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Music-reading adult new to piano


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#1 mel2

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 09:05

The mum of one of my almost-beginners has asked if she might sign up for lessons herself.
Turns out she used to play violin, recorder etc years ago and can read music.

We're going to have a meeting next week to discuss a plan of action.
I imagine her bass-clef knowledge could well be non-existent and remaining understanding a little hazy. (If it transpires she got as far as diploma-level glockenspiel I'll be back on here pronto!)

How would experienced piano teachers approach this sort of scenario, given that published methods assume no music-reading ability?

Daughter is using Piano Safari 1 and mum liked the look of it and so I ordered adult versions 1 and 2. Those with experience in this area, would you treat them as a blank slate or work on keyboard geography, in the main? I expect the biggest challenge for her could be co-ordinating hands and reading 2 clefs simultaneously, like it was for all of us.
Any thoughts gratefully awaited.
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#2 Dorcas

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 09:35

I think the best thing to do is have a thorough assessment of knowledge at the trial lesson.  Do check for keyboard geography skills, as people are often not as skilful as they might first suggest.  Depending on what the adult's level of knowledge is, I find the Carol Barratt course for adults is good for people who already have good knowledge and cross training from another instrument.  It is fast moving, but tends to suit people with a reasonable knowledge.  It is too fast moving otherwise.  Also, the Dozen a Day series are invaluable in this situation.  


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#3 vron

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 09:54

I was in a sort of similar position to that adult. I could read treble clef well but absolutely no knowledge of bass clef and though I hadn't really played any other instrument other than recorder at about age 11 I remembered about note length and rests and time signatures etc . I also had started sort of teaching myself for a few months on the piano. After a lesson to see where I was at I started out about half way through a book by fanny waterman (cant remember the name) and then the Carol Barrett series of book starting on book 2. We actually ditched tutor type books after that and just went onto pieces and the tutor just added bits of theory knowledge as we came across it in pieces etc.
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#4 funkiepiano

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 10:01

I find Accelerated Piano Adventures works well for most scenarios - if they're experienced at treble clef, I'd dip in and out
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#5 zwhe

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 11:27

I've had several adults start in a similar situation. I always go through a tutor book first, even if it is very quick as it can be surprising what they have forgotten. I once had one manage accelerated PA in only 3 weeks, and most complete it in less than two months, but it gives a good foundation and they can then choose what sort of music they want to play, usually around grade 1 level (many do classics to moderns 1). One that started last July (with grade 5 clarinet as a kid) did this, and is planning to do grade 4 this summer, so it won't hold them back to go over the basics first.


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#6 Gran'piano

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 11:58

I am not the 'experienced piano teacher' that this question was aimed at, but I taught me which must count for something!
I think many people who do not play the piano but another instrument, know which key is which on the piano and can begin to play from the treble clef quite quickly.
The bass clef is another story. Choosing simple tunes that one knows, one can scan them into the computer and change them to bass clef. Just the melody line. Quite quick to do and as the player recognises the melody if they get the notes right, they get quick rewards. Obviously the fingering etc. are going to be a bit weird, but to get the idea of which notes are which in the bass clef, it might be a simple alternative/addition to other methods.
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#7 mel2

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 16:45

Thanks to everyone for their thoughts and comments -all viewpoints noted.
I have a couple of other adults who pitched up as 'absolute beginners' who turned out not to be, but felt very unconfident and hesitant in their knowledge and like one of you said, I am working through adult tutors with them quickly, just to refresh their memories, and plug any gaps.
They are using used copies which I have loaned in case I decided we didn't need to complete the books and so could withdraw the books without feeling bad that I'd asked them to buy something unsuitable.
It is reassuring to have my instincts affirmed by the replies on here, so once again, thank you all.

I did assign some Dozen A Day exercises to a man this morning, and apologized for the pictures and titles but he said he actually quite liked them! Must admit, I'd forgotten about ADAD; I'll use it more often. :D
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#8 Latin pianist

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Posted 07 February 2019 - 17:48

I used Tunes for Ten fingers with a new adult couple who were complete beginners. They thought it was brilliant. They'll whizz through it and then I'll probably go on to Accelerated Piano Adventures. Has anyone used PA Adult lesson book? I've used the Popular and Classic but not the tutor book.
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#9 The Great Sosso

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Posted 08 February 2019 - 21:20

I have used the Adult Piano Adventures lesson book - however, I often skip over the theory, as most adults are just not that interested in doing written exercises, and want to get on with playing tunes.  Once book 1 is completed, we often move on to Classics to Moderns 1 or the first ABRSM Encore book.  APA book 2 is good for dipping into, as there are some simple arrangements of nice classical tunes (eg Pachalbel's Canon).  It's an expensive book though, so good to loan it until you are sure they are going to get along with it.

 

My usual route in with adults is Carol Barratt Classic Piano Course for those with a musical background, and Adult Piano Adventures for those with no musical background.  I use Dozen A Day alongside these, so that there is something from which to work solidly on technique without too much worrying about where the notes are going.

 

TGS X


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#10 anonymousalto

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 13:00

Another vote for Carol Barrett & Dozen a Day - Although recently, an adult in a similar situation opted for Kenneth Baker's The Complete piano player as it put in the letter names of the bass clef notes at first, and had tunes in it that she knew.


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#11 mel2

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 13:45

I've heard Carol Barratt's book criticized for moving too quickly but sometimes, especially when revising concepts rather than visiting them for the first time, that is what you need.
I now have both my 'used' adult tutor books out on loan -I don't really want to buy another to lend out, hence my caution with purchasing something that may not be right. I'll soon know; I'm seeing the lady on Weds!
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#12 Dorcas

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Posted 11 February 2019 - 16:41

I find the adult Piano Adventures very good for people new to music, as it moves at a steady pace, and the pieces are all familiar, which really helps.  The Classic course by Carol Barratt is good, but not for absolute beginners.  


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#13 Gran'piano

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Posted 13 February 2019 - 21:40

Another vote for Carol Barrett & Dozen a Day - Although recently, an adult in a similar situation opted for Kenneth Baker's The Complete piano player as it put in the letter names of the bass clef notes at first, and had tunes in it that she knew.


I'd be interested to know how or when the pupil actually learns the bass clef notes - people I have known tend to read the letter name or fingering if it is there, and not look at the stave at all. Does this come in time by itself? And I suppose one has to be careful that the pupil learns the length of the notes at some point? . As long as he/she knows the tune, they are hardly likely to study the difference between the various note lengths on the stave either. I just wonder how it is done.
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