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#2616836 02/21/17 11:16 PM
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So I got a new lesson sign-up, and the student is 85 years old! She left me a voicemail, and her speech was very slow. Has anyone else taught elderly students?


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Sure, plenty. You'll find your way.

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Has she ever had lessons before, or has she played the piano in the past? Just curious. I'll be 73 soon, and I'm still learning and improving every day. I did have lessons as a younger adult in the past though, and lots of piano and theory classes in college. A friend of mine started lessons for the very first time at age 75. She continued until she died about 3 years later. She enjoyed it and eventually reached a late elementary level. She was very frustrated in the beginning, but that wore off after a couple of lessons when she realized she was making a little progress. Her teacher was using the Hal Leonard Adult method book. No other theory or technique books were used.

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I actually thought of myself as an "elderly student" until I read the op laugh

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I have not taught an elderly student, but one of my teachers is in her mid-eighties, and she has a 90 year old student. I have heard the student play a decent Mozart piano duet with the teacher. smile .. and the teacher is considering writing another book on piano pedagogy.

They both put me to shame with what they are doing ... and I wish all of the 30 year olds on this forum who wonder 'Am I too old' would meet them. Maybe 80 year olds who take piano lessons just are convinced that age is not a barrier.... so it isn't.

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Hello again "hello my name is". We met on another thread. I am john f and I am almost 79, first piano lesson at age 66. Helps if you had some training in music before, but not necessary. Truly age is not barrier. Enjoy.

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Another 'oldie but goodie' here - age 76 and just started back at the piano after about thirty years. Taking lessons and getting better every week. Age is not an issue with my teacher and AFIC, if you want to learn something, you can no matter what your age.

Meet with her and then make your determination.


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This thread makes me wish there was a "like" button on the forum. I'm inspired y all these elderly students and indeed aspire to be one myself some day!


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Originally Posted by Theory Grl
She enjoyed it and eventually reached a late elementary level. She was very frustrated in the beginning, but that wore off after a couple of lessons when she realized she was making a little progress.


This was written about a woman in her 70s, but it can refer to most any teen or adult student. Once one realizes that progress is slow and incremental, you just keep at it - preferably with an encouraging teacher at your side - at any age.

To me it is unfortunate how focussed studio piano teachers are on children, at the expense of adults.


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Originally Posted by barbaram
This thread makes me wish there was a "like" button on the forum. I'm inspired y all these elderly students and indeed aspire to be one myself some day!

Me too. At 61 I feel like a youngster smile


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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose

This was written about a woman in her 70s, but it can refer to most any teen or adult student. Once one realizes that progress is slow and incremental, you just keep at it - preferably with an encouraging teacher at your side - at any age.

What struck me is that the only information is the age of the potential student. Not what kind of background she may or may not have in music, what kinds of goals she has, whether she has any kind of disabilities. You would want to know something about the student before being concerned. With advanced age there might be things like vision problems, hearing loss, onset dementia, arthritis .... or none of these.

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Originally Posted by keystring
You would want to know something about the student before being concerned. With advanced age there might be things like vision problems, hearing loss, onset dementia, arthritis .... or none of these.


Good observation, keystring. I think we have a teacher here who is simply unfamiliar with the terrain of older piano students and fretting in advance of the first meeting.

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Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted by keystring
You would want to know something about the student before being concerned. With advanced age there might be things like vision problems, hearing loss, onset dementia, arthritis .... or none of these.


Good observation, keystring. I think we have a teacher here who is simply unfamiliar with the terrain of older piano students and fretting in advance of the first meeting.


Yes, exactly Peter. smile Fretting is my middle name. I will have a call with her today. I found out she does have some previous experience, she wrote ("If can play some simple pieces I use d to play when I was 15 yeas old, t)at will be enough.") and her two sisters were piano teachers.

//edit//
Just tried to have a call with her but the line kept disconnecting, like, seven times, no exaggeration. I guess the landlines in the retirement homes are not so good. She said maybe it keeps disconnecting because she talks so much lol. It looks like she had a piano teacher some years ago, but stopped because she got busy with her husband who had Parkinson's. Now she wants to get back into it and wants to enjoy music since she doesn't know how much longer she has to live. She said she has a book. She said her fingers are not that strong, because she is 85 years old. Didn't mention any other health issues at this point but then again the line kept disconnecting..

Last edited by hello my name is; 02/22/17 08:01 PM.

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I think the OP is just worried she could be "stuck" with this student for the next 15 years.;) Just joking.

Seriously, you will probably have a great time with this student.

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Now you've got me wondering if my teacher thinks of me as "elderly."


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Originally Posted by dogperson
and I wish all of the 30 year olds on this forum who wonder 'Am I too old'


That always makes me laugh and not just with learning piano. Some people just "think" themselves old far too early or simply use age as an excuse. My simple view is that your basic ability to learn something new remains a pretty flat line from the age of around 20 to an age I haven't yet personally determined (I'm only 49)! Sure young kids tend to learn much quicker (if they can be bothered to apply themselves), but that accelerated learning ability appears to disappear pretty quickly even in the early teen years.


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Originally Posted by keystring
Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose

This was written about a woman in her 70s, but it can refer to most any teen or adult student. Once one realizes that progress is slow and incremental, you just keep at it - preferably with an encouraging teacher at your side - at any age.

What struck me is that the only information is the age of the potential student. Not what kind of background she may or may not have in music, what kinds of goals she has, whether she has any kind of disabilities. You would want to know something about the student before being concerned. With advanced age there might be things like vision problems, hearing loss, onset dementia, arthritis .... or none of these.


Vision loss, hearing problems and arthritis are pretty common in my age group!

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Originally Posted by hello my name is
Originally Posted by Peter K. Mose
Originally Posted by keystring
You would want to know something about the student before being concerned. With advanced age there might be things like vision problems, hearing loss, onset dementia, arthritis .... or none of these.


Good observation, keystring. I think we have a teacher here who is simply unfamiliar with the terrain of older piano students and fretting in advance of the first meeting.


Yes, exactly Peter. smile Fretting is my middle name. I will have a call with her today. I found out she does have some previous experience, she wrote ("If can play some simple pieces I use d to play when I was 15 yeas old, t)at will be enough.") and her two sisters were piano teachers.

//edit//
Just tried to have a call with her but the line kept disconnecting, like, seven times, no exaggeration. I guess the landlines in the retirement homes are not so good. She said maybe it keeps disconnecting because she talks so much lol. It looks like she had a piano teacher some years ago, but stopped because she got busy with her husband who had Parkinson's. Now she wants to get back into it and wants to enjoy music since she doesn't know how much longer she has to live. She said she has a book. She said her fingers are not that strong, because she is 85 years old. Didn't mention any other health issues at this point but then again the line kept disconnecting..
I would set up an interview with her, and have her bring the pieces she'd like to play if she has them. I think face to face is always best.

I think after you hear her play and speak with her you'll have a clearer picture of what direction to go with her.

I think it's great that she wants to get back into piano.


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Originally Posted by Morodiene
I would set up an interview with her, and have her bring the pieces she'd like to play if she has them. I think face to face is always best.

I think after you hear her play and speak with her you'll have a clearer picture of what direction to go with her.

I think it's great that she wants to get back into piano.


So the books she has are : Czerny 599 and 849. and The Library of Piano Classics, 1 and 2.
I'm not familiar with either.


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Originally Posted by hello my name is
So the books she has are : Czerny 599 and 849. and The Library of Piano Classics, 1 and 2.
I'm not familiar with either.

There is a Library of Piano Classics, and a Library of Easy Piano Classics vol. 1 & 2. I saw comments that the latter has simplified classical pieces. The Czerny opuses can be found on IMSLP. Surprisingly, I just stumbled on a bunch of videos of a very young Yuja Wang playing some of the Czerny Op. 849 exercises! shocked
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUUEA_XaNNc

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