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#1268735 - 09/15/09 01:51 PM Why is it so hard to find a good teacher
rickshapiro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/08
Posts: 171
Is there a resource or website which facilitates students finding teachers. I'm an adult learner and have made inquiries at three local music stores that offer lessons and each of them had a stories such as they have no available openings, do not teach adults or do not have any flexible scheduling for busy adults. I've also e-mailed two craigslist posts and sent an inquiry to one of the local university music programs with no response.

Any suggestions on finding a reputable teacher would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Rick
Monroe NJ.
_________________________
Music Hack

Nord NP88,Yamaha Motif ES7, Ensoniq KS32, Brodmann 187 Grand, JV2080, GR20, JV90, MKS-20, Sonar S1, Reaper, ACID, Record/Reason, Samplitude, VOX Tonelab, Tech21 Power Engine, NI, Kore, True Piano, Sampletank, Komplete, Bluesky Studio Monitors Yamaha 01X, Line 6 HD500, tons of guitars.

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#1268781 - 09/15/09 03:15 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: rickshapiro]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

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

www.getlessonsnow

www.learningmusician

These are both music teacher directories serving the US.

Put your zip code and instrument:piano is the search and you will be directed to profiles of the teachers living within your area.

I have used both of these services and receive inquiries from prospective students through them for the past two years.

Good luck with your search and consider interviewing with teachers until you find the best match for you.

Betty

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#1268786 - 09/15/09 03:20 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: rickshapiro]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hi Rick,

I'm guessing the "flexible scheduling for busy adults" is the deal-breaker here. A lot of teachers prefer regular (weekly) lessons so that they can plan income and/or use their available time slots efficiently. If you start out your initial interviews with prospective teachers emphasizing the need for irregular lesson times, they may worry that you'll end up being flaky and canceling a lot or something.

Did you email the university music program or speak to somebody? I'm wondering if your inquiry just ended up in some dead-letter internet space. Maybe look up on the web to see who the music faculty are, and email/call a piano faculty member personally, asking them for referrals to teachers in the area who take adult students, or perhaps a referral to a talented grad student in their program.

Did you physically visit the music stores? Many stores have bulletin boards where teachers pin up flyers or business cards (in addition to the teachers who are affiliated with the store). You might find some names of people to call that way.

Good luck! I'm sure it's frustrating to want to take lessons but not be able to find somebody.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1268798 - 09/15/09 03:30 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: rickshapiro]
Gyro Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/24/05
Posts: 4533
First, the piano education system
is primarily set up to teach children
from about age 7 to 17. After 17,
those with enough talent would be
expected to continue on in college
as piano performance majors. Those
who don't, are not encouraged to
continue lessons, as they are now
adults and their presence among
the children would be awkward from
then on.

Thus, adults do not fit well into this
system. Many teachers won't take
them, and those that do often treat
them contemptuously, like they're
doing them a favor by even agreeing
to teach them. Thus, many adults
end up in group piano classes
at community colleges or with
high-priced university instructors,
as these are more adult-oriented
venues. What you're going through
is not at all unusual for an adult.
If on top of all this you're also looking
for flexible scheduling, then that's
going to make things even harder.

Top
#1268815 - 09/15/09 04:01 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Betty Patnude]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Google:

www.getlessonsnow

www.learningmusician

These are both music teacher directories serving the US.


Both of those links are bad. The correct URLs are

www.getlessonsnow.com

and

www.learningmusician.com

Hope that helps!
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

Top
#1268825 - 09/15/09 04:20 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: rickshapiro]
Greyhound Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/01/06
Posts: 81
Hi Rick:

Small world...I used to live in Monroe Twnshp (a couple of miles from exit 8A) but now live in eastern bergen county.

Anyway, this spring/summer I went through a similar frustrating search. You'd think being just across from Manhattan (1 mi from the GW Bridge) & residing in a very musically-oriented community, that it'd be no problem. Well, the wall that I kept hitting was that the piano teachers were primarily classically-oriented, & not overly interested in working with an adult student wishing to concentrate in pop, new age, light jazz. I searched all the sites recommended by the teachers in this forum, did web searches of music lessons, piano lessons, etc. I finally decided to try craigslist & I found several that seemed to fit the bill. One in particular really listened to my concerns & it's working out great!!! I started lessons in early August & am having a blast - even to the point of practicing @ 5:30 am when my partner is walking our dogs.

I'm guessing that you've checked with Rutgers & Rider, how about Monmouth? I remember when I did my web searching I came up with a place in central NJ that sounded good (but obviously too far for me) - I'll see if I can find it.

In the meantime, check craigslist every few days or so....something may turn up.
_________________________
Enjoy life...this is not a dress rehearsal.

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#1268842 - 09/15/09 04:43 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Monica K.]
rickshapiro Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/15/08
Posts: 171
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Hi Rick,

I'm guessing the "flexible scheduling for busy adults" is the deal-breaker here. A lot of teachers prefer regular (weekly) lessons so that they can plan income and/or use their available time slots efficiently. If you start out your initial interviews with prospective teachers emphasizing the need for irregular lesson times, they may worry that you'll end up being flaky and canceling a lot or something.

Did you email the university music program or speak to somebody? I'm wondering if your inquiry just ended up in some dead-letter internet space. Maybe look up on the web to see who the music faculty are, and email/call a piano faculty member personally, asking them for referrals to teachers in the area who take adult students, or perhaps a referral to a talented grad student in their program.

Did you physically visit the music stores? Many stores have bulletin boards where teachers pin up flyers or business cards (in addition to the teachers who are affiliated with the store). You might find some names of people to call that way.

Good luck! I'm sure it's frustrating to want to take lessons but not be able to find somebody.


I just meant after work hours or on the weekend.
_________________________
Music Hack

Nord NP88,Yamaha Motif ES7, Ensoniq KS32, Brodmann 187 Grand, JV2080, GR20, JV90, MKS-20, Sonar S1, Reaper, ACID, Record/Reason, Samplitude, VOX Tonelab, Tech21 Power Engine, NI, Kore, True Piano, Sampletank, Komplete, Bluesky Studio Monitors Yamaha 01X, Line 6 HD500, tons of guitars.

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#1268853 - 09/15/09 04:56 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Monica K.]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
FYI: Monica said those were "bad" links.

They were not meant to be links to take you directly there. My posting said to "google".

The sites come up easily with just the words "get lessons now" and learning musician.

More Google: There are other music teacher directories and just "music teacher directory" will get you there, as will "piano lessons" with your "zip code"

Example: Piano Lessons - Puyallup or Piano Lessons - 98374
The above just happen to be ways that people have found me.
Insert your own community or zip code and see what comes up.

I'm sorry if anyone was inconvenienced.

Betty


Edited by Betty Patnude (09/15/09 05:00 PM)

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#1268871 - 09/15/09 05:21 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Monica K.]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5447
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Google:

www.getlessonsnow

www.learningmusician

These are both music teacher directories serving the US.


Both of those links are bad. The correct URLs are

www.getlessonsnow.com

and

www.learningmusician.com

Hope that helps!


Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
They were not meant to be links to take you directly there. My posting said to "google".


If you use the "www.xxxxxx" format the software assumes it's a link, and you can tell when you preview your post that it thinks the www. stuff is a link, because it's underlined. So if you don't intend for it to be a link, you have to leave off the www. part.

So anyone reading your post would have tried to click on the links.

I think the correct response to Monica might have been - "Thanks. I didn't use the preview post and didn't realize the software would think I was linking. I learn something new every day." smile

Cathy
_________________________

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#1268894 - 09/15/09 05:45 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: jotur]
survivordan Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/09
Posts: 844
Loc: Ohio
Originally Posted By: jotur
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Google:

www.getlessonsnow

www.learningmusician

These are both music teacher directories serving the US.


Both of those links are bad. The correct URLs are

www.getlessonsnow.com

and

www.learningmusician.com

Hope that helps!


Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
They were not meant to be links to take you directly there. My posting said to "google".


If you use the "www.xxxxxx" format the software assumes it's a link, and you can tell when you preview your post that it thinks the www. stuff is a link, because it's underlined. So if you don't intend for it to be a link, you have to leave off the www. part.

So anyone reading your post would have tried to click on the links.

I think the correct response to Monica might have been - "Thanks. I didn't use the preview post and didn't realize the software would think I was linking. I learn something new every day." smile

Cathy





I think so too. So thanks to whoever provided thereal links.
_________________________
Working On:

BACH: Invention No. 13 in a min.
GRIEG: Notturno Op. 54 No. 4
VILLA-LOBOS: O Polichinelo

Next Up:

BACH: Keyboard Concerto in f minor

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#1268920 - 09/15/09 06:12 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: survivordan]
ProdigalPianist Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 1049
Loc: Phoenix Metro, AZ
New Jersey Music Teacher's association has a link where you can put in your zip code and choose which instrument you'd like lessons in

New Jersay MTNA
_________________________
Adult Amateur Pianist

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

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#1268929 - 09/15/09 06:27 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: jotur]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: jotur
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Google:

www.getlessonsnow

www.learningmusician

These are both music teacher directories serving the US.


Both of those links are bad. The correct URLs are

www.getlessonsnow.com

and

www.learningmusician.com

Hope that helps!


Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
They were not meant to be links to take you directly there. My posting said to "google".


If you use the "www.xxxxxx" format the software assumes it's a link, and you can tell when you preview your post that it thinks the www. stuff is a link, because it's underlined. So if you don't intend for it to be a link, you have to leave off the www. part.

So anyone reading your post would have tried to click on the links.

I think the correct response to Monica might have been - "Thanks. I didn't use the preview post and didn't realize the software would think I was linking. I learn something new every day." smile

Cathy





You're right, Monica and Cathy. I should not have used the www. I do learn something new every day. And, as I said, I'm sorry if it inconvenienced anyone.

Betty

Top
#1268956 - 09/15/09 07:46 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Gyro]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: Gyro
First, the piano education system
is primarily set up to teach children
from about age 7 to 17. After 17,
those with enough talent would be
expected to continue on in college
as piano performance majors. Those
who don't, are not encouraged to
continue lessons, as they are now
adults and their presence among
the children would be awkward from
then on.

Thus, adults do not fit well into this
system. Many teachers won't take
them, and those that do often treat
them contemptuously, like they're
doing them a favor by even agreeing
to teach them. Thus, many adults
end up in group piano classes
at community colleges or with
high-priced university instructors,
as these are more adult-oriented
venues. What you're going through
is not at all unusual for an adult.
If on top of all this you're also looking
for flexible scheduling, then that's
going to make things even harder.




Complete and utter hogwash.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1269047 - 09/15/09 11:35 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Morodiene]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
The question is "Why is it so hard to find a good teacher?"

Can we define what a "good teacher" is?

Do we know a "good teacher" when we meet one?

Top
#1269213 - 09/16/09 10:20 AM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Betty Patnude]
Nannerl Mozart Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/19/08
Posts: 732
Loc: Australia, Melbourne
I dont mean to define what a 'good teacher' is but my piano teacher is a concert pianist who has done post-grad studies in music and who also works as an accompanist and lecturer for conservatoriums. In his younger years, he would compete and internalltionally travel. He never claimed to be exceptional but he always said to me that THAT is what a teacher is ... besides that he has many music education diplomas. He said to me that I should be after that sort of a teacher, a teacher who has pursued the path of performing before teaching.

I dont think that the above example entails a 'good teacher' but for some reason that teacher thinks that any good teacher would have such experiences. I think a good teacher would depend on the student and his/her desires and goals from music/piano lessons. My piano teacher is well suited to me as I am looking to go onto music studies after I graduate from High School.

At the same time I didnt realise my goals when I went onto study with this teacher. ... anyways just some food for thought.
_________________________
http://colouredsilence.wordpress.com/


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#1269233 - 09/16/09 11:00 AM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5421
Loc: Orange County, CA
There are lots of good, well-qualified piano teachers. The problem is finding the right match for the student. There needs to be a match in personality, communication level, learning styles, and other factors. Often, you don't find out about these things until you've had a trial run of lessons for several months.

There are other expectations that need to be ironed out, such as:
1) playing for fun vs. "serious" learning
2) classical vs. pop
3) acoustic piano vs. digital piano

When everything is in agreement (or at least an agreed-upon compromise), then you've found a "good teacher" for yourself.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#1269237 - 09/16/09 11:12 AM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Nannerl Mozart]
John v.d.Brook Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7303
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: Rebekah.L
He said to me that I should be after that sort of a teacher, a teacher who has pursued the path of performing before teaching.


My guess is that he wasn't thinking of beginning 1st and 2nd graders. If he was, we'd only have piano students in the largest of cities.

The demand for piano performers is way down, regardless of style. In fact, demand for live music is way down. The number of grad students who can pursue a concert career is extremely limited.
_________________________
"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

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#1269262 - 09/16/09 12:16 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: AZNpiano]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
There are lots of good, well-qualified piano teachers. The problem is finding the right match for the student. There needs to be a match in personality, communication level, learning styles, and other factors. Often, you don't find out about these things until you've had a trial run of lessons for several months.

There are other expectations that need to be ironed out, such as:
1) playing for fun vs. "serious" learning
2) classical vs. pop
3) acoustic piano vs. digital piano

When everything is in agreement (or at least an agreed-upon compromise), then you've found a "good teacher" for yourself.


AZN, I couldn't agree with you more! You have said in a very clear voice that which contributes to future success together. A very good partnership between teacher and student means that we each contribute to the other in pursuit of their musicianship. We thrive when we are well placed with each other. We don't win going in blindly.

Betty

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#1269286 - 09/16/09 12:35 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: John v.d.Brook]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13759
Loc: Iowa City, IA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
The number of grad students who can pursue a concert career is extremely limited.


The number of concert artists who can pursue a concert career is limited. A very large number of them have to find jobs at colleges - sometimes very small ones with mediocre music departments - to make a stable living.
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

www.pianoped.com
www.youtube.com/user/UIPianoPed

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#1269297 - 09/16/09 12:54 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Morodiene]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3156
Loc: Virginia, USA
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Gyro
First, the piano education system
is primarily set up to teach children
from about age 7 to 17. After 17,
those with enough talent would be
expected to continue on in college
as piano performance majors. Those
who don't, are not encouraged to
continue lessons, as they are now
adults and their presence among
the children would be awkward from
then on.

Thus, adults do not fit well into this
system. Many teachers won't take
them, and those that do often treat
them contemptuously, like they're
doing them a favor by even agreeing
to teach them. Thus, many adults
end up in group piano classes
at community colleges or with
high-priced university instructors,
as these are more adult-oriented
venues. What you're going through
is not at all unusual for an adult.
If on top of all this you're also looking
for flexible scheduling, then that's
going to make things even harder.




Complete and utter hogwash.


Misguided might be more charitable than hogwash.

It is true that it is somewhat harder for an adult to find a good teacher match. But it's not a great conspiracy, it's simple economics. The customer base is incredibly small, this is really a niche market. There are few adult students in comparison to younger ones. Normally what that means in any typical niche market is if you want the service, you pay boutique prices - but adults don't want to do that. Thing is, nobody is entitled to a service like this.

It probably is a favor for a business basically specializing in children to add a adult with our special needs.
_________________________
gotta go practice

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#1269303 - 09/16/09 01:03 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: TimR]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11561
Loc: Canada
Quote:
It probably is a favor for a business basically specializing in children to add a adult with our special needs

What are those special needs?

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#1269306 - 09/16/09 01:05 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: TimR]
sotto voce Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/15/06
Posts: 6163
Loc: Briarcliff Manor, NY, USA
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Complete and utter hogwash.

Misguided might be more charitable than hogwash.

Hogwash might be more accurate (and is more charitable than some other synonyms come to mind).

Steven
_________________________

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
—Albert Schweitzer

Chopin: Allegro de Concert Op. 46
Schumann: Toccata Op. 7
Fauré: Ballade Op. 19

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#1269325 - 09/16/09 01:31 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: TimR]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: TimR


It probably is a favor for a business basically specializing in children to add a adult with our special needs.


I think anyone specializing in the teaching adults is pleased to be teaching adults. Sometimes adults find themselves in piano studios where the majority is children 6 years and up but that should not make the adult student feel conspicuously out of place, or to assume that the teacher is making a special dispensation for the adult student.

It would not be a favor to the adult student if the teacher who prefers children to adult learners made a place for the adult student. That is something the adult student should be clear in asking the teacher. "Do you enjoy teaching adults?" Or, "Have you successfully taught adults?"

As for special needs, they are not really special needs when you look at the difference between children as musicians and adults as musicians. Totally different ball game! That does not mean adults are problematic as a group. Individuals present different personalities, habits, attitudes, values and beliefs some of which work in their behalf in music lessons, and some of which work against them. Adults, if it's not an insult, I hope not, just have a little more "baggage" that we deal with, while children have a lot less "baggage" in that they are not completely formed with the opinions and lifes experiences that are part of an adult's reality.

We must open doors between adults and teachers of adults so that we can have the freedom to be ourselves while adapting to the characteristics of what constitutes a life long learning musician. We bring some talents to music lessons but we also work to acquire skills, too. The path that the teacher and adult learner is on must be negotiated between them on a give and take basis. We much each be willing to explore adapting to the other a little bit while creating the relationship that works best for both of us.

Betty Patnude

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#1269335 - 09/16/09 01:49 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Betty Patnude]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5421
Loc: Orange County, CA
A lot depends on the teacher.

At the moment, I don't have any adult students. I have taught adult students in the past, but the results are not good. Most of them quit within 3 lessons, probably due to their busy schedules and no practice time at home.

One of my colleagues has 5 adult students, who are all independently wealthy and retired. These adult students are more serious about piano and can stay on for the long haul.

It is definitely a niche market.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1269398 - 09/16/09 04:05 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: AZNpiano]
Jennifer Eklund Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/16/09
Posts: 162
Loc: SoCal
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
There are lots of good, well-qualified piano teachers. The problem is finding the right match for the student. There needs to be a match in personality, communication level, learning styles, and other factors. Often, you don't find out about these things until you've had a trial run of lessons for several months.

There are other expectations that need to be ironed out, such as:
1) playing for fun vs. "serious" learning
2) classical vs. pop
3) acoustic piano vs. digital piano

When everything is in agreement (or at least an agreed-upon compromise), then you've found a "good teacher" for yourself.


I agree with matching personalities, etc. but the three things laid out above are not necessarily mutually exclusive to a teacher. There are many (including myself) who are well-qualified and able to meet all the above criteria. I have students who do classical, some do pop, some are "for fun students", others are more serious, etc. As a teacher it's great to have a niche, but *even better* to be able to meet many different needs for different types of students -- it's definitely been the recipe for success in my experience.

~Jennifer Eklund
_________________________
FREE 90-page eBook of sheet music: www.pianopronto.com/specialoffer

Piano Pronto Music Books: www.pianopronto.com

BA in Piano/MA Musicology



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#1269559 - 09/16/09 08:29 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Betty Patnude]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Adults, if it's not an insult, I hope not, just have a little more "baggage" that we deal with


With comments like that, Gyro's claims about the "contemptuousness" of some teachers toward adult beginners start to sound a little less like balderdash. wink

I would argue that adults are, in many ways, even easier and can be more rewarding to teach than children. One big difference: There aren't many adults who are taking lessons only because their parents are making them. wink Most adults are truly intrinsically motivated. They have generally greater verbal skills, and are usually better behaved.

I do think Betty's comment raises an important caveat: From the perspective of the adult beginner, it's best if you can find a teacher who's genuinely enthusiastic about working with adults, rather than one who takes them on only grudgingly--with pre-existing negative expectations about their "baggage" or work ethic or seriousness--simply because they need to fill empty slots in their studio. frown
_________________________
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My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1269592 - 09/16/09 09:21 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: TimR]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Originally Posted By: TimR
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Originally Posted By: Gyro
First, the piano education system
is primarily set up to teach children
from about age 7 to 17. After 17,
those with enough talent would be
expected to continue on in college
as piano performance majors. Those
who don't, are not encouraged to
continue lessons, as they are now
adults and their presence among
the children would be awkward from
then on.

Thus, adults do not fit well into this
system. Many teachers won't take
them, and those that do often treat
them contemptuously, like they're
doing them a favor by even agreeing
to teach them. Thus, many adults
end up in group piano classes
at community colleges or with
high-priced university instructors,
as these are more adult-oriented
venues. What you're going through
is not at all unusual for an adult.
If on top of all this you're also looking
for flexible scheduling, then that's
going to make things even harder.




Complete and utter hogwash.


Misguided might be more charitable than hogwash.

It is true that it is somewhat harder for an adult to find a good teacher match. But it's not a great conspiracy, it's simple economics. The customer base is incredibly small, this is really a niche market. There are few adult students in comparison to younger ones. Normally what that means in any typical niche market is if you want the service, you pay boutique prices - but adults don't want to do that. Thing is, nobody is entitled to a service like this.

It probably is a favor for a business basically specializing in children to add a adult with our special needs.


My charitable side goes out the window when this sort of drivel gets repeated by the same person without any substantial evidence to support his ideas. He speaks from his own experience, which is fine and I'm sorry it is so jaded, but to then draw broad generalizations with that misrepresents reality.

I teach, and I know many teachers in my area as well, who teach adults. At least 6, and this is not a metropolitan area. There are some teachers who specialize in teaching kids, sure, just like you have some contractors who specialize in commercial construction, instrument makers who specialize in one type of instrument, etc. I personally would not want a commercial contractor to build my house, because it would end up looking like an institution, nor would I want a violin maker to make my tuba (if I played one, that is). So why would an adult want a teacher who does not know how to teach adults?

The fact that teachers are upfront in saying they don't take adults is the best thing they can do. They are being honest and quick about it so that you can move onto the next person. Adults do have different needs that frankly, require the teacher to be more flexible in the styles they teach. If a teacher is not comfortable with that, then it is for the best that they do not take an adult.

It is important, however, for the adult student to understand that there *is* a difference in the demands of an adult student. Then on top of that, the OP needs to be able to switch lesson times each week (or was it miss or reschedule to something?), which really makes it hard for learning even in the best of situations. Lessons every other week or once a month are fine for the advanced pianist, but for a beginner or intermediate it spells disaster. I don't recall if the OP mentioned what level of playing they are, but that is a big factor as well.
_________________________
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#1269600 - 09/16/09 09:43 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Monica K.]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5901
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
From the perspective of the adult beginner, it's best if you can find a teacher who's genuinely enthusiastic about working with adults, rather than one who takes them on only grudgingly--with pre-existing negative expectations about their "baggage" or work ethic or seriousness--simply because they need to fill empty slots in their studio. frown
Well, I agree. And just for the record, the student with the most "baggage" of any I've ever taught was a teenage boy. smile My adult students are a serious lot and are with me because they want to work on their piano playing. One or two of them have self-confidence issues, but so have many children I've taught (together with some other significant issues as well!).
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Then on top of that, the OP needs to be able to switch lesson times each week (or was it miss or reschedule to something?), which really makes it hard for learning even in the best of situations.
I think it was just that he needed an evening or a weekend spot because of work, not that he wanted to do any of the things you list.
_________________________
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#1269617 - 09/16/09 10:09 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Monica K.]
Betty Patnude Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/11/07
Posts: 4896
Loc: Puyallup, Washington
Originally Posted By: Monica K.
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
Adults, if it's not an insult, I hope not, just have a little more "baggage" that we deal with


With comments like that, Gyro's claims about the "contemptuousness" of some teachers toward adult beginners start to sound a little less like balderdash. wink

I would argue that adults are, in many ways, even easier and can be more rewarding to teach than children. One big difference: There aren't many adults who are taking lessons only because their parents are making them. wink Most adults are truly intrinsically motivated. They have generally greater verbal skills, and are usually better behaved.

I do think Betty's comment raises an important caveat: From the perspective of the adult beginner, it's best if you can find a teacher who's genuinely enthusiastic about working with adults, rather than one who takes them on only grudgingly--with pre-existing negative expectations about their "baggage" or work ethic or seriousness--simply because they need to fill empty slots in their studio. frown


Monica,

We're posting in the piano teacher's forum and the work "baggage" used with adults is well known to teachers. This is teacher talk and it's too bad that it means something different to you. You think we are discrediting adults and enjoying it. Quite the opposite is true, actually.

Baggage simply means that adults have a lot of things going on in their lives, big responsibilities to family, job, church, community, whatever fits into their daily lives and makes demands of their time.
1) Very often adults have to cancel their appointments because something more important came up.
2) Very often adults are not prepared because they didn't get "enough" time to practice.
3) Very often adults want to play "perfectly" and have little tolerance for making mistakes something that teachers know is going to happen in first lessons and even later. What we aspire to do in learning to be musical has a high difficulty factor of mental and physical coordination.
4) Very often it becomes almost impossible to work with some adult beginners because they do not tolerate having a listener hear them when they are making mistakes. Mistakes happen, it's not the end of the world but we do have to fix them which means teachers call attention to mistakes and give a corrective instruction. Well, how popular do you think that is to an adult?

I have a lot of experience with adults. Some have been so wonderful to work with because they take their lessons seriously and keep their committments to practice and to attend lessons. Those who expect us comply to their demands are not so nifty to work with. It's that simple.

There is no hostility on my part to any adult learners. I have many, many friends in my life who used to be students, some were adults and some were children who have grown up.

You seem to enjoy throwing big words around, borrowing "contemptuousness" from Gyro and applying it to me. You don't know how utterly wrong you are about my intentions, attitudes, behavior, and ethics. It is time for you to take a break from making comments about me as you have proven many times that you know nothing about me as a person nor as a teacher and you continue to gripe about my comments. You are a great example of an self taught adult who has baggage and I am your unwilling victim who receives an awful lot of it here on Piano World Forum.

Betty Patnude

typo - who changed to how


Edited by Betty Patnude (09/16/09 10:24 PM)

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#1269628 - 09/16/09 10:22 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Betty Patnude]
Monica K. Offline

Platinum Supporter until Dec 31 2012


Registered: 08/10/05
Posts: 17746
Loc: Lexington, Kentucky
Hi Betty,

I'm pleased to see you qualify your statements about adult beginners in this post ("Very often...") rather than make blanket statements that imply that all adult beginners have baggage.

Have a nice night. smile


Originally Posted By: morodiene
The fact that teachers are upfront in saying they don't take adults is the best thing they can do. They are being honest and quick about it so that you can move onto the next person. Adults do have different needs that frankly, require the teacher to be more flexible in the styles they teach. If a teacher is not comfortable with that, then it is for the best that they do not take an adult.


I agree completely. I'd much rather have a teacher simply say "no, I don't take adult students" than to initiate a teaching relationship that leaves both sides uncomfortable and unhappy.
_________________________
Mason & Hamlin A -- 91997
My YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/pianomonica

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#1269634 - 09/16/09 10:34 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Betty Patnude]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5447
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
We're posting in the piano teacher's forum and the work "baggage" used with adults is well known to teachers. This is teacher talk and it's too bad that it means something different to you. You think we are discrediting adults and enjoying it. Quite the opposite is true, actually.

Baggage simply means that adults have a lot of things going on in their lives, big responsibilities to family, job, church, community, whatever fits into their daily lives and makes demands of their time.


"baggage" is "teacher talk"!?!? And is well-known to teachers? And it means "a lot going on in their lives" that "makes demands of their time" !?!?

Perhaps the above *is* the true meaning of "baggage", and someone will let me know - I suppose one could use it that way. But when I hear the word "baggage" used it generally refers to negative experiences and responses to them that can negatively impact one's current experiences.

Originally Posted By: Betty Patnude
You are a great example of an self taught adult who has baggage and I am your unwilling victim who receives an awful lot of it here on Piano World Forum.


Whew! If "baggage" means, to you, what you earlier claim it means, then you've just said that Monica has a lot of demands on her time. Probably true. But why that word should be used in the above sentence with such vitriol is beyond me. Or why the fact that Monica has a lot of demands on her time, since that's what "baggage" means to you, means that she says things that you think make you an unwilling victim of it, I don't know. Something doesn't make sense here.

Of course, the vitriol in the second quote *could* mean that you actually do think the word "baggage" has negative connotations beyond just having so many demands on one's time that it might be hard to fit in piano practice smile In which case, added to many many other posts in which you have expressed your opinion of adult learners and self-teachers, adds to the evidence, to me, that Monica's right - the contemptuousness comes through.

Sigh.

Cathy
_________________________

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#1269851 - 09/17/09 10:51 AM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Monica K.]
frida11 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/08
Posts: 227
Loc: Pacific Northwest
From my own experience as an adult student, I found that teachers were slightly reluctant or guarded at first, because many of the points Betty makes are true. Teachers have been disappointed and don't want to invest in adult students who are going to fail and then be disappointed themselves. The teachers I've had have become warm and enthusiastic after a few lessons when they realize that I do have a commitment to learning piano. I think this would be true of many teachers.

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#1269870 - 09/17/09 11:27 AM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: frida11]
Morodiene Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 11422
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
Surprisingly enough, I have run into adult students who never practiced. They have more than enough excuses as to why not. So not all of them are self-motivated. Some haven't quite learned the whole "you get out what you put into it" concept. I do my best to instill and inspire that in them, but some quit before getting it. This is very frustrating for me to witness in any student, but what makes it unique for adults, is that they have much more responsibility than children. Their excuses might really be good ones, losing a job and having to work extra hours at a part-time job to make ends meet, family matters, sick children...all of these things can (and I think often must) take precedence over piano practice. But when those excuses have no end, one does wonder if this is really the best time for the student to pick up a hobby like piano. Some enjoy the lessons and whatever they can get out of it, no matter how slow their progress, and as a teacher, I have to be willing to accept that.

In general, I'd say, adults have more say in the overall learning process, and for some teachers, that is just not their thing. It can even be viewed as "baggage". With adults, I find myself often trying to find a balance between meeting their desires and meeting their needs, between accepting things as they are with their busy lives, and pushing them to stretch themselves musically. Sometimes I push too much and have to back off, other times I don't push enough and no progress is made. This balancing act is the toughest part of teaching, I think, and it is often more prevalent when teaching adults. I don't see this as a drawback, it just is what it is. I look forward to working with my adult students. It is refreshing to deal with someone who has questions and truly wants to understand things that I usually have to force-feed the kids wink.

If a teacher is not comfortable with this, as I've said before, then there is no good reason for her or him to take adult students. Adults, just understand that there are teachers out there who truly derive pleasure from teaching adults, and that is who you need to find.
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#1270080 - 09/17/09 05:44 PM Re: Why is it so hard to find a good teacher [Re: Morodiene]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5447
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Morodiene - I found your post to be well-thought out and reasonable. You have addressed the issues adults have realistically, as well as pointing out that adults, like those in any age group, differ from each other in their practice habits (or lack of them laugh ) I'm sure some adults are a pain in the patooty laugh , and I'm sure some aren't. Pretty much what one can say of any group.

And as you and others have said, choosing, as a teacher, to teach the demographic with which you are most comfortable is a reasonable choice, and says nothing about whether or not you are a good teacher - it is simply true that noone can be the right teacher for everyone. And no student is the right student for every teacher. It's good that there's options for all of us.

Cathy
_________________________

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