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#2181817 - 11/13/13 05:28 PM What to teach an adult in four lessons?
pianolassie Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/19/11
Posts: 21
Loc: Colorado
I have a parent who is interested in buying her husband a month of piano lessons. He can apparently tinker a bit on the piano. He can pick out a few melodies and can do a little bit of note reading with effort.

What would you suggest I teach him in four lessons? One thought I have in mind is to teach him some "party tricks" like improvisation techniques.

I plan on speaking with him as well about what he'd like to learn, but he may not know unless I give him some options.

Any other thoughts?


Edited by pianolassie (11/13/13 05:28 PM)
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#2181877 - 11/13/13 06:32 PM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: pianolassie]
adultpianist Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/01/12
Posts: 540
I do not understand why you are asking. You are the teacher so you know how to set the lesson.

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#2181884 - 11/13/13 06:40 PM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: pianolassie]
Whizbang Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/27/12
Posts: 824
Originally Posted By: pianolassie
I have a parent who is interested in buying her husband a month of piano lessons. He can apparently tinker a bit on the piano. He can pick out a few melodies and can do a little bit of note reading with effort.

What would you suggest I teach him in four lessons? One thought I have in mind is to teach him some "party tricks" like improvisation techniques.

I plan on speaking with him as well about what he'd like to learn, but he may not know unless I give him some options.

Any other thoughts?


12-bar blues?
_________________________
Whizbang
amateur ragtime pianist

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#2182078 - 11/14/13 02:30 AM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: pianolassie]
ten left thumbs Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/22/09
Posts: 3336
Loc: Scotland
I've had lots of requests like this. They've never actually gone through with it. One thought that 10 lessons would be enough for her husband to 'learn piano'.

Teach whatever you like.
_________________________
I am a competent teacher.


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

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#2182100 - 11/14/13 04:23 AM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: pianolassie]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11884
Loc: Canada
This reminds me of the posts where a spouse who doesn't play an instrument wants to buy a piano as a surprise gift for their husband or wife. They don't understand enough about it to know it is a personal choice that the recipient has to make. The same about "four piano lessons". You can't learn piano in four lessons - the wife can't know that.

If you're going to teach the piano-tinkering hubby any number of lessons, then you will know that lessons will give him the skills he probably doesn't have, and prevent him from eventually falling into a rut from poor habits and such. Essentially your four lessons are introductory. They can't be four "learning a piece or two". Wouldn't it start with talking to the husband about his goals, and a brief exploration about what piano learning is actually about? (If this ends up going ahead.)

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#2182123 - 11/14/13 06:47 AM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: keystring]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1039
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Originally Posted By: keystring
You can't learn piano in four lessons - the wife can't know that.



Or possibly she does know that, and this is her way of giving her husband some encouragement for his interest in piano. My husband once gave me a block of lessons as a gift. I'm sure he wasn't thinking that would be the end of the piano-learning story.
_________________________
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Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
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Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2182150 - 11/14/13 07:49 AM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: pianolassie]
TimR Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/04
Posts: 3250
Loc: Virginia, USA
Teach him how to practice?
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#2182185 - 11/14/13 09:12 AM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: jdw]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 542
Originally Posted By: jdw


Or possibly she does know that, and this is her way of giving her husband some encouragement for his interest in piano. My husband once gave me a block of lessons as a gift. I'm sure he wasn't thinking that would be the end of the piano-learning story.


I agree. I think very few people would be so naive as to think that four lessons is what it takes to learn to play piano (or to learn anything really). It is possible that this is just a trial period to let the spouse gain some idea on whether regular lessons is something that he has time for and wants to pursue as a long-term activity. Whether he has time for regular practice after each lesson, whether he is comfortable being a student again, etc.

I bought four lessons for my daughter at a school auction. It was by no means an indication that I thought she only needed four lessons. In our case, she already had a teacher lined up but we had to wait for a couple of months before the teacher could start lessons. So we bought the four lessons so that she could have some fun taking lessons (she couldn't wait to start) and get an idea of what piano lessons are like. I'm sure the vast majority of parents who buy such packages at school auctions or elsewhere know that this is simply a beginning of piano study. And I suspect most adults know this as well when they buy a few lessons for their spouses.

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#2182225 - 11/14/13 10:25 AM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: childofparadise2002]
keystring Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11884
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: childofparadise2002

I agree. I think very few people would be so naive as to think that four lessons is what it takes to learn to play piano (or to learn anything really).

Not from the stories I've heard.
Originally Posted By: ten left thumbs
.... One thought that 10 lessons would be enough for her husband to 'learn piano'.

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#2182314 - 11/14/13 01:32 PM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: pianolassie]
piano_deb Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/26/05
Posts: 787
Loc: Memphis, TN
I'm an adult student, not a teacher, but figured I'd chime in anyway. smile I’ve certainly been a beginner/tinkerer so I can guess a couple of things the husband might want/need.

First, I noticed that the OP said the request was from a parent, so presumably children in the family are already taking lessons. That tells me that the wife most likely understands that four lessons would be just a start. Possibly she is trying to support her husband’s musical interests … or hoping to convince him of the value of the paid lessons. Either way, it’s a great opportunity for the OP to meet a potential new student.

The husband may have specific desires/expectations for the lessons, so the simplest approach is to take some time at the first lesson to discuss what he hopes to accomplish in a month. Granted, his expectations may need adjusting, and the OP might not be able to prepare specific lesson plans, but that could be the easiest way to start. (Perhaps ask the wife to tell the husband to bring specific pieces to the first lesson if he wants to work on anything in particular.)

Beyond that, I expect it would be helpful to focus on reading sheet music, beginning with the most fundamental elements of key signature, time-signature, repeated sections, dynamics markings, pedal marks, how to count different time signatures, etc. (Counting out-loud, please! We beginners never know how useful that is until the teacher makes us do it. smile ) … and going on to intervallic reading, recognition of patterns, mnemonics for ledger lines, etc. Even if he's using lead books, or wants to play jazz, or really wants to learn the organ instead of piano so he can play at church ... Whatever the situation, knowing the basics can only help.

This may all seem a bit obvious to teachers, but I know from experience that beginners often don’t know what we don’t know, and it's all too easy to get hung up on reading the notes without stopping to consider/decipher the composer's overall intentions for a piece. I think that’s a key reason people find playing by ear so much easier than learning an unfamiliar piece from sheet music. They already know what the music is supposed to sound like and can keep adjusting their playing to match the tune in their head.

Just my thoughts. Hope it’s helpful.


Edited by piano_deb (11/14/13 01:39 PM)
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Charles Walter 1500
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#2182319 - 11/14/13 01:39 PM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: pianolassie]
carolinagirl Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/01/13
Posts: 54
This reminds me of my elderly mother-in-law who just moved into a house that came with a piano. She said she wants to learn to play....how long will it take? I just had to smile and shake my head. She's elderly and has serious memory problems. I don't see it happening.
_________________________
Yamaha CLP 440 Delivered on April 16 2013
Started playing piano April 16 2013

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#2182328 - 11/14/13 01:56 PM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: carolinagirl]
red-rose Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/20/13
Posts: 177
Loc: Cleveland, OH
Originally Posted By: carolinagirl
This reminds me of my elderly mother-in-law who just moved into a house that came with a piano. She said she wants to learn to play....how long will it take? I just had to smile and shake my head. She's elderly and has serious memory problems. I don't see it happening.

I hope you aren't doing anything to discourage her! Music can actually help with memory problems!

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#2185992 - 11/20/13 10:42 PM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: pianolassie]
SoundThumb Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/28/10
Posts: 346
Loc: San Diego, CA
What a great opportunity! You get to market your business to a potential customer AND are paid to do it. It doesn't get any better than that. Good luck.

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#2190597 - 11/30/13 02:56 PM Re: What to teach an adult in four lessons? [Re: SoundThumb]
littlebunny Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/11/11
Posts: 10
Give him one of those Easy fake books that are all in the key of C (Amazon has several); show him the most convenient inversions to start with, & let him have at it. Hopefully the joy of playing will kick in whether or not he ever wants more advanced lessons.

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