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Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Sam S

I'm not going to quote extensively from the book, but here are some disadvantages of the adult student that are discussed that may seem familiar:
- unrealistic expectations
- often inhibited
- fears failure
- quickly frustrated and loses self-confidence
- does not realize how complicated an act playing the piano is
- believes that the application of earnestness or energy will compensate for the discipline of practice

What I'd be interested in knowing is what solutions they come up with for this. I have my own thoughts, and I also am anticipating some things that I would not want to be there but probably are.


Buy the book - the authors are not just complaining about students, but teaching teachers how to teach.

And if someone calls themselves a piano teacher, but has never heard of this book, or some similar book, and never made an effort to learn about piano pedagogy, then I would be careful about hiring them to teach piano.

I don't get the last paragraph. I asked what types of solutions come for that list. What does that have to do with people calling themselves piano teachers? I am a student.

Again, I am interested in the possible solutions from this. I know what I want to see as a student. I also know what kinds of things have been applied toward me in the past. Most of it seemed to try to address feelings. I am interested whether this goes in the same direction or something different.

If I mention something that I have read or studied and am asked about it, usually I'll gladly answer questions. One cannot expect others to study what you have studied, or read a book that you have read. It just isn't realistic during a conversation.

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Originally Posted by Cheshire Chris
Etymologically, "pedagogy" always has specifically referred to children. The "ped" part of the word is from the Greek "paedos", "child", as in words like "pediatrics". The Greek word "paedagogia", from which we get the English "pedagogue", very specifically means "a child's tutor".

I am aware of that. However, when we study pedagogy, we study teaching, and it is not limited to children regardless of the roots of the word. I gave a summary of what I found on "androgogy" which sets up two things that it calls "pedagogy" vs. "androgogy", where in this case, the "pedagogy" is supposed to be teaching pertaining to children. Some of what was set out as "androgogy" was simply good teaching practice that pertains to all ages. Some of what was set out as "pedagogy" were elements of learning also needed by adults. And some of what was set out as "pedagogy" were actually practices that some people would prefer not to see for any age of student, but may be necessary for administrative or similar purposes.

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Originally Posted by Sam S
There is a good discussion in the book "The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher". I urge you to get that book if are interested in all topics related to teaching piano.


Sam, thank you for that book recommendation. I have acquired a copy and look forward to perusing it. I had pedagogy training from a former teacher (and still swap tricks and techniques with some local colleagues) but I never took pedagogy classes at university. I'm always looking to improve my teaching.

Do you have any other book recommendations?


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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Sam S
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Sam S

I'm not going to quote extensively from the book, but here are some disadvantages of the adult student that are discussed that may seem familiar:
- unrealistic expectations
- often inhibited
- fears failure
- quickly frustrated and loses self-confidence
- does not realize how complicated an act playing the piano is
- believes that the application of earnestness or energy will compensate for the discipline of practice

What I'd be interested in knowing is what solutions they come up with for this. I have my own thoughts, and I also am anticipating some things that I would not want to be there but probably are.


Buy the book - the authors are not just complaining about students, but teaching teachers how to teach.

And if someone calls themselves a piano teacher, but has never heard of this book, or some similar book, and never made an effort to learn about piano pedagogy, then I would be careful about hiring them to teach piano.

I don't get the last paragraph. I asked what types of solutions come for that list. What does that have to do with people calling themselves piano teachers? I am a student.

Again, I am interested in the possible solutions from this. I know what I want to see as a student. I also know what kinds of things have been applied toward me in the past. Most of it seemed to try to address feelings. I am interested whether this goes in the same direction or something different.

If I mention something that I have read or studied and am asked about it, usually I'll gladly answer questions. One cannot expect others to study what you have studied, or read a book that you have read. It just isn't realistic during a conversation.


I was answering the original poster's question in my last paragraph. He wanted to know what to ask when interviewing a teacher. I suggest asking if they have any pedagogy training or at least know about the topic.

I don't have time to answer all your questions about solutions, sorry, and I am hardly an expert, even after taking all those classes. If you are that interested, get the book.

I did get Scott McBride Smith's autograph in my book (he is one of the authors). I met him at a music teacher's conference where he was the keynote speaker.

Which brings up another question the the OP could ask - Does the prospective teacher belong to any professional organizations and attend conferences to further their education?

Sam

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Sam, ---- we cross posted so editing --- I was genuinely interested in what you presented. I also figured that if you studied the book, you might have drawn some first conclusions from it on the subject, and that is what I was asking you about.
Originally Posted by Sam S
The university I am attending in my old age devotes 4 semesters to the topic, and 4 semesters of required student teaching. This is the textbook that we used.

I can see why you are recommending it. I think I also remember when you took the plunge to go back to university for this training and rejoicing over it. In my own old age I am learning to play the piano. I do also have an interest in the teaching side of it for various reasons but atm cannot see myself ending up teaching piano. I'm still too much a learner. I do have a teaching degree and worked in teaching in various ways and explored various approaches in my life, but it was not in music. My final interest here came due to my own first attempts at receiving lessons. One cannot transmit one's period of theoretical and practical study in a few words. But sometimes a thought or two might come out. wink

I had wanted to give my thoughts to this list, but asked you for yours because you've worked with this and may have some ideas I had not thought of, and it might also change mine. That is why I asked. Well, since that didn't happen, these were my reactions in the raw:

Originally Posted by Sam S

- unrealistic expectations
- often inhibited
- fears failure
- quickly frustrated and loses self-confidence
- does not realize how complicated an act playing the piano is
- believes that the application of earnestness or energy will compensate for the discipline of practice


The first lessons I ever had were as a mature adult. I had self-taught other instruments since childhood. This may have created a hidden problem, because I could easily muscle my way into the melodies with the right timing (good enough) and some expressiveness, and think I was doing the right thing. It may have convinced my teacher; I passed a number of grade levels in a single year. Things got complicated and I stuck it out for 4 or 5 years.

What I came away with and started finding as an experience is that when I got basic skills from the bottom up, I got abilities and control, and with the abilities came ........ no, it's not even confidence, but maybe the appearance of confidence, because when you play with control you appear confident. The skills to me were the key. But often, and not just with one teacher, it was my emotions that were being addressed. If I said "I don't like how this passage sounds.", I expected that we would roll up our sleeves to find out what would make the passage sound better. Was it a technical thing? Was it timing? But what I would often get was "reassurance". I shouldn't worry etc.

The key to me personally - my conclusions - was to be given the skills, at a level that a student can handle them, and also to be guided to some degree in how to practise. These things seemed to take care of much of that list.

At other times, those expectations of how adults feel seemed to block communication with some of the teachers I first tried to work with, because they'd see those things or interpret those things when they weren't there. I'm struggling for words here.

This is why I was interested what might be done with that list: if there were some general ideas coming out of it. If there aren't, that's fine too. I don't know if any of this makes sense.

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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand
Originally Posted by Morodiene
Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand

Morodiene, I don't disagree with you. I just think that if you are going to take adult piano students, don't complain about them online. Very bad form, bad for business and bad for the industry as a whole.

I never complain about my adult students. Only my former ones. wink

Quote
I'm not suggesting that EVERYONE should take adults, because you need to have a certain set of skills to do so successfully, as you've said. And I do agree that teaching adults is more challenging than teaching children. However, I do think that it's an untapped market, and if I was a piano teacher that wanted to carve out my own niche...I might decide to "specialize" in teaching adults.
You would think that based on how it appears here in ABF. However, I teach at a performing arts school, and the vast majority of students are children. I think of all the students there, there's maybe 5 adult students - and none of them mine. And I live in FL, where there are lots of retired people! Now if I just wanted to market to one 55+ community (a community for older/retired individuals) and drive there to teach a bunch of seniors, maybe I could make it worthwhile...


Not sure why you think my posts were directed at you specifically. They’re not. And if I wasn’t clear, forgive me. In fact, I came to the Adult Beginner Forum to specifically not direct my posts at teachers.

Regarding your second point, sounds to me like you’re upset. Not my business how you do your business. As you’ve said, your business is your business. I specifically also agreed with that, so I’m confused why my posts have struck a nerve.

You haven't struck a nerve at all, I'm simply engaging in discussion about your hypothesis that there's an untapped market out there. I am only responding with a little bit of tongue-in-cheek. smile


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Originally Posted by Sam S
It seems that adult piano students like to complain about teachers as much as teachers like to complain about adult students.

We did cover the topic in piano pedagogy class. There is a good discussion in the book "The Well-Tempered Keyboard Teacher". I urge you to get that book if are interested in all topics related to teaching piano. It will help you be a better adult student as well.

I'm not going to quote extensively from the book, but here are some disadvantages of the adult student that are discussed that may seem familiar:
- unrealistic expectations
- often inhibited
- fears failure
- quickly frustrated and loses self-confidence
- does not realize how complicated an act playing the piano is
- believes that the application of earnestness or energy will compensate for the discipline of practice

Sound like anyone you know? Much more in the book...

One reason I recommend finding a teacher with some pedagogy training is that they will at least have been exposed to these topics, and won't have to learn from experience.

Sam

Yes, this is an excellent book, one that I recommend to all beginner teachers. I put the last point in bold because while all of these are true for a lot of adult students, this last one is probably the most difficult to get across.


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Originally Posted by Morodiene

- "believes that the application of earnestness or energy will compensate for the discipline of practice "

Yes, this is an excellent book, one that I recommend to all beginner teachers. I put the last point in bold because while all of these are true for a lot of adult students, this last one is probably the most difficult to get across.


Morodiene, I think I know where you're coming from. I'm thinking of the solution to this, however. One thing is to grasp that one can actually try too hard, and this can be close to destructive. But the other, I think, is to know what to aim for, day by day, moment by moment, and then how to aim for it. Is this being taught? For example, if a student is given a piece of music, shown how it should sound, and then takes it home to "practise" so that by next week it will sound like that, does he actually know what he is aiming for? Is the teaching out there starting simple enough? Does this get turned around through a change of attitude: through guidance in what and how to do: through both? I think what you highlighted is indeed an important point.

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Originally Posted by Sam S

Which brings up another question the the OP could ask - Does the prospective teacher belong to any professional organizations and attend conferences to further their education?

Sam


Well, Sam, I don't belong to any professional organizations, and I don't attend conferences. I took one pedagogy course, required, at the age of around 21. Just pointing out that their are exceptions to every rule.

Here is my own recommendation to adults: Find someone who can do what you want to do and who is learning how to do it from a good teacher, then try taking lessons from that teacher.

I don't teach to tests. I'm not a member of anything, for my own reasons. What I do with 8 year olds, 18 year olds and 58 year olds is essentially the same.

1. You have to learn to read, otherwise you remain musically illiterate. That says, there are some pretty famous and successful illiterates, but all I have met have regretted not learning to read AND have reported failures which I believe are due to poor teaching.

2. You need scales of some kind, because all music uses them.

3. You need chords, and their names. Without this you can never play a fake book, or improvise, but you also can't break down traditional music logically making it harder to learn and memorize, if you wish to.

That's it. Contrary to almost everything I'm reading here I find that my students, of all ages, tend to like the same music, with obvious individual differences. The biggest difference from student to student is not what they want to play but what they are ABLE to play, and how big the gap is between present reality and what they hope to eventually master.

The biggest difference I see re sophistication re the music students want to learn next is linked to knowledge and experience, not age. By the age of 12 I wanted to play Rachmaninov and Chopin plus many other things on that level, and I was already pushing to get to that level. I knew way more about music than my family and actually changed their listening habits hugely based on what I was studying and listening to. My parents often played MY records. I was not just listening to traditional music either. I was a huge fan of Peter Nero and other pop artists, and I have a huge interest in top film composers.

There is absolutely no limit at all to what style of music I will teach. In the last year I've taught Hedwig's Theme, some Joplin, some Beatles, pages of hymnals, standard Bach and a couple Chopin Etudes. What my various students of all ages want to play next is totally unpredictable, but all of you would be surprised at how many times my adults, my teens, and my slightly younger students want to play the same music and have exactly the same stumbling blocks in all of it.

2019 is the age of the self-learner. There are possibilities none of us older people could dream of decades ago. I just started a 17 year old clarinet player who came in to me having learned to find all the treble clef lines and spaces and their piano names but with trouble in the bass clef (true for probably 95% of all students), and we began plugging that hole in the first lesson. But she has been trying to teach herself on the Internet and picked up a lot of info that is useful, so I was able to start off where I usually get to after a couple months, right into triads in the key of C for major, minor and diminished. Next week we will start scales and easy music for both hands. More and more people come to me just wanting to play, and I help shape their goals while mapping out what is essential for progress. It's just not connected much to age.

I loathed school. Most of my students hate school. That is an immediate bond. wink

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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Sam S

Which brings up another question the the OP could ask - Does the prospective teacher belong to any professional organizations and attend conferences to further their education?

Sam


Well, Sam, I don't belong to any professional organizations, and I don't attend conferences. I took one pedagogy course, required, at the age of around 21. Just pointing out that their are exceptions to every rule.

Here is my own recommendation to adults: Find someone who can do what you want to do and who is learning how to do it from a good teacher, then try taking lessons from that teacher.

I don't teach to tests. I'm not a member of anything, for my own reasons. What I do with 8 year olds, 18 year olds and 58 year olds is essentially the same.

1. You have to learn to read, otherwise you remain musically illiterate. That says, there are some pretty famous and successful illiterates, but all I have met have regretted not learning to read AND have reported failures which I believe are due to poor teaching.

2. You need scales of some kind, because all music uses them.

3. You need chords, and their names. Without this you can never play a fake book, or improvise, but you also can't break down traditional music logically making it harder to learn and memorize, if you wish to.

That's it. Contrary to almost everything I'm reading here I find that my students, of all ages, tend to like the same music, with obvious individual differences. The biggest difference from student to student is not what they want to play but what they are ABLE to play, and how big the gap is between present reality and what they hope to eventually master.

The biggest difference I see re sophistication re the music students want to learn next is linked to knowledge and experience, not age. By the age of 12 I wanted to play Rachmaninov and Chopin plus many other things on that level, and I was already pushing to get to that level. I knew way more about music than my family and actually changed their listening habits hugely based on what I was studying and listening to. My parents often played MY records. I was not just listening to traditional music either. I was a huge fan of Peter Nero and other pop artists, and I have a huge interest in top film composers.

There is absolutely no limit at all to what style of music I will teach. In the last year I've taught Hedwig's Theme, some Joplin, some Beatles, pages of hymnals, standard Bach and a couple Chopin Etudes. What my various students of all ages want to play next is totally unpredictable, but all of you would be surprised at how many times my adults, my teens, and my slightly younger students want to play the same music and have exactly the same stumbling blocks in all of it.

2019 is the age of the self-learner. There are possibilities none of us older people could dream of decades ago. I just started a 17 year old clarinet player who came in to me having learned to find all the treble clef lines and spaces and their piano names but with trouble in the bass clef (true for probably 95% of all students), and we began plugging that hole in the first lesson. But she has been trying to teach herself on the Internet and picked up a lot of info that is useful, so I was able to start off where I usually get to after a couple months, right into triads in the key of C for major, minor and diminished. Next week we will start scales and easy music for both hands. More and more people come to me just wanting to play, and I help shape their goals while mapping out what is essential for progress. It's just not connected much to age.

I loathed school. Most of my students hate school. That is an immediate bond. wink


I think there is always a right teacher for every student. The problem is connecting them.


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My first teacher joined the Music Teachers National Association and earned their Nationally Certified Teacher of Music certificate. The fact that she went to the time and expense to do that told me something about her - something that I liked, which helped me make the decision to hire her as my teacher.

Sam

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Originally Posted by Gary D.
Originally Posted by Sam S

Which brings up another question the the OP could ask - Does the prospective teacher belong to any professional organizations and attend conferences to further their education?

Sam


Well, Sam, I don't belong to any professional organizations, and I don't attend conferences. I took one pedagogy course, required, at the age of around 21. Just pointing out that their are exceptions to every rule.

Here is my own recommendation to adults: Find someone who can do what you want to do and who is learning how to do it from a good teacher, then try taking lessons from that teacher.

I don't teach to tests. I'm not a member of anything, for my own reasons. What I do with 8 year olds, 18 year olds and 58 year olds is essentially the same.

1. You have to learn to read, otherwise you remain musically illiterate. That says, there are some pretty famous and successful illiterates, but all I have met have regretted not learning to read AND have reported failures which I believe are due to poor teaching.

2. You need scales of some kind, because all music uses them.

3. You need chords, and their names. Without this you can never play a fake book, or improvise, but you also can't break down traditional music logically making it harder to learn and memorize, if you wish to.

That's it. Contrary to almost everything I'm reading here I find that my students, of all ages, tend to like the same music, with obvious individual differences. The biggest difference from student to student is not what they want to play but what they are ABLE to play, and how big the gap is between present reality and what they hope to eventually master.

The biggest difference I see re sophistication re the music students want to learn next is linked to knowledge and experience, not age. By the age of 12 I wanted to play Rachmaninov and Chopin plus many other things on that level, and I was already pushing to get to that level. I knew way more about music than my family and actually changed their listening habits hugely based on what I was studying and listening to. My parents often played MY records. I was not just listening to traditional music either. I was a huge fan of Peter Nero and other pop artists, and I have a huge interest in top film composers.

There is absolutely no limit at all to what style of music I will teach. In the last year I've taught Hedwig's Theme, some Joplin, some Beatles, pages of hymnals, standard Bach and a couple Chopin Etudes. What my various students of all ages want to play next is totally unpredictable, but all of you would be surprised at how many times my adults, my teens, and my slightly younger students want to play the same music and have exactly the same stumbling blocks in all of it.

2019 is the age of the self-learner. There are possibilities none of us older people could dream of decades ago. I just started a 17 year old clarinet player who came in to me having learned to find all the treble clef lines and spaces and their piano names but with trouble in the bass clef (true for probably 95% of all students), and we began plugging that hole in the first lesson. But she has been trying to teach herself on the Internet and picked up a lot of info that is useful, so I was able to start off where I usually get to after a couple months, right into triads in the key of C for major, minor and diminished. Next week we will start scales and easy music for both hands. More and more people come to me just wanting to play, and I help shape their goals while mapping out what is essential for progress. It's just not connected much to age.

I loathed school. Most of my students hate school. That is an immediate bond. wink


Thank you. I find this very helpful.

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Originally Posted by Sam S
My first teacher joined the Music Teachers National Association and earned their Nationally Certified Teacher of Music certificate. The fact that she went to the time and expense to do that told me something about her - something that I liked, which helped me make the decision to hire her as my teacher.

Sam

All the teachers who taught me, or who I know personally, have teaching diplomas and/or music degrees.

Saying that however, there are at least three teachers in the Piano Teachers Forum who - based on their posts - I wouldn't go within 100 yards of, let alone touch with a barge pole, despite the fact that they purportedly have music qualifications/degrees and/or are members of a piano teachers association.


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Originally Posted by bennevis
Saying that however, there are at least three teachers in the Piano Teachers Forum who - based on their posts - I wouldn't go within 100 yards of, let alone touch with a barge pole

Bennevis, can't you just think about how comments like this must feel to the teachers on PW?


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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by bennevis
Saying that however, there are at least three teachers in the Piano Teachers Forum who - based on their posts - I wouldn't go within 100 yards of, let alone touch with a barge pole

Bennevis, can't you just think about how comments like this must feel to the teachers on PW?

Yes, my comments were deliberate.


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Qualifications are an interesting thing. Having them doesn't mean you're a good teacher, and not having them doesn't mean you suck either.

However, if a prospective student like me was to look for a teacher in today's world, what would I do, barring a personal recommendation? First thing I would do is search the internet. And if there are a zillion teachers in my area all purporting to do the same thing, then I have to weed some out and begin calling them. In that case, I would weed out the ones with not as many certificates. In my area, it's very hard to establish yourself as a new teacher nowadays without an ARCT as a minimum. If you were an older established teacher with a solid word-of-mouth reputation, certs are much less important.

I have a friend who does not have a certificate for her line of work, but she is the best at what she does and is a hard worker. She has established herself over the years and so the bosses don't question her. Today, she would never be qualified or hired for her own job.


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When I was looking for a teacher, the idea of interviewing didn't come to my mind at all. I do regret that. But I'd read lots of online reviews for all the teachers in my area. One of the reasons I selected my teacher was based on the reviews he had. Many of his reviews were surrounded around his personality and an ability to keep students motivated. I'd say those were bang on about that. I’ve never done good with teachers, and would invariably stop going within a few weeks. It has been a recurring pattern right since my teens. But I haven't thought of quitting my formal lessons this time round, and I do think it's because of my teacher's personality.


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Originally Posted by WeakLeftHand

I think there is always a right teacher for every student. The problem is connecting them.

That's the whole problem in a nutshell. How to good teachers and excellent potential students find each other?

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Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Sam S
My first teacher joined the Music Teachers National Association and earned their Nationally Certified Teacher of Music certificate. The fact that she went to the time and expense to do that told me something about her - something that I liked, which helped me make the decision to hire her as my teacher.

Sam

All the teachers who taught me, or who I know personally, have teaching diplomas and/or music degrees.

Saying that however, there are at least three teachers in the Piano Teachers Forum who - based on their posts - I wouldn't go within 100 yards of, let alone touch with a barge pole, despite the fact that they purportedly have music qualifications/degrees and/or are members of a piano teachers association.


I must concur with you.



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Originally Posted by Animisha
Originally Posted by bennevis
Saying that however, there are at least three teachers in the Piano Teachers Forum who - based on their posts - I wouldn't go within 100 yards of, let alone touch with a barge pole

Bennevis, can't you just think about how comments like this must feel to the teachers on PW?

Its feels just fine to me.

He's just calling a spade a spade. smile

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