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Do you enjoy teaching adults?


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#1 ma non troppo

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 20:31

When I first started teaching, many moons ago, only a very small percentage of my pupils were adults - but now about a third are. I have grown to love teaching these older pianists. There are so many better adult appropriate teaching resources out there than when I was a new teacher (for beginners). My adult students range from total beginners to diploma level and quite a few have become friends over the years too. It can be a very rewarding relationship to witness them developing as musicians.
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#2 Latin pianist

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 20:48

I do enjoy teaching adults but am amazed that you have several reaching grade 8 level and above. Most of the ones I have taught either give up after a while because of circumstances like a new job, or they only want to play things they know. I have one at the moment about to take grade 2 and I have a retired couple who share a lesson which they really enjoy, but I can tell they're not going to get all that far. My favourite teaching is at the secondary school where the older students are young adults. My least favourite are the 5 year olds I have to teach at a Private school.
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#3 ma non troppo

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Posted 19 June 2019 - 21:07

Some of my adults who are working around grade 8 level or above are "returners" who played as children. Some are not though - I currently have three working for grade 8 that came to me as beginners. I also have two more who started as beginners and are around grade 6-7. I also have someone who started as a beginner at around the age of 40 with another teacher who is a transfer, who is just starting grade 8 pieces.
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#4 Leese

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 07:08

I love my adult students. For some reason I seem to have ended up with about 70% adults and that suits me really well. I like that they're there because they *want* to be, not because their parents are making them learn an instrument. I've got a good mix of beginners and those who played in their childhood and are taking it up again as an adult, some in their retirement even.
 
The only complaint I have is the lack of tutor books that aren't aimed at 7 year olds; I don't know what it's like in the piano world, but they're few and far between for clarinet. (There's the Cambridge Clarinet Tutor, but it's often really expensive). I tend to use Clarinet Basics and apologise for the child-centred approach! That said, none of my students mind and are just happy to be tackling basic stuff, even if it does look a little "childish", and we don't stay on it for too long.
 
There's definitely a gap in the market for an adult-centred tutor book for clarinet. Perhaps I should write one. 

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#5 mel2

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 08:19

I have a roughly 50/50 split but find that it works better if they can do daytime lessons as they are far more likely to start asking for fortnightly lessons.
I've had two like this in the last week. One of them is a 45-minute prime slot but I don't want to lose a motivated self-starter who pays on the nail.
Another is always asking for changed times, although on the same day, but he too is a regular practiser and is doing well.
Generally they are very accommodating if I request a change to enable me to fulfil school governance responsibilities so it works both ways. It can lead to diary errors though!
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#6 HelenVJ

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 09:19

You should definitely write one, Leese smile.png. There are quite a few adult-centred piano beginner books, but I don't like any of the main ones - Alfred, Hal Leonard, Piano Adventures etc. Even if they've never played any instrument before, the adults have wildly differing musical experiences, tastes, ambitions, work ethic, family commitments etc. My aim is to use real music as soon as possible ( Ben Crosland; Barbara Arens)  and to include rote playing alongside establishing reading skills, so that they experience the whole range of the keyboard rather than staying fixed to 9 notes in the middle. Also I do plenty of technical work, but not from a book.

I hugely enjoy teaching my adults, though sometimes I'm guilty of talking too much about non-musical topics. Since I stopped doing peri work in schools a few years back, the adults fill my mornings most effectively. Many of them are around Grade 4-6 level, and some of these started with me from scratch None of them are remotely interested in taking exams at present, which suits me fine, as there is time to play duets and to do keyboard harmony etc.

. 2 years ago I started a lady d'un certain age ( late 60s? I don't ask the adults to give their date of birth smile.png) who had never played anything - she was a total complete beginner, with an ambition of playing The Entertainer. She is now working on the version in Piano Time Book 2, though I think the Carol Barrett version might have been better.


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#7 Clovis

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 11:50

Write one, Leese! There's a substantial group of clarinettists who began from scratch as adults in my local wind band. Some flautists and saxophonists, too.


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#8 Dr. Rogers

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 12:34

I've always taught a mixture of adults and children.  I enjoy teaching both; they are both rewarding but in different ways.  Currently my studio is about 50/50, if you count teenagers as children.


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#9 ten left thumbs

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 15:37

I love teaching adults, however, it saddens me when they have to give up - dying relative, relative needing long-term care, getting a job - these are all reasons I've had adult students give up. I know these things are unavoidable, and also it has to be said, children also give up sometimes because of changes of circumstances (e.g., moving away). However sometimes with adults, I feel like the inevitable life-gets-in-the-way is looming over us from the start. I know it, but the student doesn't know it - yet. And I'm just waiting for them to work it out. I can't exactly tell them.

 

Also I find it frustrating when an adult contacts me and really just wants to tell me about their love for the piano and how sad they are that the opportunity was robbed from them to learn as a child. And then I turn my timetable over to accommodate them, and then they cancel. Or take a single lesson, then cancel. Even if they pay, the money isn't worth it. My time and energy is wasted, again. 

 

But, yes, I do like teaching adults. I don't use tutor books, so the issue of packaging and art-work in the book is not a problem for me.


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#10 Latin pianist

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 16:58

That's exactly how I find adults. I envy those posters who have all these high level adult students who have been with them for years. However I am an adult cello student who has had lessons for many years throughout life's traumas and knowing how I feel about adult students I kept going and am very glad I did.
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#11 funkiepiano

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 17:12

Love them! I currently have around 15, that’s over half my private students. They range from beginner to Grade 8 and the majority are retired so have plenty of time and motivation to practise! The only down side is that they often take term time holidays or have health issues or are looking after grandkids etc, so some have several weeks off each term, but others turn up reliably every week and they all are lovely to teach!
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#12 zwhe

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 19:32

Yes! They quickly self-select (they give up very soon if they don't really want to do it) so you are left with people who actually want to learn to play an instrument (and work at it), rather than just obey their parents or get a higher grade than their neighbour. Like the children, they are all very different in aims, ability and personality and I like variety.


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#13 Aquarelle

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Posted 20 June 2019 - 21:03

I'm afraid I am not at all good at teaching adults. I have none at present and have had very few ever. This is a grim thing to say but I just can't raise the enthusiasm. I'm the opposite of those who love teaching adults but don't enjoy  very young children.  I really admire teachers who take on and enjoy adults - because I don't know what adults who want to learn would do without them.


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#14 HelenVJ

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 08:51

It's a different mindset, to be sure. At the moment my youngest is 5 and my oldest in her early 70s( guessing!). It makes for some interesting adjustments, but that happens anyway. Yesterday I went from Fred the Fish to playing for a Grade 7 violinist ( rather hairy sight-reading on my part).


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#15 mel2

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Posted 21 June 2019 - 09:17

Adults tend not to bang the keys whilst you are talking, draw little rockets on their sight-reading cards and insist on doing a glissando at the end of every line of music. ('Outer Space' has a lot to answer for! Grrr)

With adults it can be more of a lesson and less an episode of Playschool.
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