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#2015265 - 01/16/13 03:23 AM Adult returning to piano (need advice)  
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 607
Gatsbee13 Offline
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Los Angeles
Hello everyone.. I just wanted to get advice.. I am an intermediate level player looking to advance my piano skills. A little about myself: I took piano for 3 years at 9 years old and quit after 3 years. I have been on and off with the piano ever since. I am now 30 and don't think practicing by myself would help develop better technique, listening skills, etc. I wanted to get your opinion on whether I should take an intermediate level II course at my local community college for ~$50 (entire semester)or find a good teacher from say.. the Music Teachers Association of California website? which would probably cost $50 for the hour. Im not a child anymore, so I wont learn as rapidly as they do, but am serious about getting better. I know there are a lot of things to consider such as price, how much im getting out of group learning vs individual, etc. just wanted some input.

-david

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#2015275 - 01/16/13 03:53 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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musicpassion Offline
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musicpassion  Offline
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California, USA
Originally Posted by Gatsbee13
Im not a child anymore, so I wont learn as rapidly as they do, but am serious about getting better.


Had to speak to this one first: One time I started four new students at the same time. All were complete beginners. Two were fairly young children. Two were adults over 70.

Guess who learned the fastest? The older adults absolutely smoked the kids.

Yes, there are differences in how adults process information or whatever. I don't have scientific data to really know what all the differences are. But I regularly teach adult students and they can learn well.

The bigger concern for an adult student is their schedule and ability to stick with it for long enough to make progress in keeping with their goals.


Pianist and Piano Teacher
#2015278 - 01/16/13 03:58 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Dec 2012
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musicpassion Offline
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Class piano or private instruction?

I think either is a reasonable decision. So how would I decide between the two?

I'd probably evaluate the amount of time I have for practice. I would want to have signficant practice time when working with a private teacher.

MTAC is an excellent organization. The teacher at the Community College may also be a member, btw.


Pianist and Piano Teacher
#2015328 - 01/16/13 08:03 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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Minniemay Offline
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Minniemay  Offline
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I'd skip the class and look for a private teacher. Much the better way to go if you have specific goals.


B.A., Piano, Piano Pegagogy, Music Ed.
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#2015337 - 01/16/13 08:14 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Apr 2007
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Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Your money is better spent on individual lessons with a good private teacher. Not to knock those that do group lessons, but you will not be able to progress at your level when in a group, and so it's quite possible you won't learn as much in the semester's time than you would in private lessons.


private piano/voice teacher FT

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#2015341 - 01/16/13 08:19 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Apr 2009
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malkin Offline
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malkin  Offline
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When I took group piano, I had quite a lot of fun.
Now that I am taking private lessons, I am learning to play piano.


Having power is not nearly as important as what you choose to do with it.
– Roald Dahl

#2015359 - 01/16/13 09:19 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
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keystring Offline
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Private teacher. Stress that you want to get whatever skills and knowledge needed to play the piano, and are willing to do what you are asked to get there. Don't worry about how much time you can spend - instead make sure that you do spend time daily, consistently, and that you use that time well. When you do have that teacher, don't be shy about asking how to practice efficiently. If the teacher cannot tell you that, then I would hesitate about that teacher.

#2015427 - 01/16/13 11:30 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Jan 2011
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Scott Coletta Offline
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Scott Coletta  Offline
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I agree with musicpassion that adults can learn just as well if not better than kids. If you want to do it, work at it consistently, and have a good teacher, it doesn't matter how old you are. I also agree with what keystring says... you have to know how to practice well. And while practice might be addressed in a group class, you'll really need specific guidance based on your individual strengths and weaknesses. A good private teacher will know how to help you with your specific problems... like a good therapist. smile A class on how to be a better person might be helpful, but it won't get to the root like individual therapy.

When I work with adults, which I do quite a lot of, I spend a lot of time with the pyschology of learning piano. Where and how to focus, feelings of certainty and uncertainty, self-evaluation, problem-solving, organization of practice, motivation, feelings of doubt, feelings of joy, etc. I ask a lot of questions. I find that adults get in the way of themselves a lot. They often believe they should do certain things and are very good at convincing themselves, unfortunately too frequently, into believing things that aren't helpful. So I would suggest finding a teacher who understands this. Someone who is relatable, really listens to you and asks you questions. Not someone who just tells you what to do, even if what they are telling you seems to make sense. Problems are best avoided with good communication. Of course, make sure the teacher is also musically skilled. laugh You won't necessarily find the right teacher for you through the music teachers association, but it certainly wouldn't be a bad place to start.

#2015482 - 01/16/13 01:20 PM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Aug 2004
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TimR Offline
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Virginia, USA
IMO a good teacher is better than group lessons, which are better than a mediocre teacher.

I suggest signing up for group lessons and continuing the search for a teacher that meets your needs. For adults, these aren't so easy to find.


gotta go practice
#2015777 - 01/16/13 08:42 PM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Jul 2012
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Michael_99 Offline
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Canada Alberta
Hello everyone.. I just wanted to get advice.. I am an intermediate level player looking to advance my piano
skills. A little about myself: I took piano for 3 years at 9 years old and quit after 3 years. I have been on and off with the piano ever since.


The interesting part is: Why have you been on an off with the piano ever since? Is it money, time, lack of interest?

I like to break it down this way. It is all about time, all about sitting on the piano bench 2 or 3 hours a day - after a full day. The average person works 8 hours a day, 9 - 5, commutes, meals, shops - by 7:00 you can sit down on the piano bench for 3 hours. At 10:00 you relax and get ready for bed and you do that 7 days a week for the rest of your life. Sound Good?

I am now 30 and don't think practicing by myself would help develop better technique, listening skills, etc.

Being 30 could mean you have a wife, 3 kids, 2 jobs - it could mean a lot of things. Again, what time do you have everyday that is free and how much of that free time do you want to be looking at a music book at a piano?

Age is never a factor if you are in average good health, motivated, committed, you can accomplish almost anything.

I wanted to get your opinion on whether I should take an intermediate level II course at my local community

college for ~$50 (entire semester)or find a good teacher from say.. the Music Teachers Association of

California website? which would probably cost $50 for the hour.



If you are highly motivated, popping into a class once a week at a college, would be awesome and all that some people need to keep them on track and answer/solve problems.


Im not a child anymore, so I wont learn as rapidly as they do, but am serious about getting better. I know there are a lot of things to consider such as price, how much im getting out of group learning vs individual

Whether you are at a college class once a week or spending a hour with a private teacher is the same hour. But it is not the hour at college or the hour with the teacher that matters, it is what you do the 1 or 2 hours a night, every night, sitting on the piano bench that matters.

If you had posted, that you get up at 5:00 a.m. and practiced until you go to work and while you are preparing dinner you practice scales between making dishes and after an early evening nap you get up at 11:00 pm. and practice chopin until 2:00 a.m. I would understand.

Last edited by Michael_99; 01/16/13 08:44 PM.
#2015896 - 01/17/13 02:46 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: May 2012
Posts: 1,393
Bobpickle Offline

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Bobpickle  Offline

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Joined: May 2012
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Cameron Park, California
Speaking from experience (I learned to play in a similar class), if you've been playing as long as you have, the class will bore you and be quite below your level, though the structure may be of some (still probably not very much) aid.

Assuming you can meet the monthly expense first and foremost, as well as the required daily practice time, an experienced private teacher such as one accepted into the MTAC (http://www.mtac.org/info/findteacher.php) would be the way to go. While I'm not quite your age, though am closer than to being a child, I've spent time learning on my own, in an aforementioned classroom setting, and with a private teacher, and I'd rate the general success and rate of progress of each in the respective order just listed.


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#2015954 - 01/17/13 06:38 AM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Feb 2006
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landorrano Offline
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France
A group situation may not be what you are looking for, Gatsbee, but it can be very helpful. It can allow you to get your feet wet. And having camarades to talk with and develop with, is not the worst of things. It may also help you in your search for a suitable private teacher. Nothing to scoff at, in my opinion.

#2024672 - 01/31/13 02:26 PM Re: Adult returning to piano (need advice) [Re: Gatsbee13]  
Joined: Jun 2009
Posts: 513
Jonathan Baker Offline
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Jonathan Baker  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2009
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New York City!
Originally Posted by Gatsbee13
Im not a child anymore, so I wont learn as rapidly as they do, but am serious about getting better.


The above responses to you are correct: adults usually learn faster than children.

The advantage adults have over children is self-determination: you have self-motivation and self-control, unlike most children who have almost no control over their thoughts and will wander off.

The advantage children have over adults: they have no yet learned how to blame themselves the way adults do. Adults emotionally punish themselves relentlessly and it does then no good at all.

Regarding the selection of a piano teacher: I always set up a try-out lesson for both the student's sake and mine. Request such a lesson from a couple of teachers in your area and see how you interact.

I have never taken or taught group lessons (except, occasionally, for two children at a time, such as twins) so I have no idea about their constructive value. I have no interest in giving such lessons because one person is a handful already, and I want to be able to address all the issues that arise, moment to moment.


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