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#1704330 - 06/29/11 02:24 PM How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults
sharisnotes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 35
Loc: MO
What is the best way to go about finding a good teacher who likes working with adults. I have had several years of lessons & have been practicing on my own for about a year & a half. I just feel like I need some direction to improve. any ideas?

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#1704382 - 06/29/11 03:56 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
PaperClip Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 496
Loc: Amsterdam, Holland
I think, a teacher is good teacher for adults, if she or he has very good communication skills. Then it would be easy to have different approches for each student. If a teacher has only one way that works with children, it may not work for you.

You could check if the teacher has a website. My experience is that a good teacher has a website, that reads well. Then the teacher is probably good in communication. You can ask the teacher if she already works with adults.

If the teacher has beautiful grand, that's a plus too. At least she has a decent income to pay for it. Also pay attention how she ordens her music sheets. If it's one chaotic mess. My experience is how greater the mess, how worse the lesson.

It's just my humble opinion.

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#1704404 - 06/29/11 04:24 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
CMohr Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 07/24/09
Posts: 1027
Loc: Oregon
Do you have a local performing arts center near you? In many areas they offer private lessons on various instruments, besides dance, etc. And, many of these centers attract the adult student because they offer lessons year round from beginner to fairly advanced,(not just summer classes for school children). My teacher teaches at ours, and has his separate roster of students.
_________________________
Think less - play more



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#1704417 - 06/29/11 04:44 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Don't look for a teacher. Look for other adults who are already doing what you want to be doing, and ask them about their teachers.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1704435 - 06/29/11 05:09 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4669
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Simply ask questions. Be sure to ask if adult students are treated any differently than school age students, (they should be). Ask for some phone numbers of that teacher's other adult students. Listen carefully to the responses you get.

I thought I found a perfect teacher because she said she liked working with adults. She was pleasant enough but it took me a while to realize that I was at a severe disadvantage because she gave all the best repertoire, recital and master class opportunites to her school-aged students. I didn't realize that her main focus was to enter her school-aged students in competitions to enhance her reputation. She would get very upset if I acted like an adult and disagreed with her opinions. She expected me to follow her rigid youth-oriented syllabus which included among other things, keeping track of my practice time, competing in her trill speed contest, and being admonished and compared to her young students because I wasn't able to put in enough practice hours because of a demanding work week. I thought those requirements were ridiculous for an adult, but she was adamant. I found her stiffling and finally left her with relief.

P.S. The happy ending: I found an absolutely fantastic teacher who is challenging me like never before! He is a delight to work with and, yes, he was recommended by some adult friends of mine.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1704450 - 06/29/11 05:39 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
ShiroKuro Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3235
Loc: not in Japan anymore
As Gooddog illustrates quite clearly, it's not whether a teacher says s/he likes teaching adults, but how they conduct the lesson and how they treat their adult students, that matters. You might ask teachers how many other adult students they currently have, and what levels those adults are at. This will give you an idea at least of whether the teacher has experience teaching adults. And then you probably need to ask for a trial lesson, or pay for, say, a month's worth of lessons without committing to a longer term. It's hard to evaluate a teacher without being taught by him/her.

Good luck, the payoff for finding a good teacher is more than worth the time and effort it takes!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1704455 - 06/29/11 05:43 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2402
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Deborah made a lot of great suggestions based on her experience.

I found a neat community school near my workplace. I talked to the owner (who I have been getting to know through various work related projects). I told her about my needs, and that I needed to have an instructor who is comfortable and understands working with adults.

I am not be able to do weekly lessons because I need more time in between sessions to be able to get enough practice time in. I was impressed with how carefully the school owner listened to me, and introduced me to one of her teachers she thought would be a good match. She gave me a free 30-minute introductory session. That was great because I got meet my teacher and ask questions, and I got a feel for what his overall style was like.

The school was quite flexible in letting me work out a "schedule lessons as needed" approach rather than a rigid lesson schedule that will be impossible for me to keep.

This also brings up another matter you might think about. Be clear with yourself about what you want for yourself and communicate that to the teacher.

Good luck with finding a new teacher!
_________________________
Carl


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#1704464 - 06/29/11 05:53 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
sharisnotes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 35
Loc: MO
Thanks for all of the suggestions. Guess I'll just have to be asking around. I was kind of hoping that there would be a "database" of qualified teachers that could be searched by location or proximity.
I probably work on computers too much...

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#1704473 - 06/29/11 06:10 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
ShiroKuro Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/26/04
Posts: 3235
Loc: not in Japan anymore
Ah yes, it would be nice if there was a database of piano teachers that we could simply consult. Well, actually, sometimes there are. But sometimes, the best teachers are not listed on them. My city has a registry of piano teachers, my piano teacher is not on there. I have never asked why, but I suspect it's because she can't really take on too many more students. If I had limited my search to that data base, I would never have found her.

Anyway, I am sure you will be able to find someone, please let us know how it goes when you do!
_________________________
Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u




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#1704482 - 06/29/11 06:25 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
david_a Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 2913
Originally Posted By: 555keys
Thanks for all of the suggestions. Guess I'll just have to be asking around. I was kind of hoping that there would be a "database" of qualified teachers that could be searched by location or proximity.
I probably work on computers too much...
If you do find such a database (and they do exist, sporadically at least), you can assume that it's poorly maintained or even unmaintained.
_________________________
(I'm a piano teacher.)

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#1704681 - 06/30/11 12:29 AM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
EmptySpace Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/14/10
Posts: 212
Loc: Ohio
FWIW, you could try this:

http://www.mtnacertification.org/

Plug in the area, instrument, and zip in the left column and see what it turns up for you.

YMMV (of course).
_________________________
I'm a masochist. I play the piano for pleasure.

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#1704709 - 06/30/11 02:28 AM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
PaperClip Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/21/09
Posts: 496
Loc: Amsterdam, Holland
If you want the best teacher, search for a young professional who started as an adult. Just ask who her or his teacher was. smile
_________________________
Chris

Playing since May 02 2009

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#1704725 - 06/30/11 03:53 AM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: gooddog]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3328
Loc: Scotland
Originally Posted By: gooddog


She expected me to follow her rigid youth-oriented syllabus which included among other things, keeping track of my practice time, competing in her trill speed contest,


OMG! eek Was that a 'trill speed contest'? Now I've heard it all...

Wouldn't let that teacher near any of my kids either.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


www.justfingers.co.uk
www.babysinging.co.uk

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#1704869 - 06/30/11 11:23 AM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: ten left thumbs]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4669
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: gooddog


She expected me to follow her rigid youth-oriented syllabus which included among other things, keeping track of my practice time, competing in her trill speed contest,


OMG! eek Was that a 'trill speed contest'? Now I've heard it all...

Wouldn't let that teacher near any of my kids either.
Yes, there also were scale and arpeggio contests which she had proudly posted on her wall. sick
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1704962 - 06/30/11 01:43 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: gooddog]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2402
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: gooddog
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
Originally Posted By: gooddog


She expected me to follow her rigid youth-oriented syllabus which included among other things, keeping track of my practice time, competing in her trill speed contest,


OMG! eek Was that a 'trill speed contest'? Now I've heard it all...

Wouldn't let that teacher near any of my kids either.
Yes, there also were scale and arpeggio contests which she had proudly posted on her wall. sick


How trilling for you! yawn


Edited by griffin2417 (07/01/11 11:01 AM)
Edit Reason: I misspelled my lousy pun
_________________________
Carl


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#1705290 - 06/30/11 10:15 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: gooddog]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: gooddog
... competing in her trill speed contest..


Holy carp! shocked
I've never heard of such a thing.
I would have been out of there in a second once I heard that and that they insisted on treating you like a adolescent.
It was tough enough being an adolescent once and having to deal with idiotic adults so there's no way I would want to go through that again.
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1705315 - 06/30/11 11:08 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4669
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Yes, she was pretty horrendous. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt so I hung on for 10 miserable months. Two things finally pushed me to leave her. First, she invited me to participate in a master class, then changed her mind, (only school aged students would participate), then changed it again and then again. Also she denied me the opportunity to study a piece I was passionate to learn because another student was working on it. I won't share her name publically, but if anyone wants to avoid her and is in the Kirkland, Washington area, send me a PM.

Again, I don't want to sound only negative. I did find a truly marvelous teacher.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1705335 - 06/30/11 11:52 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
sharisnotes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 35
Loc: MO
I only hope that it's not necessary to go through too many teachers like that to find a good one. Not into trill contests.
I've found several names on the nmta site. I'll have to narrow the list down & start interviewing.
I also called a piano dealer in town but the referral was not a good match. She enjoys teaching beginners. I'm at the intermediate to advanced level.

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#1705448 - 07/01/11 08:32 AM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
PianoStudent88 Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 2978
Loc: Maine
gooddog, your post about not being permitted to join the master class illustrates the thing I would be most looking for in a teacher for adults, which is that they should afford me the same opportunities, and push me technically at least as hard, as they push their kid students.

At the same time of course as adapting their teaching for the different cognitive and motivational nature of an adult vs. a kid, possible musical background, and so on.
_________________________
Ebaug(maj7)

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#1705598 - 07/01/11 12:46 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4669
Loc: Seattle area, WA
You also need someone who understands that adults have adult responsibilities and it is not always possible to practice as much as you'd like to.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1705604 - 07/01/11 01:01 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: gooddog]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2402
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: gooddog
You also need someone who understands that adults have adult responsibilities and it is not always possible to practice as much as you'd like to.



THANK YOU!!! And as an adult handling my responsibilities, I have to prioritize what gets done, and when it gets done. This was a litmus test I used to discern whether a potential teacher was right for me. The teacher I decided to go with seems to totally understand this and we've gotten along good so far.
_________________________
Carl


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#1705631 - 07/01/11 01:39 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4669
Loc: Seattle area, WA
My goodness. Everyone is so NICE here in the ABF. Pianist Corner has gotten awfully biting lately.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1705635 - 07/01/11 01:46 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: gooddog]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11183
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: gooddog
... I didn't realize that her main focus was to enter her school-aged students in competitions to enhance her reputation. ... I thought those requirements were ridiculous for an adult, but she was adamant.


I would say that this attitude is just as detrimental to children, and they have the misfortune of not being able to speak up or change teachers. A teacher's goals should be to build a student's skills at the instrument, and create an understanding of music since the two go hand in hand. Activities that serve to make either the teacher or students look good (therefore the parents), or both do not serve those goals.

Turn this around and you could say that a teacher who aims to give skills to young students is also good for older students since that need remains the same.

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#1705653 - 07/01/11 02:15 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: gooddog]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2402
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: gooddog
My goodness. Everyone is so NICE here in the ABF. Pianist Corner has gotten awfully biting lately.


Yes, I've noticed the nastiness too. Though, we've had some of that as well here at ABF. I like both, however. Everyday, I get invaluable insights from several of the forums.
_________________________
Carl


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#1705730 - 07/01/11 04:25 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: PianoStudent88]
A Rebours Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 220
Originally Posted By: PianoStudent88
gooddog, your post about not being permitted to join the master class illustrates the thing I would be most looking for in a teacher for adults, which is that they should afford me the same opportunities, and push me technically at least as hard, as they push their kid students.

At the same time of course as adapting their teaching for the different cognitive and motivational nature of an adult vs. a kid, possible musical background, and so on.



I have had this type of conversation with my teacher and as I get further along in my piano studies (5 years) I keep refining my requests of what direction we should be taking so I can keep progressing to a high level. Recently I re-confirmed with her that what we were doing, over the appropriate time frame, would be equal to preparing a younger student to enter into a bachelor's degree in piano performance at a college or university. Her curriculum with me includes all of the same things her younger serious students get: scales, arpeggios in all keys, theory, analysis of the pieces I am playing, classical repertoire from all eras, technique through the music plus exercises, recitals. If there is a particular composer's music I'd like to learn in more depth she will find pieces that are at my level, or a challenge, and we discuss them. She always gets challenge pieces to push me knowing that I'll be able to accomplish the piece with some work. We have a very open dialogue and once my teacher becomes aware of my thoughts she adds more and more. I have had doubts about whether my technical level is advancing towards what one would require to enter as a freshman in college, but we discussed my concern and she's added more technical work.

I think it really helps if you can be clear at the outset about what level of proficiency you want to attain, then ask questions of how the teacher plans to get you there and whether that approach includes all of the same content that a young student would get from elementary through high school piano lessons.

If after you have given the teacher the chance and what you are getting in lessons does not match what they told you nor do they make adjustments after you have discussions then it is time to move on. Sometimes you get the right fit the first time and other times not. I know it can be frustrating when you feel you've wasted a precious amount of time trying to reach your goal.

I know that sometimes I don't articulate my questions as clearly as I should, but I keep asking. The more I've been learning piano my questions keep evolving, too, so my questions become more refined.

Once my teacher knows what's on my mind she makes adjustments. She, fortunately, is NOT like Gooddog's first teacher.

AR
_________________________
Sauter 122 Masterclass (M-Line)

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#1705904 - 07/01/11 09:22 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: gooddog]
Sparky McBiff Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/09/10
Posts: 1112
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
Originally Posted By: gooddog
My goodness. Everyone is so NICE here in the ABF. Pianist Corner has gotten awfully biting lately.


Yes, it's generally very supportive here.
Some real good folks.

There's lots of hairpulling over on Pianist's corner.
I make sure I stock up on the popcorn before I look in over there.
_________________________
Hailun 198







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#1705945 - 07/01/11 10:44 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: Sparky McBiff]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4669
Loc: Seattle area, WA
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
Originally Posted By: gooddog
My goodness. Everyone is so NICE here in the ABF. Pianist Corner has gotten awfully biting lately.


Yes, it's generally very supportive here.
Some real good folks.

There's lots of hairpulling over on Pianist's corner.
I make sure I stock up on the popcorn before I look in over there.
laugh That's a good attitude! It's only been ugly lately. It's interesting how the mood over there ebbs and flows as people join and leave. There are some really terrific people in PC, I just haven't heard from them much lately.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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#1705990 - 07/02/11 12:32 AM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: Sparky McBiff]
griffin2417 Offline

Silver Supporter until Dec 29 2012


Registered: 12/12/10
Posts: 2402
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Originally Posted By: Sparky McBiff
Originally Posted By: gooddog
My goodness. Everyone is so NICE here in the ABF. Pianist Corner has gotten awfully biting lately.


Yes, it's generally very supportive here.
Some real good folks.

There's lots of hairpulling over on Pianist's corner.
I make sure I stock up on the popcorn before I look in over there.


Popcorn!! I knew something was missing while I was sitting on the sidelines and taking it all in. laugh
_________________________
Carl


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#1706166 - 07/02/11 12:02 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
sharisnotes Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/10
Posts: 35
Loc: MO
I found a few organizatinos who have searchable databases. nmta was helpful & I also discovered that I when I searched for database for my state as well as our neighboring state, I found local organizations with searchable databases.
On to some interviews.......

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#1706185 - 07/02/11 12:47 PM Re: How to find an instructor who enjoys working with adults [Re: sharisnotes]
gooddog Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/08/08
Posts: 4669
Loc: Seattle area, WA
MTNA is a good organization but don't assume all MTNA teachers are good. The "trill contest" teacher I mentioned above is very active in MTNA.
_________________________
Best regards,

Deborah

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