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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2750152
07/08/18 01:33 AM
07/08/18 01:33 AM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 313
Quebec city, QC
CadenzaVvi Offline
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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
- (Classical piece TBD)
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2750306
07/08/18 10:20 PM
07/08/18 10:20 PM
Joined: Sep 2010
Posts: 2,303
Scottsdale, AZ
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FarmGirl Offline

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Joined: Sep 2010
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Scottsdale, AZ
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 08:02 AM
07/09/18 08:02 AM
Joined: Apr 2009
Posts: 4,987
*sigh* Salt Lake City
malkin Offline
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*sigh* Salt Lake City
Ew. Kids might find the huggy kissy wife even more objectionable.


Enough is as good as a feast.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2750416
07/09/18 11:07 AM
07/09/18 11:07 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,436
Canada
keystring Offline
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Canada
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 12:47 PM
07/09/18 12:47 PM
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 106
NM
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NMKeys Offline
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NM
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 01:46 PM
07/09/18 01:46 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 16,436
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 01:47 PM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2751064
07/12/18 05:09 PM
07/12/18 05:09 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 313
Quebec city, QC
CadenzaVvi Offline
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Quebec city, QC
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
- (Classical piece TBD)
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: CadenzaVvi] #2751094
07/12/18 07:20 PM
07/12/18 07:20 PM
Joined: Dec 2017
Posts: 249
USA
A
Andamento Offline
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USA
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 07:26 PM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: CadenzaVvi] #2751127
07/12/18 10:49 PM
07/12/18 10:49 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 7,904
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 06:59 AM
07/13/18 06:59 AM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,795
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
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: CadenzaVvi] #2751179
07/13/18 07:11 AM
07/13/18 07:11 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 178
Texas
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Texas
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?

Thanks. smile


After seeing your question, I did the math and found that my studio is 40% adults, 60% children. I personally like this ratio pretty well; even 50/50 would be great for me. The ratio has varied in the past. When I first started teaching, my students were all adults. (That was before I went to college - they were all older than I!) I started teaching again while I was in grad school; my first student was a child and all the rest were adults. After Piling it Higher and Deeper and moving to Texas, I started teaching more seriously. My studio was initially all adults, and children started filtering in over time.

I enjoy teaching both adults and children. Broadly speaking, teaching adults vs. children pose different challenges and result in different rewards.

Teaching children can be better from a financial perspective, as they tend to be more reliable, longer-term students. Teaching them theory can be a bit of a challenge, especially since they are still learning to think abstractly and analytically. Nerves/anxiety during lessons can be a real problem. Sometimes I have to play the buffoon to get them to relax - I don't mind sacrificing my dignity on occasion if it helps them do better at piano. Many of my preteen/teen students are fans of Japanese animation, so I have a shared interest with them. (I admit it, I'm a bit of an otaku.)

I've had some very flaky adult students in the past. But a committed, intelligent, highly educated adult student with plenty of time to practice - there's nothing like it. All but one of my current adult students are engineers, and the only non-engineer is a technician. They tend to grasp the technical aspects very quickly, and sometimes we geek out with the music theory! They also have more life experiences and a generally higher level of emotional maturity, so they tend to pick up the artistic aspects more quickly than children as well.

I hope this answers your question.

Disclaimer: All of the above represents my personal experience only, and I do not wish to imply any generalizations. As always, YMMV.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2751189
07/13/18 08:23 AM
07/13/18 08:23 AM
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Midlife_Piano Offline
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In recent years I have worked with two piano teachers:

Teacher #1: when I started taking lessons from him, 1/4 - 1/3 of his students were adults; the rests were kids. Then he had to take a year off from teaching due to personal reasons. After he resumed teaching, ALL his students are now adults. He told me if he could choose freely, he would only teach adults now.

Teacher #2 aka my current teacher: when I switched to her because teacher #1 was away, she told me she has not taught adults for a long time. Most of her students are children from K to high school. She also has college students in a state university. Now she has 2 adult students including myself (and 13-15 young students). It's worth mentioning that many of her young students take lessons from K all the way to high school graduation before going away for college (not major in music). These students are all very advanced that they can play Beethoven Sonatas or Chopin Scherzo from memory. Also, not to reinforce the stereotype, almost all of these students are Asians.

Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2751291
07/13/18 05:27 PM
07/13/18 05:27 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 313
Quebec city, QC
CadenzaVvi Offline
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CadenzaVvi  Offline
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Very interesting answers. That gives me more insight about that part of being a teacher.

I've heard contradictory opinions about teacher adults. Some consider it to be a waste of time (because they consider adults to be too old to learn or because it will always be only a hobby), some consider it more difficult because the relation is not the same (I can understand that. For my part, it would be the contary : I never know how to interact with kids. As a learner, I'm the kind that needs to understand why you ask me to do something one way instead of another. Otherwise, I might not put the efforts to do it the way your telling me to. It comes with the advantage that if I understand the reasons, I'll be dedicated to do it!). I haven't heard much people saying they prefer adults, which always seemed strange to me.
And I feel like the fact that adults are slower learners is false. Less cereral plasticity seemed to be countered with faster understanding of the concepts and more efficient practice. I feel like I would have never progressed as fast as I do now when I was a kid.

I get the financial aspect. I guess it can be delt with semester-based paiement. But there is no need for that if you can have enough children to teach too and it is what you prefer. smile
There is no wrong answer to my question. I understand people have different preferences. I'm curious on the reasons for it. And about how many adults there are out there wanting to learn music!


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- (Classical piece TBD)
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2752167
07/17/18 01:57 PM
07/17/18 01:57 PM
Joined: Feb 2018
Posts: 45
Central PA
S
spartan928 Offline
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I started lessons in March of this year. My teacher is very good and I'm glad he took me on. He has about 20 students, two are adults (myself and one other). I would say nearly half the children are Asian, most of which seem to be siblings. I live in a typical, small, rural, mid-western town with little to no music culture promoted to speak of other than the occasional classic rock cover band in the local dive bar. Therefore, I'm not surprised at the ratios. He teaches students most motivated to learn and pay $$ and not many adults in my region have much interest in something like piano lessons. Also, my teacher finds that his Asian families value music as a cultural benefit for their children, whereas the prevailing extracurricular activity among the locals here for children is travel sports.

Last edited by spartan928; 07/17/18 01:59 PM.
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: 8 Octaves] #2752194
07/17/18 03:45 PM
07/17/18 03:45 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,795
Florida
dogperson Offline
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Jouishy
Personally, I have not seen teachers express the idea of not wanting to teach adults because they are too old to learn or because it will always be a hobby.

The very valid reasons I’ve seen is the lack of commitment of adults, that they quit when they realize it is a lot of work and the cancellation of lessons without paying. My teacher will take adult beginning students but finds many are ‘starters’ but not ‘stayers’. She loves her adult students that hang in there. In her words, ‘we make her think’


"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: CadenzaVvi] #2752215
07/17/18 05:06 PM
07/17/18 05:06 PM
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bennevis Offline
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Originally Posted by Jouishy

I've heard contradictory opinions about teacher adults. Some consider it to be a waste of time (because they consider adults to be too old to learn or because it will always be only a hobby), some consider it more difficult because the relation is not the same (I can understand that. For my part, it would be the contary : I never know how to interact with kids. As a learner, I'm the kind that needs to understand why you ask me to do something one way instead of another. Otherwise, I might not put the efforts to do it the way your telling me to. It comes with the advantage that if I understand the reasons, I'll be dedicated to do it!). I haven't heard much people saying they prefer adults, which always seemed strange to me.

There is no wrong answer to my question. I understand people have different preferences. I'm curious on the reasons for it. And about how many adults there are out there wanting to learn music!



I've had just one experience of being an adult learner on an unfamiliar musical instrument - which BTW was enjoyable for both me and my teacher, even if I say so myself wink - and afterwards, I gleaned some insights from my new cello teacher (for whom I was her first adult student).

She told me that other teachers had warned her about taking on any adult students - especially beginners - because of the following reasons, some (maybe all) of which have already been mentioned by others here:

1) Adults think they know more than they actually know - or even think they know better than their teacher. And contradict their teacher on musical matters (often referring to some 'expert' they saw on YT), raising their hackles.....
2) Adults talk too much - about inconsequential stuff (and therefore waste time) - or treat their lessons as therapy/counselling sessions, telling their teachers about personal problems which have nothing to do with music.
3) Adults keep asking unnecessary questions, instead of just doing what they are asked to do, and often the teacher has to think of convincing answers - or just say the first thing that comes into the teacher's mind, just so that she can get on with the lesson. (Like: "Why did Mozart write that passage this way, with that added flat?" Truthful answer: "Mozart is a genius and he likes it like that, that's the Mozartian style, so just play what he wrote, OK?" Instead, the teacher makes something up, like: "Well, he wants you to know that he knows how to use the blue note to heighten emotion, even before jazz was invented." grin)

She also told me that when I told her I already played the piano (when I rang to book that introductory lesson), her heart sank, because she thought I'd just use the opportunity to show off my knowledge about music during the lesson. She appeared visibly relieved when I said nothing about myself or my piano playing, but instead just took instructions and tried to follow them as best as I could, only asking a question if I wasn't sure I was doing what she wanted me to.

BTW, she was pretty frank with me because she knew I couldn't continue further lessons after that introductory one (because I was moving away with my job).


"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] #2752246
07/17/18 06:56 PM
07/17/18 06:56 PM
Joined: May 2018
Posts: 313
Quebec city, QC
CadenzaVvi Offline
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CadenzaVvi  Offline
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Posts: 313
Quebec city, QC
When you started that third point, I was going to say "guilty". But those are not the kind of questions I do ask. grin (more like "why is it better to do this trill with 1-3?" In fact, THE thing my teacher hasn't convinced me yet that I should stop doing is moving my head when I play. I like to kind of dance with the music when I play. But since he insists, I try to do it less, even though at home, I can complety but this aside to have some more fun blush )

I feel like the second point can be highly avoid by the attitude of the teacher (but I can be wrong). I sometime would feel to rapidly vent about a hard day, but I just don't feel like my teacher is into chitchat. Our greetings are always short (but perfectly warm and polite) and I'm, in fact, very happy about this. We jump right to it (and never have enough time to cover half of what I wish to cover in a lesson!).
Probably easier said than done though.

As for the first point, I get how annoying that can be! grin

Thanks for sharing this, Bennevis. smile


My piano journey from day 1
Started piano on February 2016.
Pieces I'm working on :
- Rameau, Les Sauvages
- (Classical piece TBD)
- Chopin, nocturne op. posth. in C# minor
- Debussy, Golliwog's cakewalk
- Pozzoli, E.R. 427, etude no. 6
Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: bennevis] #2752252
07/17/18 07:17 PM
07/17/18 07:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 1,646
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
1000 Post Club Member
NobleHouse  Offline
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Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 1,646
In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Jouishy

I've heard contradictory opinions about teacher adults. Some consider it to be a waste of time (because they consider adults to be too old to learn or because it will always be only a hobby), some consider it more difficult because the relation is not the same (I can understand that. For my part, it would be the contary : I never know how to interact with kids. As a learner, I'm the kind that needs to understand why you ask me to do something one way instead of another. Otherwise, I might not put the efforts to do it the way your telling me to. It comes with the advantage that if I understand the reasons, I'll be dedicated to do it!). I haven't heard much people saying they prefer adults, which always seemed strange to me.

There is no wrong answer to my question. I understand people have different preferences. I'm curious on the reasons for it. And about how many adults there are out there wanting to learn music!



I've had just one experience of being an adult learner on an unfamiliar musical instrument - which BTW was enjoyable for both me and my teacher, even if I say so myself wink - and afterwards, I gleaned some insights from my new cello teacher (for whom I was her first adult student).

She told me that other teachers had warned her about taking on any adult students - especially beginners - because of the following reasons, some (maybe all) of which have already been mentioned by others here:

1) Adults think they know more than they actually know - or even think they know better than their teacher. And contradict their teacher on musical matters (often referring to some 'expert' they saw on YT), raising their hackles.....
2) Adults talk too much - about inconsequential stuff (and therefore waste time) - or treat their lessons as therapy/counselling sessions, telling their teachers about personal problems which have nothing to do with music.
3) Adults keep asking unnecessary questions, instead of just doing what they are asked to do, and often the teacher has to think of convincing answers - or just say the first thing that comes into the teacher's mind, just so that she can get on with the lesson. (Like: "Why did Mozart write that passage this way, with that added flat?" Truthful answer: "Mozart is a genius and he likes it like that, that's the Mozartian style, so just play what he wrote, OK?" Instead, the teacher makes something up, like: "Well, he wants you to know that he knows how to use the blue note to heighten emotion, even before jazz was invented." grin)

She also told me that when I told her I already played the piano (when I rang to book that introductory lesson), her heart sank, because she thought I'd just use the opportunity to show off my knowledge about music during the lesson. She appeared visibly relieved when I said nothing about myself or my piano playing, but instead just took instructions and tried to follow them as best as I could, only asking a question if I wasn't sure I was doing what she wanted me to.

BTW, she was pretty frank with me because she knew I couldn't continue further lessons after that introductory one (because I was moving away with my job).








I can definitely see myself in #3! I seem to always want to know "Why".


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Re: Adult vs Child Students [Re: NobleHouse] #2752255
07/17/18 07:29 PM
07/17/18 07:29 PM
Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,795
Florida
dogperson Offline
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dogperson  Offline
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Joined: May 2015
Posts: 3,795
Florida
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Jouishy

I've heard contradictory opinions about teacher adults. Some consider it to be a waste of time (because they consider adults to be too old to learn or because it will always be only a hobby), some consider it more difficult because the relation is not the same (I can understand that. For my part, it would be the contary : I never know how to interact with kids. As a learner, I'm the kind that needs to understand why you ask me to do something one way instead of another. Otherwise, I might not put the efforts to do it the way your telling me to. It comes with the advantage that if I understand the reasons, I'll be dedicated to do it!). I haven't heard much people saying they prefer adults, which always seemed strange to me.

There is no wrong answer to my question. I understand people have different preferences. I'm curious on the reasons for it. And about how many adults there are out there wanting to learn music!


.......


her first adult student).
3) Adults keep asking unnecessary questions, instead of just doing what they are asked to do, and often the teacher has to think of convincing answers - or just say the first thing that comes into the teacher's mind, just so that she can get on with the lesson. (Like: "Why did Mozart write that passage this way, with that added flat?" Truthful answer: "Mozart is a genius and he likes it like that, that's the Mozartian style, so just play what he wrote, OK?" Instead, the teacher makes something up, like: "Well, he wants you to know that he knows how to use the blue note to heighten emotion, even before jazz was invented." grin)

........





I can definitely see myself in #3! I seem to always want to know "Why".


My experience is that WHY is not inappropriate as a question but it is the intent of the question that is what is important. For example, if the question is WHY but is not relevant, or WHY as a way of showing resistance, it will not be well-received. But it the question is to find out in what other situations,, or what other periods of music the instruction would apply, WHY questions are appreciated. Questions should be based on a desire 'tell me more about this topic'.


"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: dogperson] #2752257
07/17/18 07:31 PM
07/17/18 07:31 PM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 1,646
In the Ozarks of Missouri
NobleHouse Offline
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NobleHouse  Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 1,646
In the Ozarks of Missouri
Originally Posted by dogperson
Originally Posted by NobleHouse
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Jouishy

I've heard contradictory opinions about teacher adults. Some consider it to be a waste of time (because they consider adults to be too old to learn or because it will always be only a hobby), some consider it more difficult because the relation is not the same (I can understand that. For my part, it would be the contary : I never know how to interact with kids. As a learner, I'm the kind that needs to understand why you ask me to do something one way instead of another. Otherwise, I might not put the efforts to do it the way your telling me to. It comes with the advantage that if I understand the reasons, I'll be dedicated to do it!). I haven't heard much people saying they prefer adults, which always seemed strange to me.

There is no wrong answer to my question. I understand people have different preferences. I'm curious on the reasons for it. And about how many adults there are out there wanting to learn music!


.......


her first adult student).
3) Adults keep asking unnecessary questions, instead of just doing what they are asked to do, and often the teacher has to think of convincing answers - or just say the first thing that comes into the teacher's mind, just so that she can get on with the lesson. (Like: "Why did Mozart write that passage this way, with that added flat?" Truthful answer: "Mozart is a genius and he likes it like that, that's the Mozartian style, so just play what he wrote, OK?" Instead, the teacher makes something up, like: "Well, he wants you to know that he knows how to use the blue note to heighten emotion, even before jazz was invented." grin)

........





I can definitely see myself in #3! I seem to always want to know "Why".


My experience is that WHY is not inappropriate as a question but it is the intent of the question that is what is important. For example, if the question is WHY but is not relevant, or WHY as a way of showing resistance, it will not be well-received. But it the question is to find out in what other situations,, or what other periods of music the instruction would apply, WHY questions are appreciated. Questions should be based on a desire 'tell me more about this topic'.


Exactly, and I agree with you!


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