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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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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
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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Midwest USA
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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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Virginia, USA
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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
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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"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2710753
02/01/18 06:35 PM
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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"A goal properly set is halfway reached." Zig Ziglar
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.


Enough is as good as a feast.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: DFSRN] #2710796
02/01/18 08:31 PM
02/01/18 08:31 PM
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Canada
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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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Posts: 1,648
USA
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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
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
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
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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
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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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.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2710834
02/02/18 02:26 AM
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!


Piano Teacher
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Stubbie] #2710835
02/02/18 02:32 AM
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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