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changed mind - sorry.

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Hi all,

All of my adult students (minus 1) have been parents of my current students and I have not experienced any 'no shows'. There lesson policy is to pay as they go or to buy a block of lessons to be used quarterly. I do have 1 mother who comes weekly and has a reserved lesson time like my school age children.

I have no policy about no-shows for my pay as you go students...but I should probably add something in before I get burned. They tend to take lessons slots that I could never fill like Wednesday at 9am so its not inconvenient to me if they don't show up but its rude.

EZ - I really like this idea and I have been thinking of implementing it to my computer savvy adults/teens who can't make frequent lessons. Great idea!

I was always very timid about working with adults but I'm really enjoying it. In some senses they're much easier to work with wink


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Originally Posted by re22
Hi all,

All of my adult students (minus 1) have been parents of my current students and I have not experienced any 'no shows'. There lesson policy is to pay as they go or to buy a block of lessons to be used quarterly. I do have 1 mother who comes weekly and has a reserved lesson time like my school age children.

I have no policy about no-shows for my pay as you go students...but I should probably add something in before I get burned. They tend to take lessons slots that I could never fill like Wednesday at 9am so its not inconvenient to me if they don't show up but its rude.

EZ - I really like this idea and I have been thinking of implementing it to my computer savvy adults/teens who can't make frequent lessons. Great idea!

I was always very timid about working with adults but I'm really enjoying it. In some senses they're much easier to work with wink


Teaching adults can be very rewarding and challening in a good way. I love all the unique questions they ask and helping them arrive at a place where they are proud of what they can play. I find it interesting though that many will make sure their child doesnt miss a lesson or dance or soccer practice, but they aren't so diligent abiut themselves sometimes. If you find an adult student who respects and follows your policy, though, it can be great. Those that do not may not really be serious about piano, or perhaps the way you run your business doesn't suit them. Either way, it's best to be clear upfront, remind them of your policy, and if there are still issues, recommend they find someone else.


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I used to be very excited to work with adults, until I recognized a pattern with almost every adult who has ever registered for lessons in our store: they start out with great enthusiasm, promise to practice regularly, ask lots of questions, then within a month to 3 months, they cancel often with "work" related reasons, they never have time to practice, and then drop. Recently, a woman returned to piano lessons after not having played for at least 15 years. Within 2 months, she had made very good progress (starting out with NO musicality, poor rhythm skills but nice technique and good reading skills). She would always attribute any compliment I gave her to my teaching--she was motivated, she was practicing every day! After the New Year, it was as if another person inhabited her body--no enthusiasm, wasn't practicing, lots of reasons. She asked if she can take lessons every other week. I see her dropping soon. I finally understand why some teachers do not take adult students. I definitely have a no show--no credit/make up policy.


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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
After the New Year, it was as if another person inhabited her body--no enthusiasm, wasn't practicing, lots of reasons. She asked if she can take lessons every other week.

This is a wild hunch, but I wonder what happened during the Christmas holidays. Children get encouragement and their practising and progress are taken seriously. It's the opposite for adults. All you need is a bit of "advice" or "feedback" from busybody relatives and friends and confidence goes "poof". I wonder who said what to her during the holidays. frown

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I find it hard to believe that people are that insecure.


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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
After the New Year, it was as if another person inhabited her body--no enthusiasm, wasn't practicing, lots of reasons. She asked if she can take lessons every other week.

This is a wild hunch, but I wonder what happened during the Christmas holidays. Children get encouragement and their practising and progress are taken seriously. It's the opposite for adults. All you need is a bit of "advice" or "feedback" from busybody relatives and friends and confidence goes "poof". I wonder who said what to her during the holidays. frown


One of many possible reasons. But the point is that many adults don't have the luxury of maintaining a new activity consistently due to...being an adult. All things equal, it's probably fair to assume this person would continue being person A, and likely still is person A but unfortunately has to be controlled by person B right now due to unfortunate circumstances of work/life/family.

If this person could continue to be productive in piano at a reduced schedule, there is a chance she will continue and maybe resume a more rigorous schedule in the future. Probably a small chance but I would expect most adult re-learners need a lot of flexibility from time to time depending on life circumstances.

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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I find it hard to believe that people are that insecure.


You are a master of terse replies, so I don't know you as a person, which is fine. That said: I can imagine you never having been that insecure. I can also tell you that I know for a fact some people *are* like that.

It's not a conscious choice on their parts. It's a consequence of many things that make up their personal history, and the choice must be to try (or not) to get over it. Sometimes, the right approach from a teacher can be a major help with that.


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I have a hard time believing that someone cannot just choose to ignore a snide remark about their playing from a family member or friend which is probably not even a qualified opinion. One must believe in oneself - the drive should come from you; you shouldn't have to run on compliments from other people. It just shows a weakness of character.

Just my opinion, take it or leave it.


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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
I used to be very excited to work with adults, until I recognized a pattern with almost every adult who has ever registered for lessons in our store: they start out with great enthusiasm, promise to practice regularly, ask lots of questions, then within a month to 3 months, they cancel often with "work" related reasons, they never have time to practice, and then drop.


Maybe a couple of different things happen.

One is that without any background, they don't know how hard it's going to be.

Another is that they aren't given any encouragement that the hard work will be rewarded. There aren't any examples of adult learners succeeding. There aren't any bands where they can play with their peers. None of the people in their diet groups ever lose weight. None of the people who buy self help books ever organize their clutter, stop procrastinating, train their dog, or become happy. Even Oprah gained the weight back. The early frustration lumps piano into the large set of activities at which success is not just difficult but impossible.

And yet, these same people do take college courses and get As, do groove a golf swing well enough to play every weekend, do succeed at many other tasks equally hard but grouped into the possible category.


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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I have a hard time believing that someone cannot just choose to ignore a snide remark about their playing from a family member or friend which is probably not even a qualified opinion. One must believe in oneself - the drive should come from you; you shouldn't have to run on compliments from other people. It just shows a weakness of character.


It may or may not be a qualified opinion. If it comes from a family member or a friend, it's likely to carry some weight either way, just because we generally tend to value our friends' opinions.

You call that character weakness. I call it human nature.

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Originally Posted by Saranoya
Originally Posted by Polyphonist
It just shows a weakness character.

You call that character weakness. I call it human nature.

Just a minute - first of all, what I had was grammatically correct and then you edited it and now it doesn't make sense. wink

And I didn't say not to value criticism, but you definitely shouldn't take it seriously enough to quit the piano because of one remark from somebody. That just sounds like an overreaction. This person is probably not a professor of music; most likely, whatever they say has little or no credibility behind it. If they tell you you played well, great, but don't be too pleased with yourself, because non-musicians think everything is good. If they tell you you played badly, don't take it seriously, because they really have no way of knowing what's good or not; they couldn't tell an 8 year old from Horowitz. What matters is whether you have the motivation and the capability, and if you don't, perhaps you'd better consider another hobby.


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OK, I put the 'of' back where it belonged. Sorry about that.

And yes, an overreaction to a single comment might be indicative of 'weakness of character', as you call it. But maybe it's not a single comment. And some people are predisposed by their personal history to accord what an outsider might consider undue weight to certain key people's negative opinions of them and their accomplishments.

They cannot turn back the clock and simply decide never to become that way. But they can choose to fight it. And I say again: in some cases, with a little patience and a lot of optimism, a teacher may be able to help their student win that fight.

Not everyone who shows signs of insecurity needs to be told to find a different hobby. There are those (like, it seems, chasingrainbows' student, at least initially) who are both capable *and* dedicated, though not necessarily both in equal measure, but who may 'lose the faith' once in a while because of how other people react to their playing. Maybe all they need is a qualified third party (such as a teacher) who believes in them. Not because they will forever depend on that, but because they need the occasional nudge in the right direction.


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Place it in the context of the comparatively isolating nature of piano study and the likely short supply of understanding supporters. Most people use a risk-reward system for determining how to spend their time. This makes piano studies an irrational decision for your average adult with little to no prior experience. There is no 'compensation' in the short or medium term. Sorry to sound so negative! smile

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There can a number of possible reasons why chasingrainbows' student seemed to change colors over the holidays. As discussed above, a critical comment(s) is one possibility, but there are others, worse ones in my view--bad news from the doctor about oneself or a loved one, or cycling through something resembling bipolar disorder, or problems at work like impending job loss, a child in trouble, to name a few.

Unless the student cares to share or chasingrainbows can gently, discretely probe this with the student, imo the best thing to do is try to be as encouraging as possible and leave open the door for the student to once again be fully engaged in her lessons.

Chasingrainbows, good luck to both you and your student.


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Originally Posted by Pathbreaker
Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by chasingrainbows
After the New Year, it was as if another person inhabited her body--no enthusiasm, wasn't practicing, lots of reasons. She asked if she can take lessons every other week.

This is a wild hunch, but I wonder what happened during the Christmas holidays. Children get encouragement and their practising and progress are taken seriously. It's the opposite for adults. All you need is a bit of "advice" or "feedback" from busybody relatives and friends and confidence goes "poof". I wonder who said what to her during the holidays. frown


One of many possible reasons. But the point is that many adults don't have the luxury of maintaining a new activity consistently due to...being an adult. All things equal, it's probably fair to assume this person would continue being person A, and likely still is person A but unfortunately has to be controlled by person B right now due to unfortunate circumstances of work/life/family.

If this person could continue to be productive in piano at a reduced schedule, there is a chance she will continue and maybe resume a more rigorous schedule in the future. Probably a small chance but I would expect most adult re-learners need a lot of flexibility from time to time depending on life circumstances.


I guess I always assumed that since these adult students are adults, they understand the need to practice and show up for lessons if they expect progress. I agreed to give lessons every other week, but I still feel the end is near.


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Originally Posted by Polyphonist
I have a hard time believing that someone cannot just choose to ignore a snide remark about their playing from a family member or friend which is probably not even a qualified opinion. One must believe in oneself - the drive should come from you; you shouldn't have to run on compliments from other people. It just shows a weakness of character.

Just my opinion, take it or leave it.


If I recall, she played for friends and family and said she received very positive comments.


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Thanks, Stubbie. I guess I felt surprised at the change in attitude. Our last lesson in December was her most successful and I was beaming, even following up with a very complimentary email. I did wonder about bipolar, since she was so "up" and now seems the opposite. She shrugged off my gentle questions with "I don't know why I feel blah, I just do" I really enjoy lessons with her, so I'm not giving up, but my rose colored glasses I wore a few years ago regarding teaching adults are losing their strength. frown


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Originally Posted by chasingrainbows

I guess I always assumed that since these adult students are adults, they understand the need to practice and show up for lessons if they expect progress. I agreed to give lessons every other week, but I still feel the end is near.


I wouldn't make that assumption. YOU understand the need for practice and lessons, because of your background and experience. Adults without that background and experience might not have that understanding.


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