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Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures #2875308
08/02/19 02:17 PM
08/02/19 02:17 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 332
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline OP
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I have almost always used John Thompson with adult students. It has worked very well over the years. But these adults have had some prior musical experience, and most were already fairly fluent at reading at least one clef.

Now I have an adult beginner starting soon with zero prior experience, and can't read a note. I figured this would be an opportunity to try a newer method. I asked him if he would be willing to be a guinea pig, and he agreed...

So I will be starting him with Adult Piano Adventures. This will by my first time teaching from this method. (The retired conservatory professor who is helping me with my performance diploma uses P.A. with children.)

Any suggestions for effective use of this method?


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
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Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2875320
08/02/19 02:40 PM
08/02/19 02:40 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,206
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Focus on intervals.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2875530
08/03/19 04:00 AM
08/03/19 04:00 AM
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Toronto, Ontario
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Peter K. Mose Offline
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Make sure you don't stay tied too closely to the book, Doc. Give your student plenty of supplemental stuff, whether handouts or pieces out of your head. Take note of how it all goes - it might be time for you to write your own method!

Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: AZNpiano] #2877928
08/09/19 04:59 AM
08/09/19 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Focus on intervals.


Agree with You!

Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2877949
08/09/19 06:36 AM
08/09/19 06:36 AM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,153
Canada
keystring Offline
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Something I've been wondering all along: Why an "adult" book, necessarily? Why not a good method book that you would use with your other students - beginners who happen to be little rather than big?

Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: keystring] #2878005
08/09/19 09:28 AM
08/09/19 09:28 AM
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Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by keystring
Something I've been wondering all along: Why an "adult" book, necessarily? Why not a good method book that you would use with your other students - beginners who happen to be little rather than big?

Well, some adults might not like the kiddie pictures, kiddie titles, etc.

But any "adult" method book is obviously selling the product to a particular customer in mind. And in this particular group there's a tendency to get to familiar music as quickly as possible.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: AZNpiano] #2878036
08/09/19 11:26 AM
08/09/19 11:26 AM
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Canada
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by keystring
Something I've been wondering all along: Why an "adult" book, necessarily? Why not a good method book that you would use with your other students - beginners who happen to be little rather than big?

Well, some adults might not like the kiddie pictures, kiddie titles, etc.

I would think that the point of studying something is to learn, not to be entertained by appearances. I get what you're saying, however, and for some people that is indeed a turn-off.
Quote
But any "adult" method book is obviously selling the product to a particular customer in mind. And in this particular group there's a tendency to get to familiar music as quickly as possible.

In general when we have explored this in the past, the "non-adult" counterpart tended to go more in depth, teach more thoroughly. There are adult students who opted for the non-adult version for that reason, and some adult students have been advised by their teachers that since they are serious, they should go for the non-adult version.

However, some folk may think that if it's "adult" it will be more mature or whatever, not realizing that there is a marketing angle to it (as you pointed out). That's why I asked Dr. R the question.

Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: keystring] #2878055
08/09/19 12:35 PM
08/09/19 12:35 PM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 332
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline OP
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Originally Posted by keystring

However, some folk may think that if it's "adult" it will be more mature or whatever, not realizing that there is a marketing angle to it (as you pointed out). That's why I asked Dr. R the question.


Ah, my apologies. I had originally interpreted your earlier post as more of a general philosophical question rather than a direct question to me.

I just wrote, and then deleted, a long reply. I think I can sum it up in one sentence:

Unless an adult specifically requests a childrens' method, I don't want them to think that I'm insulting their intelligence with a book full of distracting, childish illustrations. It's as simple as that.

And, of course, what constitutes distracting and/or childish is in the eye of the beholder.

As far as a marketing angle or what not, I'm actually glad to have options. When I was growing up in a remote area of Appalachia, you'd have to drive 30 - 50 miles to a brick-and-mortar store, and were limited by what they had in stock. That may perhaps have had some influence on my teacher's choice of methods. Now I feel like I'm spoiled for choice, with eBay, Amazon, etc. I like having a wide variety of options.

Last edited by Dr. Rogers; 08/09/19 12:37 PM.

Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2878093
08/09/19 02:46 PM
08/09/19 02:46 PM
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 8,206
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers
As far as a marketing angle or what not, I'm actually glad to have options.

Actually, the problem is a little deeper than that.

There is definitely a large segment of the "adult learner" community that wants to bypass the basics as fast as possible to get to the familiar "songs" that they've been waiting 50 years to play. If they play a dumbed-down version, they will still try to use their aural memory of the "songs" and end up with one of these scenarios:

1) Gee, this song sounds nothing like what I'm used to hearing (the editor dumbed it down too much)

2) Uh, I can't get my fingers to do what I'm haring in my head (the music is too hard, without having taught the skills needed)

3) I can "play it," but it's not as fast as the song is supposed to go, and this is really irksome

And then the adult quits.


Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member
Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2878108
08/09/19 04:02 PM
08/09/19 04:02 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,153
Canada
keystring Offline
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers

Unless an adult specifically requests a children's method, I don't want them to think that I'm insulting their intelligence with a book full of distracting, childish illustrations. It's as simple as that.

...........

As far as a marketing angle or what not....

I don't think I explained what I meant well enough.

The point of any textbook or method book is that it is meant to teach something. The content, the pedagogy, is what is important. Whether or not there are pictures is secondary.

What I have understood about many of the "adult" books, from what the publishers have written and other things I've read: The idea is of adults who do not want to work hard, spend a lot of time, or get all the things that are needed to play well. The non-adult books would thus be more thorough and prepare the student better.

If this is so, then it is the "children's" books that would insult the intelligence of the adult. wink

I would want to know about content and approach, and then maybe also discuss goals with the new student.

I understand about rural life and loss of choices, since I grew up for part of my life in the north of this country. The Internet has become a great equalizer for access to learning and materials.

Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: keystring] #2878492
08/11/19 09:14 AM
08/11/19 09:14 AM
Joined: Apr 2007
Posts: 16,954
Boynton Beach, FL
Morodiene Offline
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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers

Unless an adult specifically requests a children's method, I don't want them to think that I'm insulting their intelligence with a book full of distracting, childish illustrations. It's as simple as that.

...........

As far as a marketing angle or what not....

I don't think I explained what I meant well enough.

The point of any textbook or method book is that it is meant to teach something. The content, the pedagogy, is what is important. Whether or not there are pictures is secondary.

What I have understood about many of the "adult" books, from what the publishers have written and other things I've read: The idea is of adults who do not want to work hard, spend a lot of time, or get all the things that are needed to play well. The non-adult books would thus be more thorough and prepare the student better.

If this is so, then it is the "children's" books that would insult the intelligence of the adult. wink

I would want to know about content and approach, and then maybe also discuss goals with the new student.

I understand about rural life and loss of choices, since I grew up for part of my life in the north of this country. The Internet has become a great equalizer for access to learning and materials.

I agree with this assessment. This is why I don't use these methods for adults. I prefer Francis Clark's Keyboard for the Adult Beginner, but even that isn't perfect. The book assumes the student had some piano in the past, so it doesn't start at the very beginning. Still, I prefer it to many of the other methods because it is more thorough with a lot more music to reinforce new concepts.


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Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: keystring] #2878831
08/12/19 10:17 AM
08/12/19 10:17 AM
Joined: Mar 2018
Posts: 332
Texas
Dr. Rogers Offline OP
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AZNpiano and keystring, I completely agree with all your points. But this isn't a situation of an adult fiddling around on his own with a method book. This is a mature professional (with whom I have had a speaking acquaintance for some years) who says he wants to learn from the ground up, learn correctly without shortcuts. That's what he's saying, and I have no reason to doubt him.

Method books are (or at least can be) wonderful, but neither are they gospel. The way I teach, they serve as a starting point and a general framework. I have heavily supplemented every book that I have ever use. I suspect there isn't a single be-all, end-all method book out there. If there were, then we teachers would be out of business.

Originally Posted by keystring

The idea is of adults who do not want to work hard, spend a lot of time, or get all the things that are needed to play well.


Such students, of any age, don't last very long in my studio.


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2878882
08/12/19 12:39 PM
08/12/19 12:39 PM
Joined: Dec 2007
Posts: 17,153
Canada
keystring Offline
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Dr. Rogers, I see your point, and I have often expressed the same sentiment by saying "Books don't teach - teachers teach." Or turning it around another way, an excellent can achieve a lot with no textbook at all, while an inept teacher will make a mess with the finest textbook. But you did specifically ask for input on method books, and in that case proper feedback is in order. Especially since you give the impression of teaching seriously, and also for the sake of the student who has to work with such material, I gave the feedback that I gave.

What I have seen of such "adult" books - The one I examined based itself of familiar music that those generations would like to learn, with chords to make it easy, and shortcut "explanations" that your student will end up reading. The "starting point" is precisely what concerns me, since that is what you don't want to have a book zip past. Since you supplement and add your own material it will matter less, but since you are choosing a book, this is a consideration.

Quote
This is a mature professional (with whom I have had a speaking acquaintance for some years) who says he wants to learn from the ground up, learn correctly without shortcuts.

This is also my attitude, if I am going to put on my student hat for the moment, and for that reason I'd not want to have one of those adult books chosen for me.

Quote
Such students, of any age, don't last very long in my studio.

The books, however, are designed precisely with that kind of student in mind.

Anyway, I hope we have been able to have been of some help. smile

Last edited by keystring; 08/12/19 12:39 PM.
Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2878887
08/12/19 01:02 PM
08/12/19 01:02 PM
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Canada
keystring Offline
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Adding to the last statement:

afaik (or, as far as I understand it)

wink

Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2879026
08/12/19 11:17 PM
08/12/19 11:17 PM
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Posts: 8,206
Orange County, CA
AZNpiano Offline
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Dr. R:

I don't think we are in disagreement here. I just urge you to give intervallic reading a try. I don't know how the Adult PA paces the books, since I don't use it. I use a different series for my adult students. Just make sure you spend ample time with directional reading, then intervallic reading, then memorizing the select landmark (or guide) notes. Let the expansion of note-learning take place gradually, over several months.


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Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2879112
08/13/19 08:46 AM
08/13/19 08:46 AM
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Posts: 332
Texas
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keystring, thank you for your comments. I share your concerns in general. Do you have specific complaints, concerns, or criticisms about Adult Piano Adventures? It looks fairly solid to me overall, but my opinion will develop as I teach through it.

AZN, this is my experiment at teaching intervallic reading as the initial approach. My new student (who is having his first lesson tonight, actually) has agreed to be my guinea pig. In another thread, you mentioned that starting with intervallic reading makes teaching easier overall - I want to see if I can replicate these results with a student with no prior experience.

Unfortunately, this will be just one data point, and this student (a highly educated, successful professional) is not typical of the general population, so I won't be able to generalize the result. But even though he isn't typical of the general populace, he is typical of my adult students. (All but one of my adult students right now are engineers of some stripe, and the one who isn't an engineer recently completed a PhD in the sciences. This probably comes from teaching in the Silicon Hills of Austin, TX, and also the professional circles in which I move socially.)


Austin Rogers, PhD
Music Teacher in Austin, TX
Baldwin SD-10 Concert Grand "Kuroneko", Baldwin Upright, Yamaha P-255
Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2879127
08/13/19 09:15 AM
08/13/19 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Rogers

Unfortunately, this will be just one data point, and this student (a highly educated, successful professional) is not typical of the general population, so I won't be able to generalize the result. But even though he isn't typical of the general populace, he is typical of my adult students.


There is nothing wrong with a single case report. A single case report can provide very useful information. The mistake is to confuse Level VI evidence with Level I evidence. Clearly you are not making that mistake and I for one, will be interested in your result.


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Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2879244
08/13/19 02:23 PM
08/13/19 02:23 PM
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Dr. Rogers, I wholeheartedly agree with AZN about focusing on intervallic reading. The best series I've found that does that is Piano Safari. They have a method "for the older student" (that's the subtitle that distinguishes it from their method for children approximately age 10 and under).

The older student method does proceed at a faster pace than their method for younger children, so I'd advise supplementing with your own writings, as Peter suggested, or with published supplements that focus on the interval or interval group that you're currently working on.

Piano Safari spends a lot more time focusing on a single interval or interval pairing/grouping than any other series I've seen, even in the faster-paced older student method. It's the best system I've seen for training students to read well intervallically.

The method authors are also well-versed in the philosophy behind Francis Clark's Keyboard methodology, which Morodiene mentioned above, and it sounds like they took some of the good aspects of that and combined it with other research-based ideas they formed to write their method.

Piano Safari comes highly-recommended by this teacher! (And, no, I don't profit in any way from the sales of their products.) smile I'm just one of the series' fans, though it's not the perfect method; I don't think that exists.

Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Dr. Rogers] #2879497
08/14/19 09:59 AM
08/14/19 09:59 AM
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I was very impressed by a Piano Safari talk by its authors at the recent NCKP conference in Chicago, and I'm looking forward to giving this method a try this fall with a new young student. It's also nicely laid out material on the page, and the handsome books are spiral-bound - first time I've seen this in teaching materials.

Interestingly, Safari also emphasizes rote learning of many pieces - I guess as an antidote to always reading music when you are starting out.

Last edited by Peter K. Mose; 08/14/19 10:01 AM.
Re: Trying Out Adult Piano Adventures [Re: Peter K. Mose] #2879564
08/14/19 01:35 PM
08/14/19 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
I was very impressed by a Piano Safari talk by its authors at the recent NCKP conference in Chicago, and I'm looking forward to giving this method a try this fall with a new young student. It's also nicely laid out material on the page, and the handsome books are spiral-bound - first time I've seen this in teaching materials.

Interestingly, Safari also emphasizes rote learning of many pieces - I guess as an antidote to always reading music when you are starting out.


I saw they were going to be at the NCKP, but I didn't get there. (But I see there were 5 or 6 people I've personally met who were presenters at the conference--sounds like it was a fun and informative time.)

Enjoy teaching PS with your new student this fall! I think their philosophy behind the order and timing of interval introduction is the best I've come across.

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