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#1177515 - 04/09/09 06:59 PM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: buck2202]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thank you Monica, Prodigal Pianist, and Buck, Jeff and John,

As you are on the taking lessons end, I appreciate input and yours is very helpful.

I realize this is a different economy and we become even more careful with our investments (look at Wall St for instance) and the fiascos in real estate, mortgage companys and banks.

I really feel for the kids who are sincerely interested in lessons, but then Mom and Dad are uncertain about getting involved for reasons they have. If they could just get the kids started, they would appreciate what piano lessons do for kids, and the skills that develop from lessons.


Betty

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#1177565 - 04/09/09 08:56 PM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: buck2202]
Surendipity Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 129
The Interview

It starts on the phone.

"I just bought a piano and I am thinking about lessons"
or
"I'm wanting to return to my former playing"

My first question is always always

"What music do you LISTEN to?"

Lesson is regular fee. My house or yours.
Advantage of teaching on their turff is I'll always show up.

Bring all the music you have never played. This is important because you don't want to go over something that was never finished, it will not work!!

A student who has never played, bring yourself and a smile.

In my experience with Adults from ages 30 to 65 I have noticed a few things.
They are usually very busy.
They do not have anyone forcing them to practice.
They often have other things on their minds.

The one advantage of adults learning an instrument is that they really find out who they are, they deal with their garbage, they remember their youth, they can litterally become a tearfull mess.
It's medicinal and quite a trip for both student and teacher.
I don't mind, I've been there.

Teaching an adult student is not really teaching piano persay, but fixing that in their hearts that needs fixing, sometimes that is all it is. For others it becomes music and the pursuit of it. Then it becomes a formal lesson.

I charish all my adult students, just for their bravery.
I let them know it. I've always been paid and I ask for postdated cheques however if it comes late or it comes in cash it eventually comes. I'm much more leinient on Adults payments just because I don't rely on them as my source of income. Adults can only have lessons during the day. I still teach fullforce, but my evenings and weekends are just for children who have school during the day.

I had a 65 year old who was studying for her grade 7 exam and doing exeptionally well. But her husband got sick and they had to sell the cottage and priorties changed. The life an adult is in constant flux and priorities change. Lessons for a month or a year, we all get the opportunity to encounter many aquaintances for many reasons, often these are our best learning experiences. As soon as you drop expectations and needs and desires, life has a way of holding it's own. Life will find a way even if you can't. Like the birds of the sky.



Edited by Surendipity (04/09/09 08:59 PM)

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#1177598 - 04/09/09 10:24 PM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: Surendipity]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: Surendipity


My first question is always always

"What music do you LISTEN to?"


I'm curious, because this is something I have thought about alot...does this end up being a good predictor of what people want to play once they start learning?

Perhaps I'm not normal (oh THERE'S a huge shocker, I know grin ) but I don't listen to very much classical piano at all, unless I'm listening to a specific piece for a specific purpose.

OH my iPod (a gift from my boss) has hundreds of classical piano works, but I just don't listen to a lot of them with any regularity.

I don't actually listen to much music at all. I've always been very bad at having music in the background (I almost never listen to it at work in my cube for instance). Almost always, when I am listening to music I am actively listening...and that's just not good for trying to multitask.

edit - I meant to say, and forgot, that another major factor is that I have a hearing loss (both genetic-it runs in the women in my family-and from years of school band). For the most part, for me to be able to *really* hear recorded music the way I like, I have to turn it up...not so much of a problem when I'm home with the stereo on, but I worry about doing further damage to my hearing with headphones...so as a result I don't listen very often to any kind of music.

But when I do feel like listening to something...a lot of times it's Classic Rock or Bluegrass or Cajun or the Medieval Baebes smile not classical music.

I love classical music but _in person_ at symphony concerts or university recitals. There's just too much missing with recorded music. Not only do I miss out on the visual aspect of watching someone play, but there is something about being in the same room with an acoustic instrument that just can't be captured on recording.

And, perhaps even more odd, the only type of music I care to play (with the exception of Christmas music) is classical piano. My husband buys Lynard Skynard books and prevails on me to play from them every once in a while, but (even though I like Skynard) it just doesn't work for me on piano.

I don't mean to drift too far off the thread topic though - to me this type of thing does fit into a new student interview...


Edited by ProdigalPianist (04/09/09 10:30 PM)
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1177606 - 04/09/09 10:36 PM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: Betty Patnude]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude


I really feel for the kids who are sincerely interested in lessons, but then Mom and Dad are uncertain about getting involved for reasons they have. If they could just get the kids started, they would appreciate what piano lessons do for kids, and the skills that develop from lessons.


Me too. My own niece confided that she would like to take piano lessons, the last time I was home to visit. She's 13 and plays trumpet in her school band but she would really like to take piano (which is not a band instrument and isn't offered at school). Her parents have her great-grandmother's 60-some-year-old Acrosonic...that was probably last tuned in the 50's eek (they live on the family farm's "home place"...the piano came along with the house). But she hadn't ever told her mom she would like piano lessons. I sure did. I told my sister-in-law and mother-in-law both...my SIL said she "should" look into lessons for her but it would require $ to get the piano operable, $ for lessons and the weekly round trip 'into town' from the farm. So nothing happens. frown
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

My only domestic quality is that I live in a house.

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#1177668 - 04/10/09 01:57 AM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: ProdigalPianist]
Surendipity Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/24/05
Posts: 129
Listening to music gives me an idea of what music a student would like to learn and also allows them the opportunity to tell me (as you did) all about their musical world.
After what you have said I would start with classical and add Rock/Blue Grass and Cajun and discuss how they relate and their history.
You like Cajun so you may like to sing and dance, Cajun has a drilling beat that might impress you. You may even be french.
It may mean you're high spritied, that you like alot of people around and parties and occassions and happiness.
Cajun means you may like Gavottes or Bourrees.
I could play the triangle. Whoo hoo...
I would also give you a list of all the upcoming concerts in your area and discuss their music and programs and talk about which ones you liked best and why.
I would also recommend you do not use headphones and go for a hearing test and full exam. That could be serious stuff or not so serious, but look into that.
You also like Christmas music, that's great, I'd make you give me full concerts while a sang along. I'd also make you rewrite the rhythm on some of those. Again the joy of Christmas with all it's fun and folk, you're propbably one happy go lucky fun lovin' person.

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#1178105 - 04/10/09 06:44 PM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: Scruffies]
Scruffies Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/21/09
Posts: 58
Loc: California
WoW! Lots of very interesting perspective from many teachers running their businesses. I sympathize with Betty and others who sometimes suffer the abject rudeness of people who miss appointments and don't even feel the need, not to mention guilt, to contact her to apologize!

Thanks for all of the responses. I got some good ideas of what to expect, which was the purpose of my post.

I would suggest not charging for the initial meeting, but before setting that appointment would....

Require the prospective student to go online to the teacher's web site to fill out an new student application including acknowledging reading and agreeing to the teacher's terms and conditions (including things for the student, like teacher cancellations for example). Also, I would not include any lesson material in the first meeting, limit it to 30-45 minutes, and in the terms and conditions make clear that the teacher will require upfront payment of four lessons at the end of the first meeting (refundable if the probationary first 4 lessons are not satisfactory to either teacher or student), and I would confirm this when setting up the first meeting appointment.

Lastly, when you are offering services to the public at large, whether the service is landsacping, remodeling, piano lessons or everything in between, you will experience people who make appointments that you respect but they don't, but of course that doesn't make it any easier when you are again stood up by some deadbeat.

At least, those are some ideas you might consider Betty.

Good Luck

/Scruffies


Edited by Scruffies (04/10/09 06:47 PM)
_________________________
/Scruffies

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#1178204 - 04/10/09 10:51 PM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: Scruffies]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Thank you so much, Scruffies....for the empathy and the good wishes. I certainly consider well meaning things said to me in the piano forum that have a good intention or a sense of purpose behind them.

It has become in the last year that it is harder to find rapport in meeting with prospective clients for the first time. We are just too busy these days trying to hold everything together, I think. Something has to give as a way to release pressure and we pick ourselves up from the tatters.

I can't afford to be part of that mix as I work faithfully on having a good day and being appreciative of my life and friends and loved ones and good fortune. I try to keep a good mind set and take care of my health issues which means protecting myself from difficult situations, and knowing when to stop.

I give freely, but not after being mistreated, as I strongly believe in reciprocity being a coin of the universe.

Thank you for posting in friendship!

Betty

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#1182527 - 04/17/09 07:43 PM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: buck2202]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Buck,

Thank you for posting about my "proposal" of 3 offerings.....I just happened upon it and wanted you to know I've read it.

You said, "I'd certainly still appreciate a "get acquainted" period. I think you're on the right track, Betty. An interview and option of a trial period would have gone a long way for me."

I appreciate your response because it gives me some optimism that in today's economic upheaval, anything that keeps doors open for piano students to enter is a good thing.

Best wishes to you!

Betty Patnude

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#1184700 - 04/21/09 03:04 PM Re: The Initial Meeting with a new Adult Student [Re: Betty Patnude]
disneymusicdreamer Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/03/08
Posts: 18
Loc: Florida
I started as an adult 5.5 years ago and called an instructor from the phone book. I asked for an initial meeting and it never crossed my mind that he/she would charge just to get acquainted for 20 minutes. It really put my anxiety at ease to see the studio, talk a few minutes [yes I could have read it myself] and to have the instructor talk through the lessons. I also learned that we had 2 other hobbies in common and had a sense of mutual respect that I couldn't have gotten just from reading. I would have hit the door if he thought about charging me for this valuable meeting. He/she didn't have a lesson at that time, nor did he/she have to reschedule anyone or anything.

The payoff for the free 20 minutes - I have paid the instructor for almost 6 years and referred two other students which have been involved for 2+ years. Quite a profit for 20 minutes of time.

My time was valuable as was his/hers - but we connected and today I have a great instructor and a great friend.
_________________________
A hot dog at the ballgame beats roast beef at the Ritz. ~Humphrey Bogart

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