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#938405 - 05/15/08 09:20 PM How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 70
Dramaqueen Offline
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Dramaqueen  Offline
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Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 70
Canada
I am new to the teaching field and am trying to figure out if I can handle a teenage boy to teach next year. He is a good kid and I will be teaching his two sisters. He takes guitar lessons from my husband and plays a bit of piano by ear at home. He is basically playing/picking out what his sisters play at home. (one sister is in level 3 PA the other is in level 2 PA)

I told the mom that I am not sure if I feel equipped to handle an older beginner.... I'm really not sure where to start with someone his age (almost 15)?

I am taking the RCM first level of pedagogy next year which will prepare me to teach beginner to grade 2 RCM. I was suppose to take my Grade 9 RCM this June but had to postpone because of health issues. (long story)

I have been teaching for a couple years now but all my students are under 10. I'm not sure what I'm really asking. I lack confidence when it comes to teaching but I am also really hard on myself. My students are all doing well and progressing well and I love to teach, I just don't feel equipped much of the time.

I guess what I am wondering is what do you teach to an older beginner? How do you approach piano without simplifying it too much but able to teach the basics? And where would I find good music for this age?


Currently preparing for Grade 9 RCM
New private piano teacher
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#938406 - 05/16/08 12:46 AM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: Feb 2007
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theJourney Offline
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As an ex-older (sounds better than post-older) beginner I can say with confidence that teaching an older beginner is not only easier but more fun. If I do say so myself. "Older" beginners have a better idea of what they want and like, are more motivated generally, have better focus and concentration and work habits, etc.

Instead of just spoon-feeding him, you will have the opportunity to have more interaction and push and pull. It will be a great experience for you too!

I might recommend to you to:

- find out what kind of music turns him on
- find out what he likes about the piano vs. guitar
- if you use method books, take the adult version
- consider doing duets earlier on with him so you can coax a nice sound out sooner
- catch him doing things right and use sincere praise
- encourage him to feel comfortable and free at the piano and to see practice time as experimentation and goal-seeking fun

You also might want to check out the resources from Philip Johnston, Practiceopedia. It sounds like he is already self-motivated, so if you could see yourself as being there to "help him teach himself piano" to practice independently and play what turns him on, all the while giving him what he needs at any moment in terms of technique and avoidance of bad habits, you might be shocked at how quickly he will learn!

#938407 - 05/16/08 09:00 AM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: Apr 2007
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Morodiene Offline
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Morodiene  Offline
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Be prepared to have this older beginner move at a much quicker pace. Be sensitive to things you may do with your young ones that might seem "babyish" to him. Really take an interest in the style of music he likes. With his background in guitar, chances are he wants to play by ear, so be sure to help keep him doing that while improving his improv abilities, but also tell him that he needs to learn to read music (if he can't already), and get him to agree to those terms.

I would use whatever books/methods you might use for an adult beginner, but you'll most likely have to make the "duller" stuff more exciting for him (whereas adult students want to learn a lot of the details and the background).


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#938408 - 05/16/08 07:31 PM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
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Karisofia Offline
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Teach him. You'll have a blast. As long as you listen to what he's telling you and show him that you value his ideas and opinions. I really enjoy my teenage boys.


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#938409 - 05/16/08 08:52 PM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: Mar 2006
Posts: 7,639
John v.d.Brook Offline
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Hi DQ - By all means, give it a go. You can be up-front and tell him you are going to use him as a guinea pig so be patient with you. I think the other advice is solid.

There are some interesting choices available in music which will work great with this age group.

N. Jane Tan wrote a series titled Recital Etudes, I think Willis Music still has them available, which are appropriate for beginning students who have knowledge of the clefs and can identify keys on the keyboard. They are quite contemporary sounds. There are a set of four, which prepare students for Intermediate level literature. There are also accompanying repertoire series.

The Etudes sound very impressive, yet are easy to learn. They acquaint students with working in different keys.

Of course, there are many other selections available. Most important, however, is to provide your student a solid grounding in playing technique, train him to listen to the sound he is producing, and give him the reading skills so that he can continue to enjoy playing through the years.

Regards,

John


"Those who dare to teach must never cease to learn." -- Richard Henry Dann
Full-time Private Piano Teacher offering Piano Lessons in Olympia, WA. www.mypianoteacher.com
Certified by the American College of Musicians; member NGPT, MTNA, WSMTA, OMTA
#938410 - 05/20/08 07:41 AM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 70
Dramaqueen Offline
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Dramaqueen  Offline
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Canada
Thanks for the help everyone. I decided to give it a go. The mom knows where I am at in piano and my studies and knows that things will change as the year and my knowledge progresses. As for the boy, I had a chat with him after his last guitar lesson and it made me feel a lot more confidante of being able to teach him. He is 'learning' Fur Elise right now smile but playing it by ear as he does not read music well yet. My thoughts on this were that it is great that he wants to play classical since I love classical music, he wants to be challenged and he has an idea of what he wants to play. I will keep my eyes open for good starting music for him to learn.

Talking more with my husband I realized that he does not know key signatures and is only starting to learn scales on the guitar. Hubby and I had a good laugh (all in good fun) about ganging up on him in the fall and messing with his mind, teaching him the same stuff on guitar and piano. smile Somehow, in my mind, I figured older meant more knowledge, I really have to stop making that assumption!

Thanks for the music selections John, I will keep my eyes open for it. I understand the need to sound impressive to others (and yourself sometimes too) while still learning the boring (his term) technique. smile


Currently preparing for Grade 9 RCM
New private piano teacher
Kindermusik Educator
Just bought: Kawai GM-10k
#938411 - 05/20/08 09:17 AM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: Dec 2007
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keystring Offline
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keystring  Offline
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Fwiw, Fuer Elise on the guitar can be done. Wouldn't it be fun.......... ? wink

#938412 - 05/20/08 04:59 PM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: Sep 2007
Posts: 17
gonechopin Offline
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
In my experience, teaching teenagers is really fun AND keeps me on my toes. They are always asking questions and as you read, they move MUCH faster than younger kids. There are a couple of good method books for this age, one is published by Faber and the other by Alfred. I would also encourage you not to skip over all the theory that goes along with learning the piano, even though your student may complain about it. Also, I have noticed that these age beginners want to play pieces that SOUND difficult, even though their ability isn't great yet. I have used Catherine Rollin's pieces, especially the jazz ones, with great success with this age. Don't be afraid to use "arrangements" of pieces either. For example, the original piece for Fur Elise is quite difficult for a beginner. But there is a great arrangement of it that preserves the main parts by William Gillock (I think) that you can use instead.

I'm so glad you decided to take the challenge. I think you will learn as much from him as he does from you!

#938413 - 05/21/08 07:57 AM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
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keyboardklutz Offline
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Maybe we should get teenage boy together with embarassing question for female pianists? Plenty of motivation then I should think.


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#938414 - 05/24/08 10:18 AM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 202
cjp_piano Offline
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cjp_piano  Offline
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Joined: May 2008
Posts: 202
Cincinnati OH
Great suggestions! As gonechopin said, I like Catherine Rollin's pieces. Another one is Robert Vandall. Like Rollin's, his sound really cool and are fun to play, but not too difficult. Check out "Take Note" and "Celebrated Piano Solos."

I have several teenage boy students, and I find that I don't spend lots of time explaining to them "The time signature means . . . ", or "The dot on the quarter note means . .. "

They simply want to know how it goes, so we go about it that way: learning by ear and imitation alot. Eventually, once they see how the sound is represented on the page, they can transfer these things to new pieces that they haven't heard yet. Actually, this is a good approach for anyone, but especially the older beginners.

I also show them chords and chord progressions that they begin improvising with, including the 12-bar blues. We have lots of fun with this in the lessons since we can play together (I'll play a walking bass while they play a LH chord and improvise RH, or vice versa).

Good luck, you'll have a blast!


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Instructor of Music Theory, Accompanist
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#938415 - 05/27/08 04:29 AM Re: How to approach teaching a teenage boy  
Joined: May 2008
Posts: 9
teachn88 Offline
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teachn88  Offline
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Quote
Originally posted by Dramaqueen:
I am new to the teaching field and am trying to figure out if I can handle a teenage boy to teach next year. He is a good kid and I will be teaching his two sisters. He takes guitar lessons from my husband and plays a bit of piano by ear at home. He is basically playing/picking out what his sisters play at home. (one sister is in level 3 PA the other is in level 2 PA)

I told the mom that I am not sure if I feel equipped to handle an older beginner.... I'm really not sure where to start with someone his age (almost 15)?

I am taking the RCM first level of pedagogy next year which will prepare me to teach beginner to grade 2 RCM. I was suppose to take my Grade 9 RCM this June but had to postpone because of health issues. (long story)

I have been teaching for a couple years now but all my students are under 10. I'm not sure what I'm really asking. I lack confidence when it comes to teaching but I am also really hard on myself. My students are all doing well and progressing well and I love to teach, I just don't feel equipped much of the time.

I guess what I am wondering is what do you teach to an older beginner? How do you approach piano without simplifying it too much but able to teach the basics? And where would I find good music for this age?
Dear Dramaqueen- as a teacher of all ages for 22+ years, the first hard lesson I learned early on is that a student, any level, age, and/or gender, will detect/sense/notice a teacher's insecurity and lack of confidence. And teenagers, especially boys, can be among the most challenging and sometimes frustrating to teach. So, I'm offering this suggestion based on experience AND success in this area...Don't take on a 15 year old boy as your first older beginner! I truly believe you need to build some confidence first and foremost, THEN, start with less-challenging older beginners (i.e. females your age or older, etc.) As your confidence and teaching abilities grow, (in that order)you will be better equipped to have success with all levels, ages, gender, etc. Good Luck!
James


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