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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2714027
02/13/18 04:18 PM
02/13/18 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.

Tim, at the risk of sounding snarky, I have to say: It is 2017. It has never been easier for any of us to record ourselves. So why do people do it so infrequently?

Answer: they don't like the truth.

People can say, "I just can't play anything well when I record. I play much better when I don't record."

And so on.

The excuses are limitless.

There is no faster reality check than recording, and it doesn't have to be a long recording, or a whole piece. It can be one section.

I started recording myself when I was quite young, and at that time it was way way WAY harder to do it. All of my important performances were recorded.

It's easy to tell yourself that you are better than you actually are when there is no evidence of your true level.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/13/18 04:19 PM.

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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2714038
02/13/18 04:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.

Tim, at the risk of sounding snarky, I have to say: It is 2017.

I think you may have missed something grin

But seriously, now that I know how much work it requires to make yourself sound even decent, maybe for some adults daydreaming with the piano on their own is indeed the better option... Interestingly both of my friends described above can read notation even if not playing "correctly" and have learned that on their piano lessons. So were the lessons a waste of time for them?

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2714290
02/14/18 03:36 PM
02/14/18 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.

Tim, at the risk of sounding snarky, I have to say: It is 2017. It has never been easier for any of us to record ourselves. So why do people do it so infrequently?

Answer: they don't like the truth..


It is painful to be forced to confront the reality sometimes! I agree. That's most of the reason we don't like to record.

But I think there is also something about learning to hear. I use the recorder partly to try to calibrate my ear and improve listening.

Last night I was recording parts of a practice session, playing a short phrase, listening, repeating. You nailed it about technology, by the way. I have an H2 plugged into a laptop running Audacity, the output goes into a stereo amplifier and good speakers. I can replay instantly from any point. In the old days with a reel to reel? Even a phone is better. It might not catch nuances of tone but it is accurate on pitch and rhythm.

There was a slurred section that sounded smooth and connected to my ear and sloppy/smeary to the recording. The recording does not lie, but the ear has not always yet been trained to catch things. Repeating the section improves the execution, but hopefully also the connection to the ear. Some people already have that connection, I have to work at it.


gotta go practice
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714317
02/14/18 06:11 PM
02/14/18 06:11 PM
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Regarding the original question of why not only taking kids:

In my case it's simply a matter of enjoying variety in my studio; I enjoy teaching kids, but there are only so many hours a week I can stand to talk in cutesy-baby voices, be diplomatic with parents, play traffic cop for not practicing, or post stickers; etc. Sometimes I need the medium of mature adult conversation as a creative release. (Vice Versa for if I only had to deal with adults and their issues).

Last edited by Opus_Maximus; 02/14/18 06:12 PM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2714343
02/14/18 09:39 PM
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My teacher recommends to record myself. I am finishing up my 4th year of lessons. I just use my recorder on my phone for audio. I wait until it is pretty good and then I can tell with the recording what I need to practice more. It is a benefit to record so easily.


Deb
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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2714434
02/15/18 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by outo

I think you may have missed something grin

Sorry to be dense. What did I miss?
Quote

But seriously, now that I know how much work it requires to make yourself sound even decent, maybe for some adults daydreaming with the piano on their own is indeed the better option...

There are different degrees of daydreaming. But don't get used to doing it if you want to play in front of other people and care about the result.
Quote

Interestingly both of my friends described above can read notation even if not playing "correctly" and have learned that on their piano lessons. So were the lessons a waste of time for them?

You'd have to ask them.

Would you be content to play like them? Do you like what they are accomplishing?

Are they happy now? Will they be happy 5 years from now? Ten?


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2714436
02/15/18 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by TimR
Originally Posted by Gary D.

Because people enjoy playing wrong. It's more fun for them to continue messing things up, over and over again, than to get things right. This is INSTANTLY fixed for those of us who perform, because it does not work. I call it, "Let's pretend." Even my young students get it when I explain, and they even laugh. In their minds they are playing the music, and it is wonderful. Maybe they even have people applauding, in their minds.


I think maybe hearing what you really sound like is a skill that must be developed, and that's not an easy process.

Tim, at the risk of sounding snarky, I have to say: It is 2017. It has never been easier for any of us to record ourselves. So why do people do it so infrequently?

Answer: they don't like the truth..


It is painful to be forced to confront the reality sometimes! I agree. That's most of the reason we don't like to record.

But I think there is also something about learning to hear. I use the recorder partly to try to calibrate my ear and improve listening.

Last night I was recording parts of a practice session, playing a short phrase, listening, repeating. You nailed it about technology, by the way. I have an H2 plugged into a laptop running Audacity, the output goes into a stereo amplifier and good speakers. I can replay instantly from any point. In the old days with a reel to reel? Even a phone is better. It might not catch nuances of tone but it is accurate on pitch and rhythm.

There was a slurred section that sounded smooth and connected to my ear and sloppy/smeary to the recording. The recording does not lie, but the ear has not always yet been trained to catch things. Repeating the section improves the execution, but hopefully also the connection to the ear. Some people already have that connection, I have to work at it.

Tim, in all the years I recorded myself, or was recorded (at my request), never once did the results match what I expected even close to 100%.

Brass players, like singers, hear themselves with a completely different sound from what everyone else hears. It's a bit like recording your voice. After awhile you realize that what you really sound like is not what you hear in a recording. You may eventually come to like the real sound of your voice, but it will never sound like what vibrates through your head to your ears. And the same thing happens when we play brass, the frankly I think usually the recorded sound is better, unlike a speaking voice.

So recording is an amazing learning tool, and we need to realize that before recording no one knew what that difference is. The greatest singers in the world did not know what other people heard. Or brass players.

And, by the way, this is why "vocal masturbation" is a term you will hear in voice studios. It means that you feel an amazing resonance in your own body as you sing, but it does not have much to do with how your sound is projected, and projection is about 90% of the game for great singers.

Now, think about the piano. The greatest pianists in the world never knew for sure what their audiences heard. They only knew what they heard, as they heard other players on stage, as they were listening many feet away.

If you are sitting on stage, playing a 9 foot grand, you hear everything "up close and personal". That doesn't tell you what someone out in the audience is hearing. You don't hear the hall acoustics, the bounce, the reverb. And without recordings, you are forced to trust feedback about what is actually getting out there.

But today's pianists, because they all record, know what the microphones pick up, and even in studio recordings there is a process that tried to duplicate the spaciousness of a hall.

Old masters were aware of all this on some level, again, because they heard it happen to others, but they always had to guess exactly what their playing really sounded like, many feet away. Today a player records, listens to the recording, and is continually flipping back and forth between what he hears, sitting at the piano, and what everyone else hears, which is all that really matters. And he can decide if he wants to heard as if the listener is sitting next to him, or 20 feet away.

Recording is horrible at first, because it never sounds like what you think it will sound like. It's the feeling of something almost random that is vexing. But over time what you hear on playback is just different. Often it is worse. Pitch is worse. Things are muddy that you think are clean.

But other things can be way better.

It's just different.

Students need to learn this, then become comfortable with it.

I had to save money to buy a real to real tape recorder. Recording was hard. Today anyone with a tablet can start doing it.

Last edited by Gary D.; 02/15/18 04:38 AM.

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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714498
02/15/18 10:12 AM
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Just as a note we use Music Memos on the iPhone to record my son. It's a free app and it's super easy for those that literally just want to record.


Yamaha G2
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2714561
02/15/18 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

I think you may have missed something grin

Sorry to be dense. What did I miss?

The new years eve smile

Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

But seriously, now that I know how much work it requires to make yourself sound even decent, maybe for some adults daydreaming with the piano on their own is indeed the better option...

There are different degrees of daydreaming. But don't get used to doing it if you want to play in front of other people and care about the result.

I wouldn't...

Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by outo

Interestingly both of my friends described above can read notation even if not playing "correctly" and have learned that on their piano lessons. So were the lessons a waste of time for them?

You'd have to ask them.

Would you be content to play like them? Do you like what they are accomplishing?

Are they happy now? Will they be happy 5 years from now? Ten?


I would not be happy to play like that. But my other friend has taken lessons even longer than me (so few more than 5 years) and still seems to be quite happy to go on the same way.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: outo] #2714765
02/16/18 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by outo

I would not be happy to play like that. But my other friend has taken lessons even longer than me (so few more than 5 years) and still seems to be quite happy to go on the same way.


I have a relative who has probably taken lessons about 8 years now, somewhere in that neighborhood, from a music store. Judging from what I see on his piano when I visit, he is still in beginner books but is much further along, there are lots more notes than there used to be.

He can play much harder pieces than formerly. But. I have yet to hear him play anything fluently, even the simplest.


gotta go practice
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: TimR] #2714793
02/16/18 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by TimR
... I have a relative who has probably taken lessons about 8 years now ... Judging from what I see on his piano ... He can play much harder pieces than formerly. But. I have yet to hear him play anything fluently, even the simplest.

When I decided to re-start piano, this is what I noticed when I visited several teachers and schools. There's a trap where many people take years of piano lessons and end up as a 'very good student'. They can play the crap out of advanced pieces, but somewhere along the line someone forgot to show them how to be a 'musician'.

Sometimes it is the teacher's fault, but many times it's also the fault of the student or the parents. They settle for the easier path of just reading and memorizing the notes rather than do the harder work to develop proper musicianship skills.


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Groove On] #2714816
02/16/18 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Groove On
Sometimes it is the teacher's fault, but many times it's also the fault of the student or the parents. They settle for the easier path of just reading and memorizing the notes rather than do the harder work to develop proper musicianship skills.


How do you develop musicianship skills? What is the anatomy of these musicianship skills, their components? If a teacher is giving them and the student is ignoring the guidance, then it is a student problem. But supposing a teacher says "Play with more feeling." - can one do anything with that?

I already have an idea of some of the elements that would be involved. But before I write anything, I'd be interested in how you and others see this. smile If your teacher has been giving you musicianship skills, are you able to pinpoint some of them, or get close to how it is being done?

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2714873
02/16/18 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Groove On
Sometimes it is the teacher's fault, but many times it's also the fault of the student or the parents. They settle for the easier path of just reading and memorizing the notes rather than do the harder work to develop proper musicianship skills.


How do you develop musicianship skills? What is the anatomy of these musicianship skills, their components? If a teacher is giving them and the student is ignoring the guidance, then it is a student problem. But supposing a teacher says "Play with more feeling." - can one do anything with that?

I already have an idea of some of the elements that would be involved. But before I write anything, I'd be interested in how you and others see this. smile If your teacher has been giving you musicianship skills, are you able to pinpoint some of them, or get close to how it is being done?

My teacher certainly tries to give me musicianship skills. smile Some of the actual mechanics include articulation to bring out (for example) the melody. Another skill would be playing into the keys and lifting to bring out dynamics and articulation. Another is awareness of the 'shape' of the piece, of (for example) sequences or an ascending or descending bass line and how those things might dictate articulation and/or dynamics. These are just a few examples.

I understand these things on an intellectual level, but can't always--yet--pull them off physically.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714894
02/16/18 05:55 PM
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Musicianship on the piano can only develop with a combination of sufficient technical skills and a lot of listening - dedicated listening to great music, and I don't just mean piano music.

For instance, Chopin exhorted his pupils to listen to a lot of bel canto opera by the likes of Bellini and Donizetti. Why? Because his melodies are deep-rooted in bel canto:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rg4L5tcxFcA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb4VY8gYZt4

How can anyone understand Mozart without knowing his operas?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U37SB4i54JU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIW_2VObIsA

Without the technical means (e.g. finger independence to project the melody and voice the underlying chords, articulate and phrase etc), one cannot realize one's musical skills; without musical skills, the pianist will just rattle off the notes uncomprehendingly and unfeelingly and think he's doing a good job because all the notes are correct and in the right order. Or he might just imitate his teacher blindly and play like a clone because he doesn't know anything else.

I credit most of my musicianship to listening - initially to my first teacher playing for me in my home country (when she was my only regular source of classical music) and then to BBC Radio 3 when I moved to the UK, and heard a huge and diverse range of music for the first time with erudite commentaries from presenters, as well as educational programs like Antony Hopkins's Listening to Music. And all for free.......(and these days, there's even more stuff like these which can be accessed at any time: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09m8hp6).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714922
02/16/18 06:57 PM
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Thank you Stubbie and Bennevis. That is the point that I was trying to make.

A student can't just "make an effort" to develop musicianship or play more musically, and if he's not achieving it, he "hasn't tried hard enough". The teacher plays a role. If you are to bring out a voice, or you could make a passage expressive through a bit of rubato, then you also need to know how to physically bring out that voice, and now to manipulate timing without destroying pulse. Similarly, simply trying to "listen harder" without knowing what to listen for or to hear it, will probably not bring the student far.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2714976
02/17/18 02:06 AM
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Certainly for good musicianship limiting oneself to practice only on the piano is not enough. Many years of singing greatly has helped me on making music on the piano. And singing is still part of my process of learning pieces. At the same time one cannot rely on the general musical understanding only on the piano but must understand the instrument and how it behaves. That to me is technique in addition to developing the physical ability to move the right keys in the right time. Since the thread was about child vs adult, to start on the piano in adulthood without any prior musical experiences must be something quite different. How do piano teachers handle that with maybe an hour a week with the student is a very good question.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Gary D.] #2717117
02/25/18 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Andamento
Quote
This leads to over-memorization and muscle memory...


Gary, could you define what you mean by "over-memorization"?

When students rely too much on memorization, thus taking too long to learn things and polish them.

This leads to a very small repertoire, and things have to be played endlessly to keep them up. The result is weak reading.

Interesting. Sounds like a risk at my current stage, actually... But how do people work who have a large repertoire and do not require sheet music?


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2717132
02/25/18 12:24 PM
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keystring and others: when we're talking about "loosing time", we're talking about "entering the flow" or "entering the zone", right?

Every now and then I have piano lessons like that. We sit down and start and I zone in and wake up when my teacher says "oh, time is up already". That's always amazing.


Kawai CN35. Daughter wanted a piano, so we got one. Now who'll learn faster? ;-)
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Hendrik42] #2717187
02/25/18 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
keystring and others: when we're talking about "loosing time", we're talking about "entering the flow" or "entering the zone", right?

Every now and then I have piano lessons like that. We sit down and start and I zone in and wake up when my teacher says "oh, time is up already". That's always amazing.

That's what I mean. Losing time = losing track of time.

I have to point out that getting lost in what you are doing, and enjoying it, will not lead to improvement if a student is doing something that seems fun at the moment but does not lead to anything happening.

But this is very unlikely to continue happening over any long period of time. If you are playing in a way that is not going to lead to progress, you won't enjoy it day after day, as you slowly realize you are fooling yourself.


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: Hendrik42] #2717188
02/25/18 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Hendrik42
Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Andamento
Quote
This leads to over-memorization and muscle memory...


Gary, could you define what you mean by "over-memorization"?

When students rely too much on memorization, thus taking too long to learn things and polish them.

This leads to a very small repertoire, and things have to be played endlessly to keep them up. The result is weak reading.

Interesting. Sounds like a risk at my current stage, actually... But how do people work who have a large repertoire and do not require sheet music?

You are talking about people who primarily work things out by ear, right?

I talk constantly about reading music because a lack of reading ability means that you can't play anything that is written, that you have not heard.

That's not a good thing.

But there is a flip side to this. If you can only play what you read, how will you ever learn to play something that does not exist in written form?

That requires a totally different set of skills.

Since I work things out that are not written down anywhere, there are two ways to get these things. One is to write them down, as you work them out. They other is to make a map of the chord structure and important musical points, improvise with this, get it in the mind and fingers, then go with the results. In this case there is no score.

If you learn many things this way, how do you fix them if they go off track?

Answer: you have to listen again, to review. You use the ear instead of reading skills.

When traditional players have things go off the rails a little bit, they are unlikely to use ONLY the ear to try to get them back because it is too easy for things to morph a bit, and notes get changed.

When you are playing in an improvisatory manner, you don't have to get the notes "right", because there is no "right". So if things morph a bit, and you like the sound, you go with the new thing, which replaces the old.

This won't work in a Beethoven sonata.


Piano Teacher
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2750152
07/08/18 02:33 AM
07/08/18 02:33 AM
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Quebec city, QC
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Ah! The subject I was initially looking for when I came on that subforum! (and lost myself reading a lot of other stuff). This question intesrests me a lot!

In fact, before I react to the posts in the following 6 pages, I have another questions to teachers : what is your ratio children / adults in your students? I always felt like adults are a minority, but I'm not sure if it is true. Do you like this ratio or would like more children or adults?



Originally Posted by bennevis
But I have some idea about adult beginners from my friend who started lessons when he retired at 60. He looked for a teacher who specialized in teaching adults, and found one through his piano dealer (from whom he initially bought a digital, then rapidly traded up to a.....Steinway upright).

I never met his teacher, but from what my friend told me about his first lesson, I gathered that his teacher wasn't quite prepared for the kind of student my friend was. He was going to start teaching him the way he taught his other adult beginners - not with baby steps, but going straight into 'adult stuff'. My friend was rather unusual in that though he really was a complete beginner, he knew a lot about classical music (more than his teacher, who was half his age), having attended concerts all his life, and he has a huge CD collection - and he reads all the CD booklets as well as all the program notes on the concerts he attended, and thus learnt a lot that way. Therefore, he immediately knew what his teacher was trying to do, but he didn't want that kind of expediency just to get some nice tunes to play straightaway. He wanted to learn everything properly, and told his teacher so, and despite obvious misgivings, his teacher obliged and switched to a children's beginner primer (in fact, the same one my first teacher used with me), and followed the ABRSM syllabus - exactly the way he'd teach his child students. From his description of his early lessons, it seems they were very similar to the way I was taught as a ten-year-old beginner.

The big difference is that, of course, his teacher was able to converse and discuss complex stuff in detail with him from the beginning, because he was familiar with musical terminology (though not necessarily understanding how they are used in piano playing). In terms of musical goals, all he told his teacher was that he'd like to be able to play Chopin nocturnes eventually, leaving it entirely to his teacher to choose the method and the pieces that would get him there. From what I've read in ABF, that is very rare among adult students - to have an achievable long-term goal without pushing their own agenda on what they want to learn along the way, or how long it took.

Just about the only thing he didn't do which his teacher's child students all do is take piano exams - he did consider it but decided it would be too stressful at his age.

Needless to say, he became his teacher's favorite student, compliant with everything his teacher wanted to teach him and practicing at least an hour a day (he was retired, after all) from day 1. Several years on, he's now practicing some three hours a day - and generally choosing what he wants to learn (Chopin nocturnes, waltzes, mazurkas, plus a smattering of other composers' works). He's got all the skills - technical, musical and theoretical. He can sight-read well, and also sight-sing too (he joined his local choir, just as I did as a student). He and his teacher are good friends and he's having hour-long lessons weekly. Apparently, he's the only one of his teacher's students (child or adult) who doesn't take two months off in the summer.

However - I do think that he's not the typical adult student that teachers will encounter (wanting to learn everything required to play 'classical' pieces well, and not pushing any agenda or setting unrealistic goals, and practicing daily). I have no idea of what his teacher's other adult students are like, in comparison to the child students, or whether he does prefer teaching adults to kids.

I believe that the consensus in this forum is that adult students in general aren't highly regarded...


I recognize myself a lot in your friend (well, except the fact that I had musical background when I started the piano and that I didn't have much culture regarding classical music). Maybe I wasn't as decided from the beginning though.

When I've started piano lessons, I didn't have any expectations. I didn't know if I would like it. I bought a used entry level DP (Casio CDP 130) and looked for a teacher. We were in february. This a was a weird time of the year to start lessons. But I found a conservatory student who was giving lessons nearby. We exanged some emails. I told him I knew the basics : how to read treble clef and where are the notes on the piano.
We started rapidly, with 30-minutes lessons, since I felt like more would be a waste as first (I could understand a mistake, but not be able to fix it without some practice).
Since I knew so little about classical music, I relied on my teacher to bring me pieces. Often, he'd asked me if I knew it and I would say no. To Chopin's prelude no 4, to Mozart K545, to Bach first prelude (WTC, book 1), ...
But starting to play piano give me the willingness to listen to piano music. And I've discovered everything. Moonlight sonata was a revelation! This is the first (and only) piece I brought to my teacher to learn in the 18 months he's been teaching me.

Since I knew nothing (Jon Snow), I trusted my teacher to bring me adequate level pieces (which he didn't, but this is another story crazy ) and telling me everything I should know about technique and stuff like that. The only other things I asked concerning repertoire were, at one point, to have a more "dynamic" piece (I was working on Bach's prelude in C major, Chopin's waltz in A minor and Beethoven's Moonlight sonata 1st mov) - that's when he came to me with K545 1st movement (6 months of piano playing...) and a "dramatic" piece - that when he came to me with Rachmaninoff prelude in C# minor (9 months of piano playing...).

When he left the city and refer me to one of his colleague / friend (they finished their conservatory the same year. My former teacher moved to Montreal to study jazz; my current teacher started his master degree at the conservatory), I had already made up my mind that I wanted to take exams because I wanted an external input on my playing and wanted some more "purpose" to my practice.
So, at my first lesson, I told him I had that project. Since, unlike RCM, repertoire lists for the École préparatoire Anna-Marie Globensky (AMG) are not available for free (and that I didn't either want to ask my teacher to pay for it - of course - nor pay for it myself), I went to the University library the month before to take pictures of the repertoire lists. I did want to make it the less time consuming for my teacher, so I had preselected pieces for all lists (etude, baroque, classical, romantic, modern), but told him I was perfectly fine with him selecting something else. And in fact, it is what happened. From all my selection, we only kept the K545 2nd movement.

Now that I'm planning to continue on exams, I plan to do the same : preselecting stuff, but letting the veto to my teacher. The only "agenda" I'm pushing is the exams... and I might mention that I'd really like to play X or Y piece. For now, he agreed on those. (Last month, I showed him two pieces I'm thinking of learning for level 8 and he asked me something like "you want to learn this?". His tone was implying it would be hard. My answer was "Yes!" with sparkles in my eyes and a big smile. So he just said "ok".).
Now that I've listen to a lot a piano classical music, I have a big list a pieces I want to play, but the "exam agenda" is a way of knowing at which point it will become - probably - possible. And for the pieces not in the repertoire lists, they are probably too difficult, so I have to consider that I'll probably learn them in more than 5 years (that seems right for Chopin's ballades and stuff like that. grin )


I'm always surprised that teaching to adults seems, like you say, not highly regarded. But I think it is because I have a bias : on forum such as this one, we almost only see the most motivated adult learners. But I guess teachers see all sorts of adult beginners and most are not the kind we see in here.
My first teacher told me on some occasions (3-4 times in 18 months) how wonderful it was to teach me since I'm so dedicated and talented. I must say that I take some pride in it. But if he felt like saying me that, it is because I'm out of the norm. If all adults learners were dedicated, probably that teachers would love teaching them.


Originally Posted by AZNpiano
The danger of teaching adults is that we tend to chitchat way, way off topic. All of my adult students are extremely intelligent, but also very chatty. I have to monitor the clock very carefully with them to manage progress.

Sometimes I feel like I'm doubling as their psychologist, or at least a confidant. A receptacle for toxic gossip.

A hobby is not necessarily a waste of time. I do see that adults progress slower than the average kids, but that's because adults have so little time to practice!


Ah! There is a similar discussion on a French piano forum I follow. It is about how friendly or not we (as students) should be with our piano teachers. And the general consensus is "not too much", because it interferes with teaching. I think it is important to keep a professional distance, but it easier said than done if a student comes to you talking about his personal issues...



Originally Posted by pianopi
It definitely works wonders for those two measures.

[...]
Play something really thoroughly every time you pass the piano. It all adds up. It's like collecting skills (like collecting stamps), every little tiny addition helps.


I've started to experienced that recently. I've finally bought my acoustic piano recently. Before that, I hated practicing at home, on my digital (I was - still am, in fact - lucky enough to have access to the local conservatory as long as my teacher will be a student there. So I went to the conservatory every week evenings to practice). So since I had to practice outside home, I only practiced in one sitting, of generally 2 to 3 hours. By the end, I wasn't as much focused, obviously.
Now that I have a decent piano at home, I practice more often for smaller periods of time (typicaly 15-45 minutes). I practice less, but I seem to be achieving more!


Originally Posted by pianopi
Doing the activity you are avoiding is the best way of getting over not being in the mood for it.


Totally agree on that!
It happened to me often that I wasn't in the mood, but forced myself to go to the piano anyway. Sometimes, I quitted after 10 minutes, because I was clearly not in the mood and nothing good was coming from it, but most of the time, I realised, surprised, that 90 minutes has passed by without me noticing!

As we say in French, «l'appétit vient en mangeant».


Originally Posted by dogperson
I met an adult pianist, beginning student, that told me she was not really progressing with her teacher and was discouraged, then admitted she did not practice! If we as students do not uphold our end........


I recently had some small talk via email with my second teacher (the one I see specifically for sight read, sight sing, theory, ... since I never find time to see those with my main teacher in our 1h lessons) and he told me about having some students that :
- didn't know they need a piano at home
- where trying to prove him they were able to play some part of the piece saying "but I've done it once this week!"

Some don't understand what is practice and how fundamental it is to proficiency. And I don't get how you could not get this...


Originally Posted by ClsscLib
though I feel I never practice enough (nor as much as I'd like)/quote]

Oh, that reminds me of a discussion I had with my current teacher after maybe 2 months of lessons with him. At the beginning of a lesson, I said something about being disappointed because I was practicing less than usual in the previous weeks. He responded that I seemed to have high expectations regarding practice time. So I told him that, well, I had the habit of practicing 2 hours/day, 5 days/week, minimum. He didn't add up to that.
A few weeks/months later, I did apologize to him for not having practicing enough in the previous week and he answered snarkily "oh, so you didn't practice 8-hour a day, as usual?". I did look at him back with a smile and a sigh, telling him to belive me with what I was saying (that particular week, I had practiced 2x 1h30).


Originally Posted by keystring
What typically happens in this instant is that an adult is rushed ahead without being given enough of the basics, especially the physical basics, because the teacher is fooled by the intellectual knowledge and ability to conceptualize, or belief that adults want to just have fun. Another thing that can happen is when an adult has already mastered another instrument so that things are rushed forward, without the understanding that the physical skills won't be there. For example, the breath control and ear of a trumpeter does not give any physical skills for moving the hands and body in piano. However, the gradual careful training the trumpeter has gone through will make him ready to work the same way for piano.


Been there. But my teacher was in no meens specialised in adults. Just an inexperienced teacher.


Originally Posted by keystring
In short, I don't know what the purpose is of telling about the lazy students so often.


I see at least one purpose : if a good student is doubting about himself, knowing that teachers encounter a lot of lazy students, that could reassure him that his efforts are appreciated by his teacher, no matter how insufficient it seems to himself. Maybe that could make him stop worrying about why his teacher like teaching him.
I find it very helpful to understand better why we hear sometimes that teaching to adults is not as interesting as teaching children (even though the practice problem comes up in both case).


Originally Posted by hello my name is
I'd say half of my adult students practiced and half did not. I think as teachers we ought to do a better job at explaining where practicing fits into the scheme of things, because in other areas or hobbies in life, you don't really need to "practice". Therefore, the concept of "practice" can be kind of foreign. I dropped in at an adult ballet lesson twice, nobody told me I needed to practice. It was kind of assumed that if you kept showing up, you'd improve. Same with yoga. In sports, practice was slotted out for you. We "went" to practice. Growing up, nothing demanded self-discipline like piano did. And yet I didn't have full faith that my practice really did much for me. As students it can be really hard to tell. Your ear for details isn't as developed as your teacher's.


I partly disagree. I took swing dances lessons a few years ago. And if I didn't manage to practice at least once between lessons, I would forget almost everything and not progress. And practicing was more complicated, because I'd have to find a partner to do so. In higher levels, idealy a partner that took the same lesson as me, to practice the specific moves we cover in the lesson.

But it is true that for sports in general, no practice is required outside of the lessons themselves. I did judo for 2 years and never went to the dojo outside lessons. And still managed a green belt.


Originally Posted by Gary D.
And this:
[quote=hello my name is] Growing up, nothing demanded self-discipline like piano did.

Piano did not require any self-discipline for me. I needed that for mowing lawns, doing my homework, washing the dishes, taking out the trash.

I don't need self-discipline for things I enjoy. I didn't when I was 10, 30, 50, and I don't need it now.

I don't think my best students need any more self-discipline than I did, and even some of the better students.


For child, I have the feeling that for 99% of them, playing music will required discipline, even if they enjoy it.
It was this way for me. In fact, I would have need discipline. I didn't have any and my parents weren't enforcing anything regarding practice, so I simply didn't practice, or so little. So, after 2 years of lessons, they stopped, feeling they were paying for nothing.
But I did like playing music! But as a 8-year old child, there were many things I did enjoy, like playing outside with friends, drawing, playing video games, board games, swimming, cycling, ... So I would only take time to practice every now and then, not every week. But I still did it at times, and my parents weren't asking for a thing, so, imo, that is a proof I liked it.
Anyway, a few years later, I was missing music and asked to get lessons again, and I became more and more dedicated (at first, I practiced like 2x 30 minutes/week; then, 4 years later, 3h/day!).
(I played clarinet at the time).



Originally Posted by Gary D.
So the love for learning to play piano is not tied to wanting to be someone but the process itself. I think this is important for both yoing and old people, but us old ones just do not have the option of our parents forcing us through the downs that occasionally come. A teacher and regular lessons can help with this but in the end we just must find the will inside again and again.


I think that having lessons on a regular basis help keeping a steady practice routine. This is one of the reason I wanted to take lessons from the start : I knew I would have an incentive to practice because I'd have to show something to my teacher the next week.

Sometimes, I want to cancel some lessons because I didn't have enough practice time in a given week, but I noticed that when I do that, I tend to practice less the following week from not having my lesson. So now, I try to never cancel a lesson. If I haven't practiced, or not enough, I tell my teacher, sometimes in advance via email, and suggest we work on something else (technique, sight reading, sight singing, theory, ...).

But I must say that with my current teacher, this is rarely a problem. Since we never look at more than 1-2 piece a week and that I'm practicing 4-5 at a time, I can go by with not practicing for 3 weeks without it impacting my lessons, since I have pieces we haven't checked yet since the last time I've practiced them. And it never happens that I have more than 2 weeks in a row of low practice.


Originally Posted by Gary D.
These are all skills, basics. If you do not have them, you will not play well, and sooner or later not playing well will lead to frustration, which leads to quitting.


I relate so much to this! I think that if I hadn't changed teacher, I would have hit that wall at some point. I hope though that I wouldn't have quit, but tried to find a solution.



Phew! Enough for tonight!


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- Beethoven, sonata op. 49, no. 1, 1st mov
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2750306
07/08/18 11:20 PM
07/08/18 11:20 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,302
Scottsdale, AZ
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FarmGirl Offline

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Difference between adult students and children.

Well I never thought I'd leave my new teacher but I could not stand h any more. Not because of his teaching. Well that too. He did not tell me anything but always said that I'm making progress. But the issue wasn't it. He is about in mid 50's or so and deeply in love with his wife who is about his age, which is very good. The thing is, what should I say, his wife comes around kiss him during my lesson. Actually when I interviewed him, his wife was with him. I'm glad they are in love but it was difficult for me to concentrate on my lessons. I bet it won't bother kids.


1) Bach c minor fantasy
2) Morzart Rondo in A minor, K511
3) Schubert Impromptu A flat D935 No2
4) Scriabin op11 prelude #2 and #14 (Re do #2, new #14)
5) kabalevsky Variations in A minor OP 40-2
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: FarmGirl] #2750359
07/09/18 09:02 AM
07/09/18 09:02 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,801
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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Ew. Kids might find the huggy kissy wife even more objectionable.


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

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2750416
07/09/18 12:07 PM
07/09/18 12:07 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,129
Canada
keystring Offline
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Unfortunately some teachers do not take adult students seriously and behave less professionally with them all round. I wouldn't be surprised if this behaviour did not happen with child students. Forget about the kissing for a moment: you have a family member walking in on a lesson when it's not essential, in this case to give her hubby a smooch. Why was anyone walking in on the lesson?

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: keystring] #2750442
07/09/18 01:47 PM
07/09/18 01:47 PM
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Originally Posted by keystring
Why was anyone walking in on the lesson?


Not all of us have the perfect set up.

It is way less distracting for them to walk through and be seen then to climb over the fence and come in the back way (plus some of my female students love to see my boys come home from work and will play their very best LOL LOL LOL).

At least I can see an end to my distractions. I'm reclaiming the downstairs front room when #1 goes to college. I've already picked out my paint color and made my plans.


Private Piano Instructor M.M.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: NMKeys] #2750453
07/09/18 02:46 PM
07/09/18 02:46 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,129
Canada
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by NMKeys
Originally Posted by keystring
Why was anyone walking in on the lesson?


Not all of us have the perfect set up.

It is way less distracting for them to walk through and be seen then to climb over the fence and come in the back way (plus some of my female students love to see my boys come home from work and will play their very best LOL LOL LOL).

At least I can see an end to my distractions. I'm reclaiming the downstairs front room when #1 goes to college. I've already picked out my paint color and made my plans.

If there is a setup in the teacher's home where family members do have to pass by, that can be done unobtrusively. A spouse coming by to have a smooch with her husband who is teaching, this is unnecessary and disrespectful to the student. We don't know whether she had to pass by because of the setup, or if she came into a room that was set apart as a studio.

Last edited by keystring; 07/09/18 02:47 PM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2751064
07/12/18 06:09 PM
07/12/18 06:09 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 257
Quebec city, QC
CadenzaVvi Offline
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I don't know if it is because the question is not interesting or because it was lost in my post (I tried to put it at the beginning to avoid that, but it might have not worked), so I simply want to highlight it, in case someone is interested at providing an answer (if not, so be it. I'll be sure the reason I don't have answer is not because people didn't see it).

What is your ratio children / adults in your students? I always felt like adults are a minority, but I'm not sure if it is true. Do you like this ratio or would like more children or adults? Do you prefer to teach children or adults? Why?

Thanks. smile


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- Beethoven, sonata op. 49, no. 1, 1st mov
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: CadenzaVvi] #2751094
07/12/18 08:20 PM
07/12/18 08:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 188
USA
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Andamento Offline
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Originally Posted by Jouishy
I don't know if it is because the question is not interesting or because it was lost in my post (I tried to put it at the beginning to avoid that, but it might have not worked), so I simply want to highlight it, in case someone is interested at providing an answer (if not, so be it. I'll be sure the reason I don't have answer is not because people didn't see it).

What is your ratio children / adults in your students? I always felt like adults are a minority, but I'm not sure if it is true. Do you like this ratio or would like more children or adults? Do you prefer to teach children or adults? Why?

Thanks. smile


Hi Jouishy,

Adults have definitely been a minority in my experience--not more than 5% of the students I've had. Although, there was a while where I narrowed my focus and only taught piano to children (no adults and no other instruments I'd taught in the past--violin, viola, voice, and organ)--because my family was growing larger, so I cut back on my teaching hours to work with those I felt I could teach best.

I only had one adult inquire during those years, though. Oops, edited to add, I had two adults ask, I remember now.

My favorite ages to teach now are high school and young adult, but at the moment, I don't have any beyond high school age. I wish I did. Three of my own children have reached adulthood now, so I feel I can relate better, as a teacher, to that age group than when I was barely older than a 20-something myself.

Last edited by Andamento; 07/12/18 08:26 PM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: CadenzaVvi] #2751127
07/12/18 11:49 PM
07/12/18 11:49 PM
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Posts: 7,706
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Orange County, CA
Originally Posted by Jouishy
What is your ratio children / adults in your students? I always felt like adults are a minority, but I'm not sure if it is true. Do you like this ratio or would like more children or adults? Do you prefer to teach children or adults? Why?

At one point I had taught exclusively children under 17. The adults I'm teaching right now barely make a dent in my schedule, since I barely see any of them. They flake out, make excuses, and/or want lessons every other week.

For the sake of financial stability, I'm much better off teaching children, especially children of responsible parents.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: AZNpiano] #2751176
07/13/18 07:59 AM
07/13/18 07:59 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,622
Florida
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
[quote=Jouishy] What is your ratio children / adults in your students? I always felt like adults are a minority, but I'm not sure if it is true. Do you like this ratio or would like more children or adults? Do you prefer to teach children or adults? Why?


You might consider posting this on the ABF. Members there may not be able to answer which population their teachers prefer, but they can probably tell you the approximate percentage of adult students in the studio


"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
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