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#950736 - 07/05/06 09:42 PM Returning Students from a Long Absence
WKS70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/04/03
Posts: 186
Loc: GA
I'm curious how students of other piano teachers have done when they return from a long absence.

Today, I had some returning students who have been away about 2.5 years. They moved out of state to be close to a special hospital due to severe health problems with their father. The health problems have finally been resolved, and they were anxious to come back. It was two boys, now 14 and 16. The younger was at a late elementary, early intermediate level, while the older boy was intermediate.

I was totally surprised by how much they remembered after this long absence from any piano. Due to all their moving around, they could only find Bugmuller's Op. 100 to bring this week. I will pick up some additional material for them before their next lesson. With one boy, we got through Sincerity, and with the other, we managed half of Arabesque. There were a few terms that they couldn't remember the exact name for like "crescendo", but they could tell me what it meant.

I've had student's that have taken short breaks of anywhere from one to three months and manage pretty well. But I can't imagine that most of my students could be gone this length of time and still remember as much as these two boys did today.

What has been the experience of other teacher's?

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#950737 - 07/06/06 07:17 AM Re: Returning Students from a Long Absence
CindyB - Musicmaker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/23/06
Posts: 132
Loc: south central IL
In my experience, a break from piano lessons is a good thing for most people, adult or child. Children retain a lot more than adults, though I have to admit that 2.5 yrs is surprising! Quite often, after a month or two off, a student will have relaxed and renewed their enthusiasm for piano, coming back with some skills that seem to have actually gotten better without any effort. I take a month off every year myself, from teaching, and find it does the same for me.
Everyone is musical. No exceptions. www.PlayPianoNow.info

#950738 - 07/06/06 08:56 AM Re: Returning Students from a Long Absence
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I think it depends on the standard of the student. It's not good for someone who has just started to take a long break as they are likely to forget the few concepts they have learned. If they play to a higher standard it will often refresh their enthusiasm like Cindy says and is not usually a problem. I also take a moths break in the summer. Because of this I try to avoid taking new students until the start of the new term. This works well as summer is when most students leave because they are off to college. I have a couple of consultations over the next 2 weeks where I will set students up with things to think about over the holidays before they start in September.

2.5 years is a long break. However I often get older students who are returning to piano after many years and it's surprising what they retain and how quickly they get back into it.
Pianist and piano teacher.


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