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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: 5758
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.



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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: 231
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.

#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: 12391
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 FT
Petrof 9'2, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

#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: 5758
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.


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