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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710501
01/31/18 07:57 PM
01/31/18 07:57 PM
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Dear Dogperson, I totally agree, lessons that you are not fully prepared there are other things to do, like site reading, my teacher calls out cords, scales, we may work on difficult passages, etc.... However, if a person is constantly unprepared then, I think, it does become a waste of money and lessons are not cheap. I had a friend who wanted to play the piano, took lessons and then quite because she did not want to practice. I said to her, I thought you wanted to play the piano, she said I do and I want to be good, I just don't like to practice. I like to practice, sometimes I take a day off from work just to practice. I will never be great, but I would like to be decent and volunteer my time to play for nursing homes and the VHA where I work for Veterans in the nursing home unit.

I imagine if a student is frequently unprepared it becomes disheartening to the teacher who invests in the student. Thanks for your comments, I am happy you enjoyed the article.

Warmly,


Deb
"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710503
01/31/18 08:15 PM
01/31/18 08:15 PM
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Florida
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Hi Deb
Thanks for your email. Just as a clarification: when I am not totally prepared for lessons, we still work on the repertoire that I’ve been working on, and both my teacher and I find the lessons to still be productive: there are always possible interpretations to be discussed/tried, different approaches to the music, or different ways to practice a skill to be tried. The lesson agenda did not change from what it would have been..... And what I dreaded as a lesson ended being very productive. .


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: AZNpiano] #2710512
01/31/18 08:54 PM
01/31/18 08:54 PM
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Portland, OR, USA
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I saw three of my adult students so far this week. None of them practiced. Not even 5 minutes.

As an adult student, I dread going to my teacher without practicing. I am very curious - if your students haven't practiced, what do you do in the whole class?

Osho


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: DFSRN] #2710530
01/31/18 11:11 PM
01/31/18 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DFSRN
If people can watch an hour of TV a night, they can practice the piano instead. It comes to motivation. However, there may be a time in life where due to other demands of career, parents, children, ............. it is not the right time to take lessons.


I have to say this is not true for me. I can come home exhausted from a 12-14 hour day at work and still be able to watch an hour of TV. Practicing piano is mentally very taxing compared to watching TV. Even watch a PBS program on math or quantum mechanics is easy compared to practicing a 3 or 4 voice etude.

I would agree that I am perhaps at that point in life where it is, as you say, not the right time to take lessons. I brought this up with my teacher, and she said, if you stop lessons now, you will stop practicing all together and may not even pick it up again. Also, there will be a time in your life where you will have more time, and we need to work on all the basics so some day you will be able to play a Beethoven Sonata. My response to her was, I was never so ambitious to need to conquer a Beethoven Sonata.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: AZNpiano] #2710532
01/31/18 11:33 PM
01/31/18 11:33 PM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
I saw three of my adult students so far this week. None of them practiced. Not even 5 minutes.

I sincerely doubt any of the practice strategies I teach them will be of any use.


Thanks for sharing this. It gives me much to think about.

First, I rarely show up without even 5 minutes of practice. The worst offense for me would be showing up with only 2 hours of practice crammed in the night before the lesson, usually at the expense of sleeping. Not proud of it, but I've fallen asleep at the piano. I absolutely hate it when it came down to that, because I know there is no such thing as just-in-time-learning or cramming for piano.

Second, I bet my teacher noticed, but she is too supportive to give me a hard time. I believe I can do better. I came home last night, exhausted, and practiced 15 minutes after the children went to bed before collapsing myself. It felt good that I did it. I worked on only 2 measures, the hardest 2 measures of a 3 voice etude I'm learning, and only left hand at that. It is hard to not make so many mistakes when I'm that tired. Still, I woke up this morning feeling good I was at least at the piano.

It 32 minutes before bed time, so getting the children ready, so I can go practice piano, maybe half an hour tonight. My state of exhaustion is perhaps a little less than average tonight....

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710540
02/01/18 12:19 AM
02/01/18 12:19 AM
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Originally Posted by 8 Octaves
Originally Posted by DFSRN
If people can watch an hour of TV a night, they can practice the piano instead. It comes to motivation. However, there may be a time in life where due to other demands of career, parents, children, ............. it is not the right time to take lessons.


I have to say this is not true for me. I can come home exhausted from a 12-14 hour day at work and still be able to watch an hour of TV. Practicing piano is mentally very taxing compared to watching TV. Even watch a PBS program on math or quantum mechanics is easy compared to practicing a 3 or 4 voice etude.

I would agree that I am perhaps at that point in life where it is, as you say, not the right time to take lessons. I brought this up with my teacher, and she said, if you stop lessons now, you will stop practicing all together and may not even pick it up again. Also, there will be a time in your life where you will have more time, and we need to work on all the basics so some day you will be able to play a Beethoven Sonata. My response to her was, I was never so ambitious to need to conquer a Beethoven Sonata.


To add to the mental exhaustion which can sometimes be overcome after a while the main reason I can read, watch tv or browse the internet after a long day at work is simply physical. I need to lie down because of my back. As long as practicing the piano requires sitting down it limits my practice time on work days.

If one does not have a job that drains the same resources as piano practice one is fortunate. It was better for me when I started so I could easily practice at least an hour every day, but those days are long gone...I do not think my motivation has faded at all. And I feel it's still ok to take lessons as long as I can work on the piano at least a few days. Weekends are the time I can usually "catch up". If I had those programmed for other things then it would be very difficult to continue any sort of serious study.

And I do feel like when a teenager trying to cram all practice to weekends before the Monday lesson. It's not the best way but I don't think it's all that bad...we still mostly have an ok lesson because I have several pieces on different stages at work. And if nothing is progressing we can always check up some scales or arps...

Last edited by outo; 02/01/18 12:23 AM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Osho] #2710550
02/01/18 03:55 AM
02/01/18 03:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Osho
As an adult student, I dread going to my teacher without practicing. I am very curious - if your students haven't practiced, what do you do in the whole class?

It depends on the level. The beginners simply move on to the next piece in the method book. They can almost sight read every piece, anyway, but they obviously won't sound very musical due to frequent stops and errors.

For the more advanced students: If they can sight read well, we can work on the current piece but focus on some technical aspect, like repeated notes, parallel thirds, or jumping octaves.

To be completely honest, these lessons aren't really a waste of time. Something is done at the lesson. Whether or not the skill and information is retained is up to the individual student.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Osho] #2710555
02/01/18 04:45 AM
02/01/18 04:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Osho

As an adult student, I dread going to my teacher without practicing. I am very curious - if your students haven't practiced, what do you do in the whole class?

Osho

None of my adult students are like AZN's. If they have done no playing, it's because they could not.

It happens.

There is never enough time to cover all the things I have in mind. I always have things to do, or to show. Lesson time is never wasted.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710623
02/01/18 11:26 AM
02/01/18 11:26 AM
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AZN, Gary, other teachers--several adult student posters in this thread (these are the ones you teachers have said are non-typical of their adult students) have cited exhausting and time-consuming work/family schedules as reasons for not having practiced. Is this the general case for adult students you've had over the years (those who don't practice)? Are there other reasons? I realize that it can be difficult for you as a teacher to know with any certainty *why* someone doesn't practice, but you probably get a pretty good feel for it.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710634
02/01/18 12:06 PM
02/01/18 12:06 PM
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Canada
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If I recall, only one teacher in this thread has written about adult students not practising (and has done so more than once). I have not been able to understand why, in this instant. The person who started the thread is an adult student who has reached grade 7, whose teacher is pleased with her, but she herself is not satisfied with how much she can practice and wonders why her teacher is pleased. Usually lazy students are not worried about their own work, while a conscientious, diligent student will tend to worry about not doing enough regardless of how hard they work. I'd think that kind of student could use some reassurance, instead of being repeatedly told of lazy students. In short, I don't know what the purpose is of telling about the lazy students so often.

It is very typical of adult students who finally have a chance to take lessons, for whom it means a lot, to beat themselves up about not doing enough, even if their teacher is satisfied. The feedback I've gotten over the years is that when a teacher sees consistent effort, even if the student could only manage 15 minutes / day during difficult periods, the teacher is more than satisfied. Attitude and effort count for a lot, from what I've seen. If you are a student who puts in effort consistently, you cannot imagine the lack of effort teachers will see in some other students, and just how much your own effort counts for the teacher. I didn't know that, once upon a time. We only know ourselves, and don't see what other students do.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2710635
02/01/18 12:10 PM
02/01/18 12:10 PM
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Another point is that the OP has reached RCM 7 in a little under 8 years, which sounds exactly par for the course for child students too, of one RCM level per year. So I have been wondering from the beginning of the thread about why 8 Octaves feels that their progress is substandard and that child students would be better.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: PianoStudent88] #2710638
02/01/18 12:16 PM
02/01/18 12:16 PM
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Canada
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Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
Another point is that the OP has reached RCM 7 in a little under 8 years, which sounds exactly par for the course for child students too, of one RCM level per year. So I have been wondering from the beginning of the thread about why 8 Octaves feels that their progress is substandard and that child students would be better.

I have been told by a teacher that it is the diligent good students who are the most likely to be unsure of the quality and adequacy of their work, precisely because they are diligent, while the sloppy lazy student will be right as rain with their "study performance". Similarly, that a student who has a good ear and so works the hardest, improving the most, will tend to be the most self-critical.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710644
02/01/18 12:32 PM
02/01/18 12:32 PM
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Adult Student here working 45-50 hours a week in non-musical field.

I discussed the "practice time" issue with my teacher. I take lessons at community music school with prepaid weekly lessons so skipping lesson is really not an option. She told me she completely understands some time we are too busy working and dealing with life. As long as in general we are moving forward towards our goals, she would be OK with it. Then she said I am probably making more progress than her younger students because their lives are filled with school work, sports, and other activities.


Our lessons normally consist of 2 parts - 1. Fine-tuning pieces such as running through the pieces for upcoming performances. I asked her if she is bored by listening to me playing the same pieces 4-5 weeks in a row and she said NO. Each week she can still hear my progress or identify things I need to work on before the actual performance. 2. Problem solving on new pieces of my own choice.. When I feel I am less prepared for a lesson, we would do problem solving on a section of a new piece (such as writing out the fingering) so the lesson is still somewhat productive.


We agree on a goal for the school year from September to June. My goal is to learn approx. 30 minutes of music and perform all of them (at different occasions) at least 2-3 times from memory throughout 9 months. It is actually very hard to achieve but I manage to make it 3 years in a row. Last year because I learned the entire Beethoven Sonata (26 minutes), I ended up learning totally 40 minutes of music.


I asked her about working with kids who don't have time to practice. She said she would do sight read exercise; playing some music games with very young kids, do some theory...etc. Some of her young students will end up learning only 1 piece (3-5 minutes long) in the entire year. I heard their performances and they actually sounded pretty good. I guess everyone is different regardless children or adults, and we all have our own pace. I guess it is the challenge for a teacher to come up with different approach with different students.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Stubbie] #2710661
02/01/18 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
AZN, Gary, other teachers--several adult student posters in this thread (these are the ones you teachers have said are non-typical of their adult students) have cited exhausting and time-consuming work/family schedules as reasons for not having practiced. Is this the general case for adult students you've had over the years (those who don't practice)? Are there other reasons? I realize that it can be difficult for you as a teacher to know with any certainty *why* someone doesn't practice, but you probably get a pretty good feel for it.

Good students - ALL good students - practice as much as possible, though I prefer to say "play".

Poor students never run out of excuses. It's as simple as that.

I have two or three very good adult students who sometimes CANNOT practice because of business trips, family responsibilities, exhaustion (on and off).

Adults don't always have several hours each week to work, or even play, on their own. Life gets in the way.

But these adults also work extra hard when they DO have the time.

I would say all three of these adult students are very much like people who write in this forum.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710674
02/01/18 02:16 PM
02/01/18 02:16 PM
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I'd say that if an adult student does not practice week after week they have lost their flame about the piano. All my adult students have occasional weeks of little or no practice: as Gary says, life just crowds out one's personal piano time, and I get that. But when this becomes a consistent pattern, something deeper is going on. It may be time to take a break from piano, or even change teachers. Or perhaps a piano retreat can recharge one's batteries.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 02/01/18 02:17 PM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710683
02/01/18 02:40 PM
02/01/18 02:40 PM
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Gary and Peter, thanks for your responses. I'm trying to get a handle on the relative numbers of adults who (1) are passionate about piano but oftentimes cannot practice due to their work (typical of Gary's current adult students) and (2) those who probably could but don't make time to practice (some of Peter's students). As has been mentioned before, the adult students who frequent PW aren't necessarily representative of what teachers encounter year in and year out, and I'm curious about the relative numbers.

Gary, you mention your current three adult students--are they representative of the adult students you've had in the past?

Peter, for those for whom it's a consistent pattern--I can see how it could result from either losing the flame or from an overestimation or ignorance about how much time and energy they had to devote to piano. For the latter group, it's got to be a wrenching decision about whether to continue or to delay lessons until something changes in their lives to open up some time for practice.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710700
02/01/18 03:57 PM
02/01/18 03:57 PM
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What about people who do have an interest, and want to improve, but whose motivation may be less about the music per se than the secondary rewards associated with being a musician?

(The social rewards of playing in an ensemble, the respect of peers at church, etc.)


gotta go practice
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2710748
02/01/18 06:26 PM
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Outo, if you sit down at work have you ever thought about a stand-up desk? If you have back issues and see a chiropractor or physician, consider filling out papers for reasonable accommodation (if you work for a large organization). I have a stand up desk, I rarely sit at work, basically I stand most of the day. The only time I sit is at home. According to my chiropractor sitting puts 40% more pressure on your back. Just a thought.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2710753
02/01/18 06:35 PM
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Keystrings, I bet most of the people who take the time to participate in this thread are over achievers and perfectionists they expect a lot from themselves. After I finished my PhD (personal goal not career) I started piano lessons. Several people asked me, don't you just want to do nothing. I can't imagine not continually learning something. I find piano relaxing, if I am tired I will work on easier things for my lessons and save the difficult exercises when I am fresh.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2710756
02/01/18 06:40 PM
02/01/18 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
What about people who do have an interest, and want to improve, but whose motivation may be less about the music per se than the secondary rewards associated with being a musician?

(The social rewards of playing in an ensemble, the respect of peers at church, etc.)

I would think that they would soon recognize that the secondary rewards won't come without putting in the time and effort to learn to play the music. Piano might be especially discouraging for them, if they're not that interested in the process of learning it, and they might switch to something that they perceive as easier and quicker to learn. Just a guess.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Peter K. Mose] #2710758
02/01/18 06:41 PM
02/01/18 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
... something deeper is going on...


Perhaps the student's life reads like one of those psychological stressor quizzes.

In my long life, I have generally been quite boring, but the last 6 months I've been ticking off many of the stressor boxes. I'm to the point where it feels like like waiting for the other shoe to drop when you live downstairs from Zappos'.

I've mentioned some of the more interesting events to my teacher, and after 5 years or so he knows I'm crazy anyway, but certainly, it hasn't been a period of rapid development of my piano skills.


I've been trying to change my signature quote for weeks.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: DFSRN] #2710796
02/01/18 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by DFSRN
Keystrings, I bet most of the people who take the time to participate in this thread are over achievers and perfectionists they expect a lot from themselves.

Or they may simply be people who take seriously whatever they have taken up, and want to do reasonably well. They may still be the exception as adults may take up new things with a light hobby type of attitude.
The problem 15 or more years ago was that if you wanted to learn anything, you were basically stuck with whatever was available locally, with no idea if this was even how it should go. I remember registering for a "folk art" course at the local community center - though I didn't plan to go into this seriously, I did expect to learn a few things. Basically it was a "paint by number" kind of thing where you could trace a rooster or flowers from a stencil onto a piece of wood and then paint in the colours from premixed paint onto pretreated wood. You don't have to be a perfectionist to be dissatisfied with that kind of thing.

I'd say that some of us did not have an opportunity to study music when we were young, and we want to actually learn it. The information gotten locally may not be as it should be, and so we gradually drift to places where we can start getting that information. And then there is the neighbour who hears you practising and phones you up saying "Since you have nothing to do, would you be interested in our volunteer activity --- can you give me a ride?" - support from like-minded people (which your neighbours aren't wink ) is worth something.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2710808
02/01/18 10:22 PM
02/01/18 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
And then there is the neighbour who hears you practising and phones you up saying "Since you have nothing to do, would you be interested in our volunteer activity --- can you give me a ride?"


Whah shocked

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: DFSRN] #2710810
02/01/18 10:32 PM
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DFSRN, I shared your insightful article with my piano teacher. We talked about it at length today, not at a lesson, just chatting on the phone. She said this is something she would be interested in sharing with her students' parents as well.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: DFSRN] #2710823
02/02/18 12:55 AM
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Originally Posted by DFSRN
Outo, if you sit down at work have you ever thought about a stand-up desk? If you have back issues and see a chiropractor or physician, consider filling out papers for reasonable accommodation (if you work for a large organization). I have a stand up desk, I rarely sit at work, basically I stand most of the day. The only time I sit is at home. According to my chiropractor sitting puts 40% more pressure on your back. Just a thought.


Very good suggestions. I have an electric desk already and it has made a lot of improvement since I do not suffer from neck issues and headaches anymore. I also get physiotherapy from work. Unfortunately nothing helps 100% because my back is defected and both standing and sitting give me problems. I also suffered a mild injury last summer so it has been worse than ever for the past winter. Add to that a shoulder injury that sometimes gets aggravated from computer work and playing. Things like that will limit practice time but I do what I can.

And yes, sometimes I may just be lazy or simply feel like doing something else...then I should be spanked smile

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2710824
02/02/18 01:05 AM
02/02/18 01:05 AM
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outo Offline
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Btw. I seem to have a very similar mentaly towards my job and my hobbies. Which is why I do more than is required instead of just the minimum. This is probably true for many dedicated adult students, they are highly dedicated to whatever they do, so time will always be too little to do everything... Less rest is one way to solve this but I would not recommend that. When I was younger I was fine with taking time from sleep but not anymore.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Stubbie] #2710829
02/02/18 01:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Stubbie
A Are there other reasons?


I'll admit to being frankly unmotivated some weeks.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2710833
02/02/18 02:21 AM
02/02/18 02:21 AM
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Gary D. Online content
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by PianoStudent88
Another point is that the OP has reached RCM 7 in a little under 8 years, which sounds exactly par for the course for child students too, of one RCM level per year. So I have been wondering from the beginning of the thread about why 8 Octaves feels that their progress is substandard and that child students would be better.

I have been told by a teacher that it is the diligent good students who are the most likely to be unsure of the quality and adequacy of their work, precisely because they are diligent, while the sloppy lazy student will be right as rain with their "study performance". Similarly, that a student who has a good ear and so works the hardest, improving the most, will tend to be the most self-critical.

Yes.


Piano Teacher
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2710834
02/02/18 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
What about people who do have an interest, and want to improve, but whose motivation may be less about the music per se than the secondary rewards associated with being a musician?

(The social rewards of playing in an ensemble, the respect of peers at church, etc.)

Then you need a teacher who will work towards those goals, but good luck finding one!


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Stubbie] #2710835
02/02/18 02:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR

Gary, you mention your current three adult students--are they representative of the adult students you've had in the past?

I don't know, because I have changed, myself.

Chicken/egg...

I've never had a problem keeping good students who start to do really well. My problem has been finding a way to keep things interesting in the beginning stages, and this is across the board.

Two of my best adults quit in the last year because of money. I know they are serious because they keep in touch. They both lost jobs. I lose track of how many people each year are not able to continue because things get rough.


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