Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

Gifts and supplies for the musician
SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
Ad (Piano Sing)
How to Make Your Piano Sing
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pianoteq
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
Who's Online
117 registered (aceydawg, accordeur, AndyJoe, 40 invisible), 1570 Guests and 19 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Quick Links to Useful Piano & Music Resources
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano & Music Accessories
*Music School Listings
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Pianos
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >
Topic Options
#2002098 - 12/20/12 11:02 AM Frustrated with teaching adults!
pianogirl1978 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/11
Posts: 104
Loc: Nebraska
Okay, give me some pointers here on how you structure the lesson with adults. I am so tired of teaching unmotivated adults! Why do they sign up for piano lessons in the first place? I think maybe my lessons are boring them. One student I teach shows up like she is going to a funeral each week and slumps at the piano and acts very disinterested (She is in her early 20's). I think she thought she was gonna be playing mozart after the first few weeks? Sorry to be so blunt and negative, but this is how it has been with my last 2 adult students. I am so used to teaching kids that I think maybe I am not going about teaching adults correctly. I am teaching out of the Piano adventures accelerated for the Older Beginner book level 1. How do you all differ in your teaching with older students?


Edited by pianogirl1978 (12/20/12 11:03 AM)
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska

Top
(ad) Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#2002122 - 12/20/12 12:12 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
A Rebours Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 222
Originally Posted By: pianogirl1978
Okay, give me some pointers here on how you structure the lesson with adults. I am so tired of teaching unmotivated adults! Why do they sign up for piano lessons in the first place? I think maybe my lessons are boring them. One student I teach shows up like she is going to a funeral each week and slumps at the piano and acts very disinterested (She is in her early 20's). I think she thought she was gonna be playing mozart after the first few weeks? Sorry to be so blunt and negative, but this is how it has been with my last 2 adult students. I am so used to teaching kids that I think maybe I am not going about teaching adults correctly.


I am not a teacher, but an adult student who has been taking lessons for 6 1'2 years and can offer you my thoughts from an adult student's perspective.

First, you asked why your adults signed up for piano lessons in the first place. Have you ASKED them why they signed up? Did you ask them what their long term goals were for learning the piano? By having this discussion you will get clues as to what they want to accomplish. But, at the beginning beginning adult students may not have an idea of their goals because they have no real idea about what it takes to learn to play the piano. But it would be helpful to them if you laid out a plan of what your lessons will accomplish so they can have an idea of where their instruction will take them.

(By the way, I had a clear objective in mind when I started back with piano after many, many years of not playing, but that's another story.)

You also say that you are so used to teaching kids. Why do you think that teaching adults the same skills that are necessary to play the piano would be any different for adults?

It doesn't matter what age you are teaching since all piano students need to develop the same skills to play the piano. I think sometimes people who teach kids forget that adults need the same skill sets if one wants to really learn to play the piano.

In terms of materials for adults, I can't help you there. However, my teacher started with the Faber and Faber Adult Piano Adventures Book 1. But after that book, we just moved on to no method book and went to repertoire and theory books. But, I could already read music from when I was a kid.
We also refined things as I clearly explained my objectives - learning proper technique and all the the skills I would need to play well at an advanced level which involves serious practice. I also study theory. I also had discussions with my teacher that I wanted her to teach me the way she taught all of her students that began in 2nd or 3rd grade and finished with her when they left high school. So once we established how serious I was she's taught me as if I am preparing to major in music in college.

Now, I understand that all adults aren't like me, but everyone does needs a set of basic skills if they do want to play the piano.

Helping your adult students set short and long term goals will help in the process.

Repertoire interests - have you asked (or have your students told you) about the kind of music they would like to learn? If not, you can ask them so they have music to learn that they like. Technique and other skills can be taught through the repertoire.

Can you describe for us exactly what you do at a lesson with your adult students? Maybe we can give you more specific ideas if we have an idea of what activities you pursue at a lesson.

A R
_________________________
Sauter 122 Masterclass (M-Line)

Top
#2002123 - 12/20/12 12:17 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
Can I join the club too?

I have some wonderful adult students. I have some frustrating child students.

But, I can understand bad behaviour, or resistance to learning, from children. Mostly their parents (not them) decided on lessons, and they are children after all. I just find the same behaviour more frustrating in adults, because I expect them to behave like adults.

Sometimes, though, adults are just very tired in a lesson due to working hard. Or they haven't practised because they're putting in 14 hour days. That's different, I can give them lots of slack then just for keeping going.



Edited by ten left thumbs (12/20/12 12:18 PM)
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


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

Top
#2002132 - 12/20/12 12:37 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1027
Loc: Irvine, CA
Adults usually has unrealistic expectation. Not until you change their mindset, they are not going to stay longer than 4 months.
Just my experience.
_________________________
http://ezpiano.org
Piano lessons in Irvine, CA
Watch the introduction video on YouTube
@ http://bit.ly/Ready123

Top
#2002164 - 12/20/12 01:22 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7410
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I know one teacher who demands one year's worth of tuition from adult students. At first, I thought this was unreasonable, but upon reflection, I realized that with most adult students, it was the only reasonable approach. Oh, you'll still hear many/most of the usual excuses for not being prepared, but at least your frustrations can be ameliorated by knowing you've been compensated for your efforts.
_________________________
"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

Top
#2002216 - 12/20/12 03:07 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11809
Loc: Canada
Pianogirl1978, the very first thing is that your adult students will come in with expectations, not know what piano study is like, how they should work with you, how they should work at home, and just how the whole thing functions. Your young child comes in and does what he's told and things just happen.

Do you address the expectations? What is it that this adult wants to learn, how does she picture it, what questions does she have? Do you do that? Then do you also explain what is involved - that consistent practice over at least 5 days/week for several years is needed, that progress may appear slow but skills are being built that will come together, etc.

I believe strongly that adults need the same foundations that kids do, and that they should be learned as physically through real actions as is the case for kids. It is often stated that adults can conceptualize and that is indeed a strength. But that can lead to too abstract thinking, imagining what a thing is like and then trying to see/hear what you imagine.

Another thing is approaching things. If an adult can imagine a piece as a whole, then she may try to play it as a whole, and make it sound perfect. In a sense children have a more abstract thinking, because they can go one note at a time, one section at a time, which in fact is part of what musicians do. So do you guide your students along this way of working: chunking, working on one layer at a time in smaller sections (get the right notes and fingering, now concentrate on timing, now work with dynamics). Or do you have them take the piece home, to produce next week at which point you make corrections? If so they may be playing it end to end, trying to make everything perfect at once, for example.

I agree that there is attitude out there - maybe a lot of it - but there are also causes and solutions. I am in between being an adult student and being involved in some teaching.

Personally I don't care much for the "adult" method books, "accelerated" etc. My reason: they go by the premise that the typical adult wants to "advance" fast, can conceptualize, and wants to skim the surface. These are exactly the things that I don't want, because I know from experience that the answers (for me) like in getting foundations deeply.

Top
#2002231 - 12/20/12 03:34 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11809
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
At first, I thought this was unreasonable,...

First instincts often prove to be the right ones. This one is a case in point. Why weed out motivated students, and set yourself up for a year of misery with the moneyed who don't care?

Top
#2002243 - 12/20/12 03:58 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
On the contrary, only motivated students would put down $1000-2000 in one shot. Even rich people don't throw around that kind of money on a service that takes place over time. I think this is a great idea actually.

Top
#2002246 - 12/20/12 04:08 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: Candywoman]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11809
Loc: Canada
Students who have money to burn will jump into things frivolously. Those who have to fight for the chance will grab it with both fists and use what they are given for all that it's worth. That was my idea of motivation. Of course the motivated student who does not have this money will be locked out of lessons: it is that simple.

Ir makes sense to get at the cause of things.

This is discriminatory and fair. I repeat: John's first instinct was the right one.

Top
#2002260 - 12/20/12 04:27 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
LimeFriday Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/02/09
Posts: 303
Loc: Australia
As someone who has been an adult student - one of the things that gets in the way of enjoyment of lessons is the frustration at not being able to do something quickly. As adults we get used to being able to master things quickly - and when that doesn't happen frustration and lack of motivation can seep in. I never lost my motivation - but I certainly got frustrated - and then anxious when I couldn't play like I wanted to be able to play.

It was only until I found a teacher who was willing to talk to me about anxiety, about expectations, and about perfectionism, and to talk to me as though I was an adult that I began to really enjoy my lessons.
Earlier teachers who were more used to teaching children tended to approach lessons with me as though I was a child. It felt uncomfortable and awkward and in the worst cases - patronising.

It was also about both my teacher and I being open about the occasional time pressures that lead to less practice - or other commitments that meant I couldn't make a lesson. Those are factors that can really create frustration in a teacher - and being up front and open about those limitations can open up a discussion about expectations and what both student and teacher are willing to accept. As an adult I was aware that not being able to put in 100% some weeks would be super frustrating to me and to any teacher - and 'getting into trouble' was something I found awful - because I already frustrated and upset with myself for NOT being able to put in the time I wanted to put in.

Finally - the idea of paying for a years worth of tuition would have ruled me out completely. I could barely scrape up the terms worth of tuition up front! Lack of ready money doesn't mean lack of commitment!

Top
#2002262 - 12/20/12 04:29 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: keystring]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7410
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
At first, I thought this was unreasonable,...

First instincts often prove to be the right ones. This one is a case in point. Why weed out motivated students, and set yourself up for a year of misery with the moneyed who don't care?

We've discursed this subject many times here, but to recap, most "good" teachers become so frustrated with adults that they simply stop taking them. I suspect the OP is on that road. Charging a year's worth of tuition up front will weed out many non-committed students as well as, unfortunately, many who cannot find a way to make such a payment up front. Don't take it out on teachers, take it out on your fellow students.
_________________________
"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

Top
#2002270 - 12/20/12 04:52 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
Bluoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/20/11
Posts: 421
Loc: Canada
You need to map out exactly what you guys will be doing, and ask for his or her goals + input. Let them know that the basics are the same, whether you're 8 years old or 40 years old.

If they don't have the patience to go through the basics and learn it right, then ask them to find another teacher who will skip the basics for them and teach them the flashy stuff.

Top
#2002271 - 12/20/12 04:55 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11809
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook

We've discussed this subject many times here, but to recap, most "good" teachers become so frustrated with adults that they simply stop taking them. I suspect the OP is on that road. Charging a year's worth of tuition up front will weed out many non-committed students as well as, unfortunately, many who cannot find a way to make such a payment up front. Don't take it out on teachers, take it out on your fellow students.

Yes, we have discussed the subject many times. We have both invested time. There are some common things that cause difficulties and it is worthwhile looking at them. I have (again) listed them. Attitude is one cause among some people. It's not the only thing out there.

This idea does not address the actual root of problems - and there may be various ones. If students have misconceptions about lessons ---- or if students are taught the wrong way because of being adults (make them go fast, don't do basics, lessons for a whole year while being lost, to a mutual increasing frustration and dread. Getting at causes seems more productive imho.

It is not "unfortunate" when good students get locked out of lessons. It is tragic. Besides, how many times have teachers been treated like a commodity - I think you said "used tissue" once - by people who have money to throw away.

Quote:
Don't take it out on teachers, take it out on your fellow students.

Where have I "taken it out" on anyone? I am not just a student. I am also a teacher, and as such I am used to looking at problems and finding solutions. Where learning is involved there is a role for both teacher and student. I wrote a long post, and put thought, knowledge, and experience into it. Nowhere was I "taking it out" on anyone. Doing so doesn't help anyone.


Edited by keystring (12/20/12 05:43 PM)

Top
#2002309 - 12/20/12 06:03 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7410
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
KS, using the term "locked out" is, IMO, pejorative. Most teachers who charge 3 mos, 6 mos, or a year up front have obviously been burned often enough that they've had it.
_________________________
"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

Top
#2002331 - 12/20/12 06:49 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11809
Loc: Canada
I intended a factual thing, with no values attached. It meant it as "being unable to do attend something". I've heard the expression used when someone could not come up with tuition fees, and was not allowed to attend courses, so that he was "locked out of" the university. What is the correct term for this?

The main purpose of my posts was to look at causes and solutions. I don't want to rewrite my whole post. If, for example, a student has the wrong idea of what lessons entail and what the expectations are, then the solution is to address those expectations. If early failure by adults is caused by the tendency to fast forward through grades, which I've seen recommended, then the solution again is to change this. These kinds of things are my focus.


Edited by keystring (12/20/12 07:24 PM)
Edit Reason: shortened

Top
#2002372 - 12/20/12 08:32 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
Shutoku Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/11/12
Posts: 11
First off, everyone is different. They have different abilities, different time availability for practice, different expectations, different tolerance for kiddy songs, etc.
So I think talking with the adult is really important, and will give you a frame work to build your lesson plan around.

Second off, the simple truth is many adults, want a social interaction as part of the lessons. I know it is not ideally what we are paid for, but I often have students who want to spend half or more of a lesson just chatting. It is something they need in their life. Accordingly I have to adjust my expectations for both what they may achieve in between lessons and during lessons. Our emotions are always intimately connected with our playing and our ability to learn and to concentrate. If they need to offload a bit, then so be it.

Lastly, I'm not a huge believer in book courses for adults or older beginners. Inspiration is what makes all of us want to play, so I try with all students to find out what inspires them, and then find ways of teaching them that will build on their inspiration. It means I have to work harder finding or creating material for them, but at least the result is students interested in what they are doing.

If others ask for a year's tuition in advance and it works for them, good for them. For me I ask for a months fees to be paid on the first lesson of the month, and I encourage post-dated cheques for the year, adult or children.
I have no opinion on how others choose to collect fees.


Edited by Shutoku (12/20/12 08:34 PM)

Top
#2002385 - 12/20/12 09:27 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
Candywoman Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/14/03
Posts: 855
I don't believe in this concept of being locked out. A piano student can save up and begin the following year. People save for vacations, cars, and furniture, so why not for an experience of a lifetime?

Likewise, a university student or his parents should have been saving for months towards an education. One important thing you learn at university is how to plan. So if by chance, you haven't planned for your education, now's your opportunity to learn about planning by saving for the next term's tuition.

Besides, I'm not convinced everybody's entitled to a university education per se. They are making university so easy now that anybody can get in. The universities are crying for students. Too many people end up with degrees and compete for the same jobs. What the U.S. and Canada both need is more people in technical fields.

In short, I'm not worried about people being locked out of an education.

Top
#2002390 - 12/20/12 09:43 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11809
Loc: Canada
That shouldn't get an answer. Rather than reading these kinds of things, I would like to see the issue addressed. How can the specific problems being encountered be addressed? I and a few others tried to give it a start.

Top
#2002399 - 12/20/12 10:18 PM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
Michael_99 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/28/12
Posts: 935
Loc: Canada Alberta
Adult anything, or adult musicians can be all over the map. They can be beginners or retreads. Beginners being beginners have no idea what being a musician involves. Retreads, left music anywhere from 5, 10 , 20, or 30 years ago. And the why is probably complex. The sadest thing about adults is that their commitment to daily life can be huge, ie family, kids, jobs, health problems to name a few. The reality of playing a instrument, means to never put it down or put it down for long. Practice and practice daily for years!

So as a teacher you have to go step by step what can the student realisticly handle. It is something the student and the teacher will discover together.

I give you an example of myself. When I turned 40 I had a chance to play in an adult band. The ad in the paper said musicians at all levels welcomed. Having never played an instument before except learning the treble and bass clefs -- I thought I was a beginner with some music knowledge. The conducted suggested I play a triangle and someone whispered get a sax, they are easy, just push the buttons and blow. Sounds cool and within 24 hours had rented an alto, didn't know how to play and showed up. It gets worse! Within days and weeks, I learned that knowing the staff was only 1 of a 1,000 things I didn't know - like timing, counting, measures, dynamics, rhythm, you name it. Got an excellent professional sax teacher. I told the teacher I as committed and worked hard to prepare my lessions each week. Never cancelled a lesson - ever. No matter what I always showed up and did what I could. I had a very demanding professional job, sax lessons, played in the band on Thursday night band that I read the ad about in the paper. It turned out all the members of the band played in high school, college, etc. Not me, of course, but everybody in the band tired to help me and they did. I would get lost and they would point where I was supposed to be. It was an awesome experience sitting in a band of 50 members who really knew how to play and play well. Well, within days or weeks I learned of an adult band of beginners on Monday nights. Soon I was playing first alto with another guy in that band and 30 other people in that band. The conducted said he wanted to start on Tuesday nights a beginners jazz band and also one of the guys in the community band started a blues band, so I joint the blues band and the Jazz band. The conductor said they needed a bari sax player and because few people could play/afford an bari sax, the conductor said not worry, if you have a bari you can play anywhere because they need you! I could play what I could, so bought a bari sax and I was playing something like 5 nights a week all beginner. The time of my life at 40 - who would have known? So the poor teacher had a student who was playing by the seat of his pants and not a lot of time to prepare for my lessions, but a heck of a lot of experience. I would show up for a lessons and show him some music that I couldn't play and he would help me. My first intention was just to have a lesson and prepare my lessons as a dedicated musican but opportunity inteferred. So I wasn't the best student as I had hoped, but I learned sooooo much about everything music in the bigger picture and now in my 60s I am loving learning and playing the piano and all of that experience collectively in what we say as the school of hard knocks, was worth its weight in gold.

So I guess what I am saying is that: take the adult student, and the lesson money, do the best that you can with what he/she has to offer because in the longer picture no one really knows where their musical journey will take them. After 3 years of playing the conducted had a heart attack and died. He was a one of a kind and needless to say the bands collapsed.

A lot of the women who played in the community band did so to meet guys - middleaged and one night out a week, divorced and picking their life up again with two chldren in their early 20s. Kids are the same too, some motivated, some not. A lot of the people I met during those years came from a family who at least had one parent who was a musician. If you are trying to becoming a musician alone it can be very, very difficult even with a teacher. Think of the billions of instuments that are sold yearly and how many of those people don't play after a few months of reality of what being a musician really is. My sax teacher said to me that: you see that sax player on the corner there, just to be able to play like that it would be 10 years. Wow, I thought?


Edited by Michael_99 (12/20/12 10:33 PM)

Top
#2002430 - 12/21/12 12:48 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: Michael_99]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7410
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
I should learn not to post on Thursday mornings - it's my long teaching day, beginning at 11:30 AM and running almost continuously until 9 PM. It's hard to squeeze in a response. Last week, I assigned my last student of the day, an 8th grader, new music. The Debussy Arabesque, n.1, the Allemande from Bach's 5th French Suite, and a Mozart Sonata, K 283. She came to her lesson today with each reasonably well learned, so that we could begin focusing in on more subtle issues in the music, some parts already memorized. Now, compare this with a recent adult student, who stuck at it for a whopping 2 1/2 months, 2 months of which were excuses why she didn't have time to practice (this was a retired individual BTW). How frustrating do you think this is for a teacher? Be honest. Now, I only charge a month in advance, but it's so darn frustrating as a teacher that you just as soon not have to deal with the problem at all. I now use prescreening to discourage adults from taking lessons, unless they are dead serious and in the real world, few seem to be.

I don't know if the OP needs the income or not, but there are times when it's better to forgo the income and the accompanying frustration. But that's an individual call, and quite dependent upon the personality of the teacher. I, for one, can sit with an adult student and chat away for an entire hour, and cover interesting topics all related to music. But that's not what I really want to do for a living, so why should I or another teacher be subject to that "social" demand?

Keystring makes several valid points, but basically, we see the world differently (on this topic). KS is looking at it from a student's perspective, I'm looking at it as my source of income, livelihood, and also what it takes to maintain my sanity. I mentioned what my colleague does (charging a year's tuition in advance) as one possible solution, because, at least from my perspective, if I've paid for something, I want to get something in return. Yes, it's external motivation, but it's still motivation.

I think that there's another issue at play here, which has been mentioned in other posts, but not in this one. I like to bring students to mastery, from start to finish, or if they are transfer students, from where they are to mastery. Others aren't so hung up on this. One of my local colleagues teaches out of a store front, and has dozens of adult students every year. They come and go, but he's happy and it works for him. I'd be frustrated beyond measure.

So with that, I'm turning in for the evening, and wishing everyone the best!
_________________________
"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

Top
#2002442 - 12/21/12 01:22 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: John v.d.Brook]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5558
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Now, compare this with a recent adult student, who stuck at it for a whopping 2 1/2 months, 2 months of which were excuses why she didn't have time to practice (this was a retired individual BTW). How frustrating do you think this is for a teacher?




[playing the Devil's Advocate here...]

I could say the same thing about several of my kid students. There just isn't very many "serious" piano students to go around, regardless of age. For every student who advances enough to play Beethoven sonatas, I get 20 who can't find their way out of method books.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

Top
#2002445 - 12/21/12 01:36 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
Peter K. Mose Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/06/12
Posts: 1376
Loc: Toronto, Ontario
If pianogirl thinks her lessons might be boring her adult students, she may be on the right track to amending her teaching style. I can't give her pointers, except to urge her to try some other materials. She'll make her way, or else she may find out that adults simply are not her bag.

I have a far greater percentage of adult students in my studio than most piano teachers have. Indeed I consider it an area of my expertise. These students don't come and go; they stay for years and years. They love the piano, and they love music. It is a privilege to work with them, no matter what their skill levels; most are beginners or early intermediates.

Top
#2002447 - 12/21/12 01:40 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11809
Loc: Canada
John, I am looking at it from a teacher's perspective, not a student's. Everything that I wrote in my long post analyzing the various potential obstacles and possible solutions was as a teacher. This was not done off the fly - several years of looking into this is behind it. I am also an entrepreneur like yourself, and am very aware of business aspects. Additionally I have taught one-on-one so I know about that part too.

I agree wholeheartedly that it's not worth your while to teach a student who doesn't practice and comes in with excuses, of any age. But you didn't say "lazy student".
Quote:
One of my local colleagues teaches out of a store front, and has dozens of adult students every year.

As long as your local colleague teaches seriously enough, solidly enough, and doesn't dole out the so-called "adult" fare, sure, why not? If I'm going to put in that amount of work then I want to be studying with someone reliable who takes it as seriously as I do. Fortunately, currently, I am.


Top
#2002459 - 12/21/12 03:20 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: keystring]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I am a serious adult learner. Not all adults are serious and not all kids are serious. I work on the required homework, have taken some grades. Now I am having a break from grades as they are time consuming and I want to learn in a more relaxed way. I will go back to grades but in the future. I want a break from having to worry about getting up to speed and memorising scales and so on, in time to sit an exam. Life is too short and learning at a less time consuming speed will mean I am still learning but with no testing involved. why do we do these grades? I think grades are only useful to use to get into full time music school or to use when applying for music jobs. Since I am not going to do either... grades are irrelevant. My teacher went up to Grade 7 and in order to get a job as a teacher she had to do Grade 7 to become employable. My school do not take teachers unless they have reached Grade 7. Also if you want to go on to take a degree I would imagine you would have to do up to Grade 8. But surely you could also prove you were up to that level by demonstrating you could play pieces at that level. My local church choir master and organist does not have a music qualification to his name, and yet he can play up to that level. It is just that he hates exams, refused to do them but still can play as well as any Grade 7 student with a Grade 7 certificate.

Top
#2002513 - 12/21/12 08:19 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
malkin Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/18/09
Posts: 2690
Loc: *sigh* Salt Lake City
If a student is bored at or with lessons, it could be the music, so changing music could help. Boredom could also come from the instruction--student may not be noticing improvement based on what teacher is providing. The remedy to this is trickier. Possibly establishing specific expectations--what to do/how to practice and what to expect (play these two measures slowly enough to be perfect 3x each day next week, then we will speed them up).

Skulking into a lesson seems to me like the student may be dismayed or ashamed at having worked hard and not accomplishing a desired result. If the teacher sets a realistic expectation and a strategy for achieving it then the student may be pleased with her work.
_________________________
A good student is one who makes the teacher feel like a good teacher.

Top
#2002521 - 12/21/12 08:35 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1019
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Seems we adult learners keep barging into the piano teachers' forum! Hope you teachers don't mind.

I think this really is all about student/teacher compatibility. Teaching adults is bound to demand more flexibility of approach, and not every teacher is willing and/or suited to that. But luckily there are many who are.

I hope that people won't get discouraged from venturing into teaching adults. They might love it, and they'll be fostering a lot of joy in people's lives. I think the profession as a whole would be losing something important if everyone decided that music learning is only for kids!
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

Top
#2002529 - 12/21/12 08:59 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
To the OP: Have you checked out this website? You might find some helpful ideas here:

Musical Fossils

I would also say that if one approach doesn't work, it might be worthwhile to try different ones.

However, I definitely understand your frustration. I have a friend who is in her late 50s, who has played folk music all her life as an amateur, and who always wanted to play the piano. She started lessons about 5 years ago, and her progress has been slow, largely because she doesn't want to do the basic things one has to do to learn an instrument.

She often comes to me for advice, or to get help with a piece. I am always amazed that even when the solutions to her issues are clear (e.g., pick easier pieces, practice small sections slowly, use a metronome, etc.), she refuses to do them and instead takes refuge in, "I'm just doing this for fun, I know I'm terrible at it." I was demonstrating to her once how I would practice a Bach Invention, and she said, "You mean you do that with everything you play?!"

I don't know how you break through that kind of resistance. Maybe you don't -- maybe you just have to take people as they come, and exercise lots of patience. If you can somehow get a student to learn a little bit at a time, maybe that's enough. After all, what is the goal?
_________________________
Recovering cellist, amateur pianist.


Check out my blog !


Top
#2002561 - 12/21/12 10:01 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
pianogirl1978 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/06/11
Posts: 104
Loc: Nebraska
Thank you to everyone who posted their ideas. I have interviewed this student and she has expressed that she would like to play more popular tunes, however, we are just starting out. Have only had 3 lessons, so there isn't a lot of popular music that she could play as of now. She needs to get the basics down. And I think we have a good rapport and we chat a little during our lesson, however I think it is just her personality that I don't like very much. Seems to be a negative person, very unmotivated. I think she was just bored and decided. "hmm maybe I'll take some piano lessons." That is the feeling I get from her. She is my only studetn so far at the music studio I just started teaching at. So I honestly dread having to drive there just for her lesson. I try to make the lessons as fun as possible, but I find it harder to do that with adults cuz with kids, I find I talk to them differently and I feel like I am talking down to an adult if I treat them like little kids. I guess the experience is good for me. But also the environment of the studio is different than the coziness of my home studio, so that could be why it is differnt teaching there too. It feel very institutional. I will keep trying new things with this student, however I don't see her lasting more than 6 months. Thanks for all the input everybody!


Edited by pianogirl1978 (12/21/12 10:02 AM)
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska

Top
#2002565 - 12/21/12 10:07 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: pianogirl1978]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3243
Loc: Virginia, USA
I started lessons in my 50s (though I'd been involved in voice and brass since maybe 9). And I've known a number of similar adults, few of whom achieved much of a skill level.

But they wanted to, and that's different from children.

By and large, children are there because their parents sent them, and their parents sent them for enrichment rather than to gain mastery.

None of the adults I've known were there for enrichment. They all wanted to gain some level of skill. They knew it would take some work (they didn't understand how much or how long, of course.)

Most of them did not succeed. Did their teachers fail them? In some cases clearly yes. There are no skill requirements for teaching, and if most of your students are children who will never gain mastery, you can never be detected. I've seen this with a friend of mine who's taken for several years without making progress. She actually practices, inefficiently and badly. She would be three times as accomplished if she'd had a decent teacher - 6 times, if the teaching were optimized for an adult.

We'll assume none of the teachers on the forum have any difficulty with competence! <g>

Possibly few though have given much thought to how an adult learner is different and how to customize instruction for one. Adults learn more slowly and with different mechanisms.

I think that should be emphasized. No matter how dedicated the student and skilled the teacher, adult progress will be slower. There are probably exceptions, I haven't seen any though. Both must expect this and not get frustrated.

Bertholy was the first golf instructor to use drills, and devised very specific ones for adults. He believed the best method for teaching the swing was goal oriented imitation, but found this method was not accessible to adults, so he invented something new.

A few years back I was on staff at a Big Ten university, and my wife babysat for the gymnastic coach. So I asked him to teach me some specific skill I'd always wanted to do, can't remember now what. He said no. It simply can't be done. That one had to be learned as a child, and he gave some specific reasons. Saved both of us some frustration on that one, I guess.
_________________________
gotta go practice

Top
#2002585 - 12/21/12 10:37 AM Re: Frustrated with teaching adults! [Re: AZNpiano]
John v.d.Brook Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/18/06
Posts: 7410
Loc: Olympia, Washington, USA
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: John v.d.Brook
Now, compare this with a recent adult student, who stuck at it for a whopping 2 1/2 months, 2 months of which were excuses why she didn't have time to practice (this was a retired individual BTW). How frustrating do you think this is for a teacher?

[playing the Devil's Advocate here...]

I could say the same thing about several of my kid students.

You could say that, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of them are HS aged. They probably get to their lessons every week; even if they haven't practiced well, they've at least touched the piano during the week. Their parents make sure your tuition check arrives on time. Even when their interest begins to wane, they respond well to positive motivation. When one of them offers up an excuse of "not having enough time to practice," you can offer to sit down with them and their parents and review their weekly and daily schedules to help them find practice time. Magically, the problem disappears, at least for several months.
_________________________
"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

Top
Page 1 of 4 1 2 3 4 >

Moderator:  Ken Knapp 
What's Hot!!

Happy Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving!
(ad) Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Yamaha CP Music Rest Promo
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
(ad) Piano Music Sale - Dover Publications
Piano Music Sale
Sheet Music Plus (125)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Hello all
by Jytte
11/27/14 02:10 PM
Happy Thanksgiving
by JoelW
11/27/14 01:12 PM
HAS ANYONE EVER PLAYED THIS?
by LuisFelix
11/27/14 12:29 PM
Piano evening at my teachers house
by Peter071
11/27/14 10:04 AM
Freelance collaborative pianist - money issues
by MiguelSousa
11/27/14 10:02 AM
Forum Stats
77067 Members
42 Forums
159399 Topics
2341526 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
Gift Ideas for Music Lovers!
Find the Perfect Gift for the Music Lovers on your List!
Visit our online store today.

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission