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My piano prof. is insane! (rant)

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by hateater, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Ok, here is the deal. At my school (probably most if not all schools), 3 piano courses are required for music majors. I got really pumped when i signed up for beginning piano, because I have always wanted to learn. I went out and bought a decent Yamaha keyboard, and bought an instructional book. Fun stuff the keyboard is. Ok, here is where things get odd.

    I figured that most of the students in my class would be music majors. I would say about 3/4 of them are not. It seems that this class is a vredit filler for some students. It seems like no one practices anything the teacher has ever given us, so we move incredibly slow. I realize that this is a beginner class, but we have been on "Ode to Joy" for the last 2 classes. I took it upon myself to plug in my earphones (that we are supplied with) and go beyond what we were learning. I am at around page 45 now (out of 80 or so), and the rest of the class is on page 15.

    So I have been having a pretty good time, and I even took it upon myself to show the kid next to me a few tricks with reading sheet music. I believe myself to be pretty well liked in the class, and no one has complained of me (to my face at least). I have even spoken with my teacher about different subjects, and she seemed to like me as much as any teacher could like a student.

    After class today, she asked to see me. There was one kid besides me left in the class practicing "Ode to Joy", so he told me later that he didnt catch much of what happened. Anyways, my teacher says to me, "I feel that you are beyond this class- you aren't playing what everyone else is". I told her that I really dig music, and I practice a lot. I also told her I know every song up until the page that I am at. She then had quite a few things to say to me.

    **may not be her actual words... I was getting pretty angry at the time she was speaking ot me**

    Teacher: You have been playing with your earphones on... and i can hear the clicking of your keys! It is driving me insane!

    Me: I am really sorry (really I was... I didn't think i was making that much noise).

    Teacher:Well, I think you need to stick with the class.

    Me: You just said that I am beyond this class...... right?

    Teacher: I don't care if you can play Beehtoven's 6th forwards and backwards, stick with what I am teaching.

    Me: That really doesn't make much sense. (I think I said something like that)

    Teacher: Well, as far as I am concerned you have already failed this course. I don't want you in this class anymore.

    Me: (Ok by now, I am stunned)... What?!?

    Teacher: The only way you can pass this class now is if you show up every class to take roll, then leave to go practice somewhere else.

    Me: I am really sorry, I swear I will stick with the class, I didn't mean to go so far ahead, it just happened.

    ** I then reached over and lightly put my hand on her shoulder and said sorry again... I didnt slam my hand on, or do anything sudden. Just as I put my hand on she recoiled like I had just slapped her in the face**

    Teacher: WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!?!?

    Me: I am really sorry- uhh.... (kind of forget what happened next, but I kept on saying sorry, and then kind of let myself out of the classroom)

    Ok- that was wierd.... I really have no idea what to do. I really don't want to show up to class again. I love the piano, and I need this ourse however, so I have to. There is one other teacher that I might be able to transfer to.

    That was really wierd.
  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    ...time to bring the folks into the picture.
    (Though I know I wouldn't want to stay in that class. She shoulda enlisted your help as a student tutor).

    Geez, she's either a horse's petute or just had a bad break up.
  3. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I really don't want to leave this class! Also it is required, so I can't really leave it anyways...
  4. hateater

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    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Ya know, I think she might have had a stroke in the past. I once had a career counclier (sp?) who had a stroke. she was very nice to me at times, and had emotional outbursts other times. I am not saying that once you have a stroke, you get real mean (I really have no clue), but my teacher looks (and sounds) like she may have had one.
  5. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    Dude, that's totally weak that you got a psycho for a piano teacher. I got lucky. Here, they seperated the beg. piano courses into two seperate courses last semester (one for music major, one for everyone else). Worked great. It still moved slower than it could have, but that's because it was only the first semester where they had tried it. Anyways, good luck with the psycho prof.
  6. temp5897

    temp5897 Guest

    First off, I don't think you should ever touch your professor *especially* if it's of the opposite sex (female in your case). That probably isn't a real smart idea. Not sure what to tell you about the rest of it, it is after all your point of view on the whole thing. ;)
  7. hateater

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    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I know it's a bad idea to touch anyone this day and age, but it is sort of a habit. I touch people- a lot.
  8. yeah, one thing I've learned is that the parents have a lot of power at most schools. They are the ones paying, so when they get angry and complain, university heads take notice. I severly doubt the university is going to call you a liar, tell your parents to screw off and side with the teacher instead, especially if you have the the skills to prove that you actually were blowing by the class.

    And touching a teacher= never a good idea, they are instructors not friends.
  9. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    If for any reason she claims that I touched her innapropriatley, hit her.. etc, I have a witness!

    Again, I realized right after I touched her that I really shouldn't have.

    I think I might just lay low in the class and see if she says anything else.
  10. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    Get the teacher to put that in writing (probably won't happen though), so she can't burn you later, and then do just what she suggested so you can get credit for the class.

    Also, I strongly agree with the others that suggested getting the parental units involved.
  11. hateater

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    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I really don't know if this makes a huge difference, but I am not at a four year school. I am going to a JC called Mt. San Antonio College... erm... MT SAC. www.mtsac.edu

    It is a huge school as far as JC's are concerned, and it is well known for having local college teachers teach there as well. Getting my parents involved might not be as effective as it would if I were at a four year school, since my tuition comes out to about 300 bucks a semester (I think...)
  12. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Let's put this situation in perspective, especially from the perspective of the teacher because doing so may help you figure out what to do next.

    She is teaching a class, but there is a student in the group with earphones on who is clicking away on his keyboard, clearly indicating he is not listening to her, but instead is doing his own program right in the middle of her classroom. The clicking creates a distraction both for the teacher and other students who hear it, plus they see that one among them has his own agenda.

    As a former teacher, I can tell you the king (or queen) in the classroom is the instructor. I also can tell you that if one student is engaged in any activity that distracts either the teacher or others, that student is creating a disturbance.

    While I recognize that her discussion with you quickly escalated from a civil start to a far less civil climax, I feel that your response to her statements may have created part of the problem. The question is--who was setting the tone? I feel you were, in that you were the one working ahead in her class, wearing earphones,and pursuing your own agenda. You could have and should have worked ahead on your own, but not in her class.

    I am absolutely not saying you are a smart aleck, but your conduct may have led her to conclude that you are. While your intentions may have been totally meritorious, studying dilligently to move ahead and get more out of the course, even helping others around you, your instructor doesn't know you are working ahead until you explain, doesn't know if the "help" you are giving a classmate is correct and is not sure if you will continue to present a distraction in the class.

    For all she knows you are attemting to add a keyboard part to Slayer or Cannibal Corpse or that you are disrupting another student's practice or just showing off.

    I think she did become unreasonable. I wouldn't have handled this situation exactly this way. She is the "adult" and should have been more forthright and less emotional. She lost control--not good.

    As for the "touching." Students have touched me. It was no big deal, but I did teach in cultures where touching is very much a part of the culture. The U.S. probably has one of the strictest prohibitions against casual touching of many cultures.

    Her reaction to your touch when you were attempting to apologize seems like an overeaction to me, but some people absolutely don't want to be touched and, unfortunately that has added to your predicament.

    Request one more meeting with her to try to unemotionally iron things out. Promise that while you are in her classroom, you will follow her lesson plan to the letter. That is CRUCIAL--that she know you will co-operate fully in her class.

    I don't agree with bringing in your parents on this one. That sounds like an attempt at intimidation to me. Furthermore, you should be old enough now to get yourself out of your own scrapes. You're too old now to be relying on Daddy for that.

    The only other viable course of action is to recognize a LOST CAUSE. You may have damaged your reputation in her class beyond repair and you will never succeed with this somewhat neurotic instructor. Drop out and take the course next semester with that other professor, but he could be even worse.

    Whatever you choose to do, good luck. I'm hoping you can work things out with this teacher.
  13. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    Great post, Bop.:) I agree 100%.
  14. hateater

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    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    Sorry, there was a lot that I left out. I AM NOT the only student who wears earphones and plays while the teacher is talking. Also, I asked the guy sitting next to me (the one who saw the whole thing with the teacher and I) if I was bothering him by playing while the teacher was talking. He told me that honestly, he can't even hear me, and I do not distract him at all. That is all I need to hear since there is no one else on the other side of me and I am in the back row.

    Also, I told her I would completley conform and do as the other students do, but she still insists that I just take roll and leave. This really bothers me, I have nothing against her, and I really like when she comes around and busts everyone's ass for their techniques. The best part of personal instruction is getting your technique down. A book can describe what you need to do, or have pictures, but there is nothing like a teacher telling you straight up that you are doing something wrong, and helping you.
  15. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Supporting Member

    I suggest you wait a day or two, do the 'take the roll and leave' thing, and then, after she has had time to cool off, meet with her before or after class and see if you can work it out.

    Also, it probably wouldn't hurt to apologize for touching her. Explain to her that you are a 'touchy-feely' person, and that you realize that a lot of people aren't comfortable with that. Tell her that it was an impulsive thing, and that it won't happen again.

    Good luck!
  16. hateater

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    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    It was wierd.... not just the situation, but the way she reacted. I figured at the time she must be a huge germophobe, or she thought I was going to kick her ass. Either way, it was uncomfortable. I would rather not bring it up, as I already apologized for touching her.
  17. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    I'm a big believer in the healing power of time. After a few days have passed, and both of you have had a chance to rest and reflect, hopefully you will be able to meet with your teacher again and have a calmer, less defensive meeting.

    Afterall, she took you by surprise with her demands and you, on the defensive, made the mistake of touching her during a sincere apology. In many cases, this may not have been wrong, but she is one of those people you dare not touch...something you couldn't possibly have known at the time.

    I really do hope that the two of you can discuss the situation calmly and that she will behave in a more professional and less emotional way. We really don't know what caused her behavior. Maybe her cat died, or her husband is sneaking around or she is being refused tenure or she is trying to quit smoking. Who knows?

    I had a run-in with a professor in a small college once and eventually had to leave the department and change my major. I knew my goose was cooked. Sometimes it can get ugly if you cross someone, especially a grudge carrier.

    I'm hoping in this case, cooler heads will prevail and you and your professor can work things out and, furthermore, that she doesn't dock your grades in retribution for the incident. I wasn't so fortunate. I'm on your side.
  18. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    If I were you I would not stay in the class, it would be too uncomfortable. I agree with Boplicity that playing your keyboard and disregarding her lesson probably got under her skin and was a major distraction, however, as the teacher she has an obligation to ask you to change your behavior and to conform to the lesson she is teaching before unloading on you and threatening to fail you.
    As far as touching goes, I had to fire a guy (a nice guy at that) for touching a female coworker(not in a sexual way). He patted her on the shoulder and she did'nt like it. My boss said he had to go. There is a bit more to it than that but my point is that some people are weird about touching and they might make trouble for you. Stay away from this teacher she might attempt to make trouble for you.
  19. hateater

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    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I thank you all for your insight. I e-mailed the head of the music dept. and asked for advice. I hope all works out!

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