in terms of school education but not in terms of adult education.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
What I would like to suggest is that you ask your exam violin teacher to explain to you where in the standards possible to achieve on a musical instrument grade 8 comes. I find adults have a very difficult time understanding that grade 8 is not quite like A level....

I am just trying to explain why in terms of adult education grade 8 isn't something to aspire to. It might be in terms of school education but not in terms of adult education.
Wow, what a diatribe! Odd, if grade 8 is for primary school kids, that University Admissions Officers treat it as the equivalent of A-level...

I shall not be asking my exam teacher anything about grade 8, because I am not taking exams to get a certificate or enter university. I am taking exams as a strategy of choice, because I want to go on improving. Exams give me a chance to learn with a particular local teacher, & specifically to gain the experience of working up pieces, learning bow techniques, improving my sight-reading, learning to conquer my nerves in public, and being given an incentive to practise and learn vibrato. This was made perfectly clear in my post! Exams are just a small part of what I do, and I also learn about practical musicianship from my gifted fiddle teacher, who plays alongside me in lessons.

In my book, there's nothing wrong in an adult taking school subjects later in life. At university once I met an old man who said that 'he was still a student', and that is something I admire. Neither is there anything wrong with being compared to a child. We can all learn from children.

Jaws, as I said in my original reply to you, this thread is about teaching styles; here is a quotation from my opening post:

Apart from having to pay two weekly fees, this is an ideal solution for me. My exam teacher of necessity has a narrow focus, but that's okay, as I get to play all sorts of adventurous repertoire with the other. The Inspired One does not make me do exercises, or tell me about keys and scales and arpeggios - but the exam tutor does, and that means when I am playing for my freer teacher, I can control the sound I am making much better than before. And this has given me confidence.

In the context of my two teachers, it is natural that I'd wish to share the news that I'd passed my exam:
I have just passed my first music exam, Violin ABRSM Grade 3, with distinction. It is a lowly grade, but I am 'over the moon'. Thinking about it, I have an ideal set-up. My exam teacher is wonderfully thorough & kind, and my 'repertoire' teacher is imaginative, inspiring, challenging. I am blessed.

Notice that nothing much is claimed for the 'lowly' grade 3, but I am basically saying that in my two teachers I have the ideal combination. I do not know why you feel impelled to spend such energy in denigrating grade exams on this thread and elsewhere. Many people have benefited from exams and disciplined teaching, and as long as adult pupils remain open to a variety of experiences, I cannot see the harm in it. Au contraire...
 

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Going back to the beginning of this thread, you have to decide what age you are aiming the poll at. Children under the age of 5 benefit from learning by ear, but adults benefit from learning to read music. Basically you can't use the same teaching methods with children and adults because it doesn't work. As the poll doesn't include any age indication then the results are meaningless. I will give you an example of what I mean. You can give a child a piece of music to learn that would drive an adult mad if they had to practice it. Children are totally content to play the same piece over and over again, adults get bored with that. You can tell a child what they have to practice for their next lesson and most of them will do some of it. An adult won't practice something unless they can see a reason for doing it. Adults ask lots and lots of questions. Children rarely do.

To be absolutely honest the teaching style that works best with adults is one that includes playing in an ensemble as part of the learning experience. In fact you can learn to play the violin by lessons in ensembles and not individual. I would suggest that the best way to learn would be an individual lesson once a month and membership of at least one ensemble that practices every week. The student needs to lead the lesson because they need to practice the ensemble music. Playing lots of solo pieces to performance standard is a waste of time and energy because no one wants to listen to adults playing solo pieces badly and there aren't enough composers writing beginner standard music especially for performance by adult beginners, so what usually happens is that adult beginners have to play school music simplified arrangements of solo pieces, which of course don't have any relationship to what the pieces actually sound like.

A small child playing a solo that sounds not very good can be forgiven for not playing the piece very well for their audience. Their music education has just started and they don't have much idea of what playing something well means. However an adult beginner has had a life time to listen to music and will know how it is supposed to sound. So playing badly to other adults who aren't themselves learning isn't fair to the people who have to listen to it, as an adult should be fully aware of what is expected in performance standards. Lessons for adults have to take this knowledge into account.
 
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