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The problem for me is easy. I don’t mind doing or learning things that are tedious, if they are rational and are helping me to accomplish things or get from point a to b. However, the first teacher was painfully obsessive about timing and wanted me to memorize and play every scale perfectly within a very short amount of time. He ALSO, basically told me that since I am an adult, that he was only going to go so far teaching me.
The current teacher is not organized. If anything, I took a step backward in the past 5 weeks. I am being assigned either Czerny pieces or tIvan Sings, for the past 3 weeks, because I have never used the pedal before and the rhythm in the second section is too complex. Just playing Czerny pieces isn’t really teaching me anything. They’re finger exercises. Since Ivan didn’t work out, that’s what he is reverting to, when there is plenty of material in between that I could be playing and developing skills with.
I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?

Last edited by Mils; 12/30/19 03:24 PM.
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Originally Posted by Mils
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?

There are great teachers out there. Comments like yours make me feel like I won a freaking lottery or something, and it can't possibly be that bad out there.

Ever consider live online lessons? There are teachers on PW that do live online lessons via video messenger. You won't only need to select from a limited local population.


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Originally Posted by Mils
The problem for me is easy. I don’t mind doing or learning things that are tedious, if they are rational and are helping me to accomplish things or get from point a to b. However, the first teacher was painfully obsessive about timing and wanted me to memorize and play every scale perfectly within a very short amount of time. He ALSO, basically told me that since I am an adult, that he was only going to go so far teaching me.
The current teacher is not organized. If anything, I took a step backward in the past 5 weeks. I am being assigned either Czerny pieces or tIvan Sings, for the past 3 weeks, because I have never used the pedal before and the rhythm in the second section is too complex. Just playing Czerny pieces isn’t really teaching me anything. They’re finger exercises. Since Ivan didn’t work out, that’s what he is reverting to, when there is plenty of material in between that I could be playing and developing skills with.
I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?


Welcome to the real world.

I've never had a teacher in and sport or hobby that really seemed interested in adults unless it was a young adult that could bring fame (win trophies) and therefore add to the teachers business revenue stream. This is life. Teaching is tiresome, even exhausting and teachers being human beings, save their energy for those who most help their business. I think the phrase is "teachers pretty". Young children especially attract more children if a teacher is known to produce winners. Parents don't mind spending money for their children especially if it is considered more elite.

This had been my experience and I've been around the block with all sorts of teachers many times. And it is also a myth that can diploma or otherwise makes a good teacher. One has nothing to do with the other. But for those who cannot differentiate absolutely they will be drawn to the diploma or other credentials.

Now you might find a teacher who tirelessly works with you but don't count on it. As it is, I am having great success learning on my own (partially because a long time ago I decided to learn how to learn on my own) and I assure you it is quite doable. However, if you feel you need a teacher than you may wish to expand your bandwidth and possibly look into Skype online teaching. But this approach also had its drawbacks. However you decide to proceed, I hope you find an approach that brings much enjoyment to your piano playing hobby. It can be and should be lots of fun and there is zero reason it should be anything but.

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Originally Posted by Mils
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?

Oh, here we go again.......

I'm speechless.


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Originally Posted by Mils

I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?

Are you sure that you would be happy with a teacher who uses the same 'curriculum' for you as he/she would use for children?

You have to remember that children are used to just taking things at face value and not ask questions when told to do specific things, but I remember you saying that you want to know the 'reason' for everything. To put it bluntly, adults often talk too much and ask too many questions instead of just 'buckling down' and doing what they're told, and that's one of the reasons why many teachers refuse to teach adults. In fact, that was the most common reason I heard from music teachers, for why they only teach kids.

I have a friend who started piano after he retired, and he actually insisted to his teacher after the first lesson (who used one of those 'adult primers' which left him feeling completely out of his depth) that he really did want to be taught everything from scratch without skipping over basic stuff, the same way as his teacher would teach his child students. His progress was very slow initially, compared to that of most adults here, but he did acquire all the skills necessary to become a proficient pianist, which he now is, several years on. He is still having lessons with the same teacher, who is more like a musical friend and advisor these days, because he is perfectly capable of taking a new piece of music he's never seen or heard before, and learning it all by himself, with complete accuracy and musicality (which is more than what many students can do even after several years of learning - especially students who have relied on YT videos).




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There are no teachers anymore in many areas. Particularly small semi rural areas. You may find a person or two who used to play the piano at some level and wants to pick up a few bucks on the side so they try to teach new kids. I could do that but won’t.
I have a granddaughter who could benefit from a professional teacher but alas there are none. I’ve taught her enough to play in the school jazz band and percussion in the school band but there are no real teachers within a realistic distance.
I had professional teachers when I was a teenager in the area but they are all gone.

Too bad and discouraging for the kids. On line? I don’t know.

Last edited by Roger Ransom; 12/30/19 09:35 PM.

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Originally Posted by Mils
The problem for me is easy. I don’t mind doing or learning things that are tedious, if they are rational and are helping me to accomplish things or get from point a to b. However, the first teacher was painfully obsessive about timing and wanted me to memorize and play every scale perfectly within a very short amount of time. He ALSO, basically told me that since I am an adult, that he was only going to go so far teaching me.
The current teacher is not organized. If anything, I took a step backward in the past 5 weeks. I am being assigned either Czerny pieces or tIvan Sings, for the past 3 weeks, because I have never used the pedal before and the rhythm in the second section is too complex. Just playing Czerny pieces isn’t really teaching me anything. They’re finger exercises. Since Ivan didn’t work out, that’s what he is reverting to, when there is plenty of material in between that I could be playing and developing skills with.
I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?


I think I understand how you feel about wanting to get from point a to b, and wanting to learn different styles of music, and basic theory, and the 'reason' behind everything, and not minding doing things that are tedious. It really is quite a lot to hope to achieve; i have similar goals, and thought it only natural and reasonable to want to do something like that and expected progress to be obvious in a short span of time (by that i don't mean being able to play excellently in a few months, but being able to tell that i was progressing at least by a bit after a few weeks), but experiences with many teachers told me that this demands a lot from that one teacher, and it may take a while to find that one teacher who can guide you. But there are teachers like that who have the patience and the ability to address the numerous "whys" and guide you from point a to b. Just takes some time to find them.

Have you explicitly told your teachers about your goals--what you hope will be covered during lessons and what you hope to achieve, and ask if they'll be able to get you there? This has helped me to some extent; most teachers i've had were keen to help me pursue those goals and told me time and again that they'd slowly get me there. (And if they say they can't, and if they're "only going to go so far", then you can decide to look for another teacher, or go that far with them then look for someone else.) But the assortment of techniques, repertoire and concepts they taught at random (and sometimes just read off a book) eventually made it apparent that they didn't truly understand what i meant when i said I didn't understand things, that i have a weak foundation, and that i want to be able to play well, write well, and read music well. They'd merely been telling me the "whats", and i regurgitated the "whats" in all the exams they suggested i take. But if your goal is to sit for an exam (as you've mentioned in another post), then making sure that goal is communicated to the teacher might prove effective, and while working towards exams one'll inevitably pick up some techniques.

One instance in which the communication of goals helped was when I told a teacher that I wished to learn to play specific pieces of music, and while working on them, i picked up some useful techniques. Didn't matter that i couldn't finish learning them because they were way too difficult for me.

Another thing that helps is really, as bennevis mentioned, the "buckling down and doing what they're told" instead of asking too many "whys". Some "whys" and some questions about large principles and concepts can't be fully addressed without first getting through mindless, grueling tasks. I only learnt this after my 7th teacher very articulately explained large, big picture concepts in the first lesson, but he wasn't as meticulous and attentive when I started asking more "whys" and when I brought in more questions that were not part of what he planned to teach. He wouldn't brush my questions aside, and he'd try his best to address them, but i wouldn't be satisfied with things after that. But after a few lessons I understood why--his slow, meticulous explanations and focussed teaching of very simple, basic theories and me working on what appeared to be pointless tasks were essential to build that foundation so i could eventually understand the "larger concepts". He pointed that out himself in our recent lesson--that we need to know the "stuff" before understanding the larger ideas, and that he himself made the mistake of trying to approach things the other way round in the past. I also realised that many of my unasked "whys" were gradually addressed as lessons progressed. But this demands a lot from one teacher--the ability to preempt numerous "whys", the ability to craft a customised curriculum, in-depth and broad knowledge of different periods and genres of music, knowledge and opinions of the music industry and music education landscape (in order to explain why some techniques work and others don't, or why one would sit for exam A and not exam B), and on top of that a rich and extensive range of vocabulary in order to articulate all of the above clearly. Teachers like that are, speaking solely from my own experience, few and far between, but they do exist, so don't lose hope.

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I get it that adults are a pain to teach. They ask a lot of questions. However, when I was a child, I wasted too many precious years of my life with music teachers that didn't teach me anything I needed to know because I didn't know what questions to ask, at that age. Had I known, I would have realized that they weren't really musicians or music teachers at all. In my area, at the time, the local music store was the only place offering lessons and for the instrument I wanted to play, the teachers were just there to earn extra money. I don't have years of my life to waste on useless lessons now.
I've had teachers of all different sorts-college and grad school professors, sports coaches, driving teachers. The point is, that I know that there are skills that need to be taught in order to be able to do something proficiently and I don't feel that I am being taught how to acquire those skills. I also want to know where I'm headed because it does seem random, at this point. Obviously, playing music is the only way to learn but what, exactly, am I learning? I don't know.
Before, I disliked the idea of teachers using method books but at least there is a rationale to the way they're written. There's a logical progression. The first teacher was awful. Among other things, he yelled at me for looking at the keys when I played. After playing for 4 weeks, I couldn't help it.
However, at the very least, he told me that we'd work through Faber Classical prep 3a and 3b, then start on some easy Classical pieces. I suggested that to the current teacher but he prefers to use some other book. I don't own the book. I don't even know what it is. He just makes copies of the songs, So, I have no idea where I am or what it is that I'm supposed to be getting out of these pieces that seem to have nothing in common with each other and don't seem build upon or build, period, any particular skills. The Faber book introduces the pedal and new key signatures. These pieces do neither. It's just playing for the sake of playing and these lessons aren't cheap.

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Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Mils
The problem for me is easy. I don’t mind doing or learning things that are tedious, if they are rational and are helping me to accomplish things or get from point a to b. However, the first teacher was painfully obsessive about timing and wanted me to memorize and play every scale perfectly within a very short amount of time. He ALSO, basically told me that since I am an adult, that he was only going to go so far teaching me.
The current teacher is not organized. If anything, I took a step backward in the past 5 weeks. I am being assigned either Czerny pieces or tIvan Sings, for the past 3 weeks, because I have never used the pedal before and the rhythm in the second section is too complex. Just playing Czerny pieces isn’t really teaching me anything. They’re finger exercises. Since Ivan didn’t work out, that’s what he is reverting to, when there is plenty of material in between that I could be playing and developing skills with.
I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?


Welcome to the real world.

I've never had a teacher in and sport or hobby that really seemed interested in adults unless it was a young adult that could bring fame (win trophies) and therefore add to the teachers business revenue stream. This is life. Teaching is tiresome, even exhausting and teachers being human beings, save their energy for those who most help their business. I think the phrase is "teachers pretty". Young children especially attract more children if a teacher is known to produce winners. Parents don't mind spending money for their children especially if it is considered more elite.

This had been my experience and I've been around the block with all sorts of teachers many times. And it is also a myth that can diploma or otherwise makes a good teacher. One has nothing to do with the other. But for those who cannot differentiate absolutely they will be drawn to the diploma or other credentials.

Now you might find a teacher who tirelessly works with you but don't count on it. As it is, I am having great success learning on my own (partially because a long time ago I decided to learn how to learn on my own) and I assure you it is quite doable. However, if you feel you need a teacher than you may wish to expand your bandwidth and possibly look into Skype online teaching. But this approach also had its drawbacks. However you decide to proceed, I hope you find an approach that brings much enjoyment to your piano playing hobby. It can be and should be lots of fun and there is zero reason it should be anything but.

Well, the way I feel is that adults are paying for their own lessons. They should be catered to even more. Not many young students are going to bring glory to their teachers, so it's foolish for teachers to think along those lines.Yes, the majority of students will be kids but the mere fact of teaching kids. in and of itself doesn't do anything to inflate the reputation of a teacher. If he's a good teacher, he's a good teacher. If you're teaching, what's the difference how old the student is? I just can't comprehend that mentality.

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If I had to follow the same curriculu
Originally Posted by bennevis
Originally Posted by Mils

I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?

Are you sure that you would be happy with a teacher who uses the same 'curriculum' for you as he/she would use for children?

You have to remember that children are used to just taking things at face value and not ask questions when told to do specific things, but I remember you saying that you want to know the 'reason' for everything. To put it bluntly, adults often talk too much and ask too many questions instead of just 'buckling down' and doing what they're told, and that's one of the reasons why many teachers refuse to teach adults. In fact, that was the most common reason I heard from music teachers, for why they only teach kids.

I have a friend who started piano after he retired, and he actually insisted to his teacher after the first lesson (who used one of those 'adult primers' which left him feeling completely out of his depth) that he really did want to be taught everything from scratch without skipping over basic stuff, the same way as his teacher would teach his child students. His progress was very slow initially, compared to that of most adults here, but he did acquire all the skills necessary to become a proficient pianist, which he now is, several years on. He is still having lessons with the same teacher, who is more like a musical friend and advisor these days, because he is perfectly capable of taking a new piece of music he's never seen or heard before, and learning it all by himself, with complete accuracy and musicality (which is more than what many students can do even after several years of learning - especially students who have relied on YT videos).



I wouldn't mind following the same curriculum, if it meant that I'd be getting more out of it than what I am now.

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Originally Posted by AZNpiano
Originally Posted by Mils
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?

Oh, here we go again.......

I'm speechless.


I'm not a wealthy person. I don't have money to throw out the window for nothing. If teachers can't deal with adult students, then they shouldn't take them on. There are plenty of children out there to fill the schedules.

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Originally Posted by Mils
Originally Posted by Richrf
Originally Posted by Mils
The problem for me is easy. I don’t mind doing or learning things that are tedious, if they are rational and are helping me to accomplish things or get from point a to b. However, the first teacher was painfully obsessive about timing and wanted me to memorize and play every scale perfectly within a very short amount of time. He ALSO, basically told me that since I am an adult, that he was only going to go so far teaching me.
The current teacher is not organized. If anything, I took a step backward in the past 5 weeks. I am being assigned either Czerny pieces or tIvan Sings, for the past 3 weeks, because I have never used the pedal before and the rhythm in the second section is too complex. Just playing Czerny pieces isn’t really teaching me anything. They’re finger exercises. Since Ivan didn’t work out, that’s what he is reverting to, when there is plenty of material in between that I could be playing and developing skills with.
I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?


Welcome to the real world.

I've never had a teacher in and sport or hobby that really seemed interested in adults unless it was a young adult that could bring fame (win trophies) and therefore add to the teachers business revenue stream. This is life. Teaching is tiresome, even exhausting and teachers being human beings, save their energy for those who most help their business. I think the phrase is "teachers pretty". Young children especially attract more children if a teacher is known to produce winners. Parents don't mind spending money for their children especially if it is considered more elite.

This had been my experience and I've been around the block with all sorts of teachers many times. And it is also a myth that can diploma or otherwise makes a good teacher. One has nothing to do with the other. But for those who cannot differentiate absolutely they will be drawn to the diploma or other credentials.

Now you might find a teacher who tirelessly works with you but don't count on it. As it is, I am having great success learning on my own (partially because a long time ago I decided to learn how to learn on my own) and I assure you it is quite doable. However, if you feel you need a teacher than you may wish to expand your bandwidth and possibly look into Skype online teaching. But this approach also had its drawbacks. However you decide to proceed, I hope you find an approach that brings much enjoyment to your piano playing hobby. It can be and should be lots of fun and there is zero reason it should be anything but.

Well, the way I feel is that adults are paying for their own lessons. They should be catered to even more. Not many young students are going to bring glory to their teachers, so it's foolish for teachers to think along those lines.Yes, the majority of students will be kids but the mere fact of teaching kids. in and of itself doesn't do anything to inflate the reputation of a teacher. If he's a good teacher, he's a good teacher. If you're teaching, what's the difference how old the student is? I just can't comprehend that mentality.


I'm not sure you played this song, but there is much wisdom in it:

Row, row, row YOUR boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

Learning to play piano is decidedly easy. Chart your own path and follow it. If you can enjoy this tune, you have found a path to enjoying every moment of piano playing.

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Originally Posted by Mils


I wouldn't mind following the same curriculum, if it meant that I'd be getting more out of it than what I am now.

The method books my friend used (or rather the one his teacher switched to after he told his teacher that he didn't want any adult books that gave short shrift to the foundations for the sake of getting to "interesting" stuff quickly) was this series:

https://www.amazon.com/John-Thompsons-Easiest-Piano-Course/dp/0877180121

.....which assumes the student knows nothing, and every step (beat counting, note reading and so on) is taught in small increments with plenty of 'revision' exercises along the way. It is by far the best method book series for a beginner and ensures that the student develops a solid foundation to build upon. It is also the slowest and most methodical (which is partly why it's the best).

It's also the one I - and all the other kids I knew - was taught on. Incidentally, we all needed to learn every aspect of piano playing (including sight-reading and technique) and musicianship (aural skills & theory), because we all did ABRSM grade exams, so our teachers could not skip over any basic stuff. That wasn't a problem, because all our teachers had teaching diplomas and were themselves brought up on the same curriculum and went through the same exams when they were students.



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Hi Mils
What I see: you need to communicate with your teacher when you are given loose scores to play: ask if these are from a method book; ask what is the purpose of them; ask if your teacher can teach you from a metic book. Explain that it helps keep you grounded.
You must communicate: ask questions if you do not understand.

Patience: if you want to learn more than one type of music, that will come slowly. Don’t expect to start both at the beginning
You need to have some trust, of course still being cognizant about learning. Adults often expect immediate results and wonder why they’re not moving fast enough. Piano is not a fast learning activity

Adults are not special, they are just different than kids. The cons: they are impatient, do not always practice and will cancel lessons. Some will quit as soon as they figure out that learning is long-term, not instant. Each of us needs to remember not to be that adult.

I have had great teachers as an adult; you can, too.


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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I have a lesson tomorrow. I will talk to the teacher but honestly, I think one of the problems is the number of students he has. He just doesn't have any idea what we are covering from week to week or what he has taught and what he hasn't.

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Well, I figured I’d give it some more time. However, I find myself going to youtube for a lot of answers. I have contacted several teachers in my area but they will only teach children.
I also tried a couple of lessons with an older teacher, at home. He really doesn’t explain things well, at all.
There are a lot of teachers, who are either too far away to drive to or who won’t drive to my area. I’ve said it before but in my neck of the woods, music lessons really are for kids.

I know how I would teach. I’d be very methodical about introducing and teaching skills without playing any actual pieces. Or, introduce the skills and concepts that are in a piece before bothering to attempt it. Some people are simply better at explaining things. With such a drought around here, I guess I’ll have to rely on youtube to fill in the gaps.

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Originally Posted by Mils
The problem for me is easy. I don’t mind doing or learning things that are tedious, if they are rational and are helping me to accomplish things or get from point a to b. However, the first teacher was painfully obsessive about timing and wanted me to memorize and play every scale perfectly within a very short amount of time. He ALSO, basically told me that since I am an adult, that he was only going to go so far teaching me.
The current teacher is not organized. If anything, I took a step backward in the past 5 weeks. I am being assigned either Czerny pieces or tIvan Sings, for the past 3 weeks, because I have never used the pedal before and the rhythm in the second section is too complex. Just playing Czerny pieces isn’t really teaching me anything. They’re finger exercises. Since Ivan didn’t work out, that’s what he is reverting to, when there is plenty of material in between that I could be playing and developing skills with.
I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?


"I don't understand it". Well, just go read the viewpoints and comments of some of the teachers hers in their forum and you will understand it pretty quick. Actually, don't go there, I don't recommend it. I should say I have a superb piano teacher myself of whom I could ask nothing more, but he has nothing to do with the internet or modern technology in any form so we'll never see his views online although he would be appalled but what he would read there.

That all said I think from your posting you may have difficulties finding a piano teacher you can work with. As you say many piano teachers have a sort of fixed kid orientated program they want to stick with and you need someone more flexible if you want to go a different path. But if you step outside their path you have to take on responsibilities as well and make clear at the start what sort of things you want to do and how you want to progress and find a way of working together for that rather than relying on the teacher being a mind reader and somehow magicking up the ideal program for you. The way we have found is that I'm generally working on two pieces at once, one of my choice progressing through 'Journey through the classics' or some jazz or anything I am going to enjoy playing and put time into, and the other generally being his choice from one of the adult method books he favours. That may not be anyone else's way ..

Last edited by gwing; 02/25/20 08:14 AM.
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Originally Posted by Mils
The problem for me is easy. I don’t mind doing or learning things that are tedious, if they are rational and are helping me to accomplish things or get from point a to b. However, the first teacher was painfully obsessive about timing and wanted me to memorize and play every scale perfectly within a very short amount of time. He ALSO, basically told me that since I am an adult, that he was only going to go so far teaching me.
The current teacher is not organized. If anything, I took a <b> step backward in the past 5 weeks. I am being assigned either Czerny pieces or tIvan Sings, for the past 3 weeks, because I have never used the pedal before and the rhythm in the second section is too complex. Just playing Czerny pieces isn’t really teaching me anything. They’re finger exercises. Since Ivan didn’t work out, that’s what he is reverting to, when there is plenty of material in between that I could be playing and developing skills with. </b>
I also want to learn another style, in addition to Classical and he should be teaching sole basic theory but he is not. I have made zero progress on that.
It seems like these teachers are completely bewildered by adult students or, they just blow them off and waste their time and money. I don’t understand it. For the most part, adults are more dedicated and most kids who play are NOT going to conservatories. So, <b>why is there such an issue with teaching adults? Why not just use the same curriculum you use for younger students?</b>


Going backwards isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes in the piano learning process (and I call it a process because learning to play the piano WELL is really almost a life-long skill), you will have to take 2 steps back to move forward. When I started lessons w/ my teacher, he told me that his homework assignment for the 1st week of class was simply playing the C major scale in 3 different ways- paying attention to touch, tempo and dynamics, fingering, etc. He said he was taught how to listen to the sounds he was producing in a new way. That takes time - it takes analysis. This is why sometimes going backwards to focus on aspects of pieces you may have brushed off in the past or considered "a simple elementary piece" is beneficial because you will find something new in the score itself that will now be more evident when you play. it could be a simply dynamic marking from Fortissimo (ff) to pianissimo (pp) in 2 bars/measures or changing a fingering somewhere to make a phrase flow more smoothly.

This in turn will be an extra analytical step you will incorporate when you approach new pieces. You will also be learning how to move your fingers in certain ways to produce specific sounds, and going backwards to simpler exercises can isolate those specific finger movements to achieve that level of clarity and precision that will only help you technically as you move to harder repertoire.

2nd point above about teaching adults v. kids : I am just an adult student but I can definitely understand teachers who are reluctant to teach adults. The learning process for a child is different than an adult. Think back on your early English grammar classes in elementary school - would you go back to using the same books given to you at age 10 ? As an adult you will be looking at things from a different perspective - you will ask questions and use information given to you and organize it mentally in a way that works for you. Check out some of the YouTube videos about neuroplasticity as well - a child will easily memorize music because their brains are like sponges. Adults will need more time, period. This approach affects how a teacher can present material, and how they can teach.

The process is also very highly individualized amongst adults because they come with so much baggage (think of being a 45 year old entering the dating market vs. someone who is only 25 - the 45 year old will likely have more demands about what they want in a romantic partner than the 25 year old). Adult piano students have different levels of knowledge as well- I see that in my group piano class now. I learned Bach pieces in a conservatory level progression (little Preludes, then 2 part Inventions, then 3 part Inventions, then Prelude & Fugues) and another student never learned Inventions or Fugues and their teacher was fine with teaching them a Partita. For that student learning the Partita, its possible they didn't need to learn Preludes or Fugues if they already learned the structure from working on similar repertoire from another composer. Sometimes teachers don't know what a student's real level of knowledge is- and thus will find it hard to focus on what technical aspects to work on during the lesson.

These are just some of the thoughts that jumped out at me when I read your post...


Last edited by AssociateX; 02/25/20 10:12 AM.

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Southern NJ isn't exactly in the middle of nowhere. Have you considered group class? The United States has community education, sometimes called adult education or community college/music school or continuing education. It would be cheaper and you can get private lessons later on.

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Originally Posted by Mils
There are a lot of teachers, who are either too far away to drive to or who won’t drive to my area. I’ve said it before but in my neck of the woods, music lessons really are for kids.

One can also get lessons by video messenger such as Skype, Zoom, etc. Some people, such as me, find these to be great and have made a lot of progress this way.


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