2017 was our 20th year online!

Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 3 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Shop our online store for music lovers
SEARCH
Piano Forums & Piano World
(ad)
Wessell Nickel & Gross
PianoForAll
(ad)
Best of Piano Buyer
 Best of Piano Buyer
(ad)
Faust Harrison Pianos
Faust Harrison 100+ Steinway pianos
Who's Online Now
45 members (accordeur, 1957, Burkey, anotherscott, Auraltuner, Beowulf, c++, 36251, 10 invisible), 403 guests, and 374 robots.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
(ad)
Estonia Pianos
Estonia Pianos
Previous Thread
Next Thread
Print Thread
Hop To
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3
How is teaching technique different for adults?
#1068245 10/12/04 01:17 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 123
D
darb Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 123
Posted this in the wrong area, sorry. I'll try again here...

Many people on this forum have said that the technique for teaching adults is different than for children.

Can someone elaborate on that please? I think hearing opinions on that subject will help me select the right teacher for me.

Background: Took lessons from age 7 to 19, play almost everyday, but no lessons (or improvement) for 20 years, want to start again.

(ad)
Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
#1068246 10/13/04 09:41 AM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,515
P
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,515
darb,

Welcome to the AB Forum.

I never took piano lessons as a kid, so I'm not sure I have all of the background necessary to answer your question. But I'll start the discussion and hope that others chime in...

These are very broad generalizations, and in some part introspective speculation...

Adults are motivated by different things: a desire for relaxing or stimulating recreation, a creative outlet, intellectual curiosity, a desire to play familiar music, short-term or long-term skill mastery, expanding one's horizons, or a (healthy) regressive desire -- that is to recapture happy experiences from childhood.

Children are motivated by achievable challenges, continuing success and progress, external reward (praise, treats, gifts), or even threats of punishment in case they fail.

My piano teacher has a box of stickers -- colorful kid-theme stickers. Each student has a book with the names of pieces they are playing. When they do well, they get to pick a sticker to put in their book, or on the piece of music they played. Sometimes, I joke with my teacher that *I* never get stickers. We both know that I'm motivated by different things.

They amount of theory and the approach to theory should be different between adults and kids. Most kids learn better by repetition, memorization and gradual abstraction. Many adults learn well by these methods, too, but can usually dive into abstraction much more quickly, and will often learn much faster by a "rule and application" approach.

Kids usually come into music as a blank slate. Adults usually come in with some knowledge and a grab-bag of skills, and the teacher should be able to quickly assess what the student knows, and just fill in the gaps. The teacher needs to be adept at doing this continually as the student progresses through material. A common mistake is that the teacher will make assumptions that are not valid. My teacher may think, "pj knows about slurs, I assume he also knows about ties" (I had forgotten about ties).

Finally, what seems to emerge from discussions here, is that adults are frequently shoehorning piano lessons -- and practicing -- into already busy lives. When an eight-year-old shows up for his lesson and hasn't practiced all week the teacher usually knows that he's spent the week playing video games, watching TV, or hanging out with friends. When I come in and I haven't practiced all week (BTW, I never have to tell her--it's obvious), it's usually because I've been working overtime, the sewer backed up into the basement, or some other horrible adult obligation took priority. My practicing will always be in fits and starts. She understands that -- her life is about the same.


Ask for recommendations for teachers that have experience teaching adults. Or prepare yourself to be a teacher's first adult and make sure the teacher is open to getting feedback on his or her teaching style.

Ask lots of questions.

Good luck!

Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
#1068247 10/13/04 11:59 AM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 123
D
darb Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 123
Thanks! I did contact a teacher through the music staff website. She said she teaches at home (nice quiet environment, more $) and at the local community college (not so quiet, less $). I think I will start in her home, and if I need to I can change later. Otherwise I might get discouraged by a not-so-compatable environment.

Any other thoughts?

Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
#1068248 10/13/04 02:43 PM
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 314
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Jul 2003
Posts: 314
My teacher mostly has children for students (90%). Some of the differences in her teaching method when teaching adults (some of these comments may be more relevant once you get past the very basic first year stuff):

(1) As an adult I have a lot more input into what I play. It is not uncommon for us to spend an entire lesson looking through piles of music to determine what to work on next. She is more dictatorial with children ("You WILL play Bach.."). With me she tries to talk me into things I don't like ("You REALLY SHOULD play Bach, it will help greatly with xxx and yyy...").

(2) An adult may run into a week with little or no practice time. My teacher appreciates this sort of problem and is willing to work around it.

(3) I think she genuinely enjoys teaching adults. I am there because I want to be there, not because my parents are making me. She also believes certain types of music can be played by children, but it takes an adult's perspective/experience to really put emotion into it (some Chopin Nocturnes, for example). Sort of like a 12 year old can't really sing the blues....

Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
#1068249 10/13/04 04:29 PM
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,340
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Mar 2002
Posts: 2,340
I notice a difference from my childhood lessons. My old teacher went by the book, teaching each piece in succession.

My adult teacher is better educated herself and finds layers of content in each piece we work on. She has me dissect each to find the theory, brings out other music with similar patterns, we discuss interpretation and what the historical influences might have been.

We work less in a linear way and are more motivated by desires. It helps that she and I so often think alike. More than once I have found something I like, bring it to her and she will say "oh, I found something you might like!"

!!!It is the very same piece!!!....

In the begining of our time together she told me the ultimate goal was to make it so I didn't need her anymore...


BeeLady

Life is like a roll of toilet paper...the closer you get to the end, the faster it goes!
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
#1068250 10/14/04 07:00 AM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 782
M
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 782
I just responded to this in the area you originally posted it in. Sorry, I had missed this thread smile


"You look hopefully for an idea and then you're humble when you find it and you wish your skills were better. To have even a half-baked touch of creativity is an honor."
-- Ernie Stires, composer
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
#1068251 10/14/04 12:53 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,515
P
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,515
There is also scientific evidence that certain pathways in the brain that are closely associated with learning music are growing and forming in kids, but somewhere around puberty, they sort of harden-off, and instead of soaking up information like a sponge, it's more like drilling through solid rock.

The same phenomenon exists in the language centers of the brain. Kids can start speaking a foreign language within a couple of weeks of being exposed to it, and frequently gain fluency within a year of being immersed. Adults take much, much longer, if it ever takes hold at all.

I think some of this may be inhibition, and fear of embarrassment from making mistakes. But a lot of it is biological.

Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
#1068252 10/16/04 02:44 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 123
D
darb Offline OP
Full Member
OP Offline
Full Member
D
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 123
Oh dear, my brain is like solid rock!?!?

Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
darb #2874966 08/01/19 04:04 PM
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 598
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 598
I am going through some older posts and there are gems from previous posters. I had to share this one for 1) useful information as there has been a number of questions about teachers 2) genuineness and fun responses

This pretty much reflects my journey thus far: less linear, the fun of choosing the next score, the persuasiveness to learn Bach [my earlier posts have depicted my love/hate relationship with Bach to a better understanding and progressed improvement in my techniques], discussions of history affecting a piece. I laughed at the post before mine, as I can be quite hard on myself when I assess where I think I should be..so my teacher keeps reminding me.


Dream came true : playing the piano
Kawai CS11/Yamaha Arius 161
lessons: 150 hours + counting
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
darb #2874972 08/01/19 04:44 PM
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 13,822
B
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
B
Joined: Oct 2010
Posts: 13,822
Before anyone gets too caught up in the notion that just playing the pieces you want to play will get you to an advanced standard, let's remind ourselves of the OP's background:

Background: Took lessons from age 7 to 19, play almost everyday, but no lessons (or improvement) for 20 years, want to start again.

He had twelve years of non-stop lessons, meaning that he was already (or should be) at an advanced standard when he decided to start lessons again.

Beginners won't get anywhere fast simply by learning the pieces they want to play.

Actually, none of the posters in this thread (including yours truly wink ) can be described as beginners - or anything remotely resembling beginners......


"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: How is teaching technique different for adults?
darb #2874987 08/01/19 05:45 PM
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,948
E
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
E
Joined: Mar 2013
Posts: 3,948


Following Trying to follow the Ling Ling 40 hour method

Kawai K8 & Kawai Novus NV10


13x[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
darb #2875027 08/01/19 07:16 PM
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,441
W
1000 Post Club Member
Offline
1000 Post Club Member
W
Joined: Mar 2019
Posts: 1,441
That is soooo me! The adult I mean...


Kawai K-500
Casio PX-735 (in retirement)
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
earlofmar #2875049 08/01/19 08:18 PM
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,783
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Offline
Gold Subscriber
2000 Post Club Member
Joined: Dec 2010
Posts: 2,783
Originally Posted by earlofmar
That's hilarious. grin The person who made the video did an excellent job of channeling any number of threads in the piano teacher's subforum about children vs adults, but was probably making it up whole.


[Linked Image]
Yamaha C3X
In summer, the song sings itself. --William Carlos Williams

Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
darb #2875069 08/01/19 09:01 PM
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 598
P
500 Post Club Member
Offline
500 Post Club Member
P
Joined: Jul 2016
Posts: 598
🤣🤣🤣 that YouTube is so funny.


Dream came true : playing the piano
Kawai CS11/Yamaha Arius 161
lessons: 150 hours + counting
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
darb #2875090 08/01/19 09:45 PM
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 451
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
Joined: Nov 2008
Posts: 451
That was a riot!


TH
[Linked Image]
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
earlofmar #2875117 08/01/19 11:05 PM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,283
M
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member
M
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 17,283
Originally Posted by earlofmar

LOL! While accurate to some degree, it's usually not so extreme (well, maybe about buying the books wink ) but I just look at it like this: the kid may not know enough to know it's worth fighting for, but has the support of parents and a teacher to make sure they at least go through the motions, and hope that at some point it clicks. The adult often knows the value from the beginning and is willing to do what it takes. smile


private piano/voice teacher FT

[Linked Image]
[Linked Image]
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
pianojuggler #2875173 08/02/19 04:39 AM
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 259
G
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
G
Joined: Oct 2015
Posts: 259
Originally Posted by pianojuggler
There is also scientific evidence that certain pathways in the brain that are closely associated with learning music are growing and forming in kids, but somewhere around puberty, they sort of harden-off, and instead of soaking up information like a sponge, it's more like drilling through solid rock.

The same phenomenon exists in the language centers of the brain. Kids can start speaking a foreign language within a couple of weeks of being exposed to it, and frequently gain fluency within a year of being immersed. Adults take much, much longer, if it ever takes hold at all.

I think some of this may be inhibition, and fear of embarrassment from making mistakes. But a lot of it is biological.


I can see that this was written in 2004. The "scientific evidence" that proved these things have been debunked since then. I spoke to a neurophysicist about a month ago, on a instrumental summer school we both attended, and he also grinned when I mentioned these so called facts and said "that is SO outdated".

Your brain does not "harden to a solid rock" when you hit puberty, believe me. The myelin production decreases but it never ceases totally (if you stay healthy, at least) so you can learn at any age.

Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
darb #2875189 08/02/19 06:39 AM
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 187
S
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
S
Joined: Mar 2014
Posts: 187
Hilarious! The adult coming in with the stack of books got me good...

Made me miss my lessons though, the two year block I committed to giving myself is over, and I have to take at least a hiatus.

That's the point of the video I guess ( besides comedy )....adults know lessons are a privilege!

Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
earlofmar #2875192 08/02/19 07:31 AM
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 3,487
3000 Post Club Member
Offline
3000 Post Club Member
Joined: Jan 2018
Posts: 3,487
Originally Posted by earlofmar


Good for a hearty laugh!



[Linked Image]
Re: How is teaching technique different for adults?
ghosthand #2875230 08/02/19 10:03 AM
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 124
T
Full Member
Offline
Full Member
T
Joined: Jun 2019
Posts: 124
Originally Posted by ghosthand
Originally Posted by pianojuggler
There is also scientific evidence that certain pathways in the brain that are closely associated with learning music are growing and forming in kids, but somewhere around puberty, they sort of harden-off, and instead of soaking up information like a sponge, it's more like drilling through solid rock.

The same phenomenon exists in the language centers of the brain. Kids can start speaking a foreign language within a couple of weeks of being exposed to it, and frequently gain fluency within a year of being immersed. Adults take much, much longer, if it ever takes hold at all.

I think some of this may be inhibition, and fear of embarrassment from making mistakes. But a lot of it is biological.


I can see that this was written in 2004. The "scientific evidence" that proved these things have been debunked since then. I spoke to a neurophysicist about a month ago, on a instrumental summer school we both attended, and he also grinned when I mentioned these so called facts and said "that is SO outdated".

Your brain does not "harden to a solid rock" when you hit puberty, believe me. The myelin production decreases but it never ceases totally (if you stay healthy, at least) so you can learn at any age.




There are a lot of papers written on this topic that can be found on the internet - a whole bunch of them say something completely different than the rest. I stopped looking for these things, scientists are not omniscient anyways and if you want to describe something so complex like a human brain with a mathematical equation that will tell you at what age you can still learn and at what age you are done ... well, good luck with that.

Speaking of learning languages... I´ve been through primary school and high school so far (currently studying in college), learning languages in groups with my peers since I was a child. English is taught here as a compulsory course from primary school. I´ve seen a lot of people who started learning English very young (sometimes even in kindergarten) but their accent was just very far from a native speaker´s accent. Last semester, I ended up attending a seminar group (business English) with a classical pianist who had been learning the language since she was a child and her accent was just terrible (like really, really bad). That was very surprising - since she was a musician, I expected her to have developed ears so that she could possibly hear those little nuances in the accent better - this obviously was not the case here. On the other hand, I know people who started learning as young adults (late teens let´s say) and their English speaking skills are really pretty good - far better than roughly a half of my seminar group.
Of course, I´ve seen more cases like this one. Now - I am not claiming that there is absolutely no difference between learning as a child vs. learning as an adult.
Generally speaking, it probably is better to learn almost any skill as soon as possible but it doesn´t at all mean that learning as an adult is somehow more limited or even impossible.

To me, it seems like everybody has a certain amount of talent (whatever that is) and you can´t do much about that. If you start learning piano as a kid but you are just very bad at it, there is probably someone who started as an adult with a lot of talent who can ALWAYS beat that kid. One thing we know pretty well is that you can´t fight genetics and biology - unfortunately. So there will always be people who will do better in certain domains than others no matter what. It´s harsh but it is true.

Last edited by Tom97; 08/02/19 10:06 AM.
Page 1 of 3 1 2 3

Moderated by  BB Player 

Link Copied to Clipboard
(ad)
Pianoteq
PianoTeq Karsten Collection
(ad)
PianoDisc

PianoDisc
(ad)
Piano Life Saver - Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad)
Mason & Hamlin Pianos
What's Hot!!
News from the Piano World
Our October 2020 Free Piano Newsletter is Here!
---------------------
3,000,000+!
------------------
Posting Pictures on the Forums
-------------------
Forums RULES & HELP
-------------------
ADVERTISE on Piano World
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Anthony Hopkins / National Cat Day
by MH1963 - 10/29/20 09:38 PM
Passable new string
by LemonColor - 10/29/20 09:06 PM
Faure Improvization
by cmb13 - 10/29/20 08:45 PM
Once upon a time there was a real Gors and Kallman
by Lady Bird - 10/29/20 07:01 PM
Practice advice
by 3B43 - 10/29/20 06:01 PM
Download Sheet Music
Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads
Forum Statistics
Forums41
Topics202,484
Posts3,018,565
Members99,068
Most Online15,252
Mar 21st, 2010
Please Support Our Advertisers


Faust Harrison 100+ Steinways

Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver

 Best of Piano Buyer

PianoTeq Bechstein
Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

Virtual Sheet Music - Classical Sheet Music Downloads



 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
| Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter |


copyright 1997 - 2020 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission
Powered by UBB.threads™ PHP Forum Software 7.7.4