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adult student needs advice from teachers on forum (Read 2845 times)

Offline dogperson

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adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
« on: March 25, 2015, 03:22:20 AM »
Hello All
A little advice, please?  I am a sixty year old, very disciplined and highly motivated student.  I am always well-prepared for lessons, having practiced extensively, listened to professional recordings and master classes of what I am learning.   Of course, I have limitations which I am working hard to overcome.  Earlier in the year, there was a student recital in which I performed with a few of my teacher's students.  I was well-prepared, memorized a very difficult piece but developed anxiety and did not perform well. As a teenager, I had no performance anxiety because it was just part of life, but alas there had been a forty year gap.  i honestly discussed this with my teacher, and was assured there would be a spring recital for all students as a step toward my progression.  Today, when I asked what I should perform, I was told all adult students were being excluded as the program would be too long.  Therefore, the next recital would be about one year from now.  I was surprised at the change in plans without any notification, and since most of the adult students would decline playing, am now wondering whether my teacher just doesn't i have confidence in me personally.  Should I find another teacher or just blow this off?  If you have survived reading this long post, I would appreciate your perspective.


Offline outin

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #1 on: March 25, 2015, 04:58:55 AM »
It certainly doesn't sound fair at all. You do pay for your lessons just like all the kids. You should talk to your teacher and say you want to perform. If length really is a problem, you could play something a little shorter or only one movement.

If this is not possible, I would question your teacher's motivation to teach older folks...

For a comparison, every term my teacher asks me if I want to participate in her recital even if I always say no.

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #2 on: March 25, 2015, 06:18:24 AM »
Not at all fair. I'm not an adult student, but my teacher has many. What he usually does is he has a separate (and usually better!) recital for the adults taking lessons who wish to perform.
If you love your teacher, I'd be hesitant to drop him/her. I would definitely voice this complaint though; you are paying them after all.
You could also get a group of pianists together and try and rent out a church or some similar place that has a half decent piano (a hard task; perhaps a piano or music store might let you play?) if it means that much to you.
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Offline dogperson

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #3 on: March 25, 2015, 06:35:32 AM »
Thanks so very much for the advice from both of you.  Yes, having the chance to reduce the performance anxiety is very important to me, and I am highly disappointed my teacher knew I planned on performing, and using this opportunity.  I suspect there might be only one other adult who would be interested other   than myself  in any public performance.  What is of concern is the lack of transparency and a change which excludes an interested student.  I may never play at Carnegie Hall but I want to become as proficient as I possibly can... to make Mozart smile seems a goal I can reach even without being a young prodigy. 

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #4 on: March 25, 2015, 07:39:02 AM »
You don't have to shoot for Carnegie/Madison Square or any big venue like that if you want. Try asking around local piano stores, many rent out little areas where I live.
I'm glad you're aiming to play things well! Keep at it! =)
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Offline ted

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #5 on: March 25, 2015, 08:11:49 AM »
Not being interested in performance myself I usually steer clear of these topics. However, at sixty, if performance is your pleasure, then don't waste time depending on your teacher's concerts. There are bound to be music societies and clubs close to wherever you live. Seek them out, make new musical friends, take part in home concerts and piano parties. No need to abandon your teacher either of course, but you have to make things happen yourself to suit yourself, and at sixty a year is far too long to wait. Good luck.

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Offline timothy42b

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #6 on: March 25, 2015, 12:25:33 PM »
  Earlier in the year, there was a student recital in which I performed with a few of my teacher's students.  I was well-prepared, memorized a very difficult piece but developed anxiety and did not perform well.

At little bit of a digression here, but I would have recommended something different.

This type of recital sounds more like a final exam or a term paper - a culminating event that assesses learning.

That's not really the same as performance the way I think you want to do it, or the way I see it.

I would have played something very easy and impressed the audience.  Performing must take into account the effect on the listener and should be fun.  I think you went into it with the wrong mindset and the wrong material - perhaps not wrong for what your teacher expects, but wrong for your personal satisfaction.   

As ted suggested, I think you need more working gigs and fewer recitals. 
Tim

Offline slane

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #7 on: April 01, 2015, 11:07:37 PM »
Yes, its discrimination but don't waste time creating angst over that. And definitely don't take it personally!

Now I belong to a little piano group in our local area and once a month we meet at someone's house and play for the group. Its an excellent exercise. But I have to admit, I seem to be getting more nervous, not less!
Well we are all a bunch of old duffers and the atmosphere is certainly not threatening.

You can start your own group. Perhaps you could make a little flyer and ask your teacher to give it to all the adult students. Even if the group starts out small, it will gradually grow by word of mouth.

And tell your teacher you are cross about the recital. As others have said, you have just as much right to this experience as the kiddies. Although I suspect the unstated reason is that most students would shy away from performing in public, but the children have the strong influence of their hyper-mothers behind them. Good-for-you, having the confidence to do it!

Oh and ... check out the bulletproofmusicians blog for info. on performance anxiety.
http://www.bulletproofmusician.com/blog/

Offline dogperson

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #8 on: April 02, 2015, 01:11:44 AM »
THANKS so very much to all of you.  I did confront my piano teacher regarding the recital, and she informed me she would absolutely not let me participate, as I would be the only interested adult and the recital was being limited to those under 18.  In fact, she does not want to teach me anymore as she wants to run an assembly line with children, and a few adults she previously known.  I have moved on to a new teacher, who is much more of a perfectionist and from whom I will learn much more.  I do take this all personally, but it will really be better for me in the long run.  You guys are great!

Offline timothy42b

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #9 on: April 02, 2015, 02:34:50 AM »
I know this is a dumb question, but:

I do a lot musically for my own church, gratis; I direct some groups, run the budget, play brass and occasionally other, hire soloists, etc.

But if it's not my church, I don't leave the house for under $200.

Why on earth would you play a recital FOR FREE??????  Why would you play ANYHING for free?
Tim

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #10 on: April 02, 2015, 03:43:50 AM »
Why on earth would you play a recital FOR FREE??????  Why would you play ANYHING for free?
For the experience, perhaps? And because most people don't want to hire someone for $200 for someone who doesn't have prior experience?
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Offline timothy42b

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #11 on: April 02, 2015, 12:07:06 PM »
For the experience, perhaps? And because most people don't want to hire someone for $200 for someone who doesn't have prior experience?

Wouldn't the income from the tickets take care of the cost?

Well, no, because nobody would pay to go hear a recital. 

This whole thing is backwards.  Performers should be paid for playing.  They should produce value for the listener, who willingly pays to hear (whether it's a concert ticket, a cover price or beverages at a dinner, etc.).

None of that applies to a recital. 

I'll admit I've done a lot of gigs where the only pay was beer and/or free food, but they were enjoyable gigs. 
Tim

Offline dogperson

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #12 on: April 02, 2015, 12:27:20 PM »
I thunk there is a huge distinction between a student recital and a gig, with both having their place.  A recital should be part of an ongoing training experience, where not only is there playing in public, but an opportunity for the student to receive feedback from the teacher following the event.  Since the teacher has helped polish this music, and now hears it publicly  performed, isn't this part of the student's musical improvement/coaching?   At least that is what I hoped to gain, and missed. 

Offline ted

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #13 on: April 03, 2015, 09:52:29 AM »
...if it's not my church, I don't leave the house for under $200.

That is one of the most amazing statements I have read on this forum. What a truly diverse bunch we are. I shall have to instigate some sort of arrangement with my wife without delay. Last month's expense sheet was a nightmare.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline birba

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #14 on: April 03, 2015, 12:08:01 PM »
Thanks ted.  I was wondering when someone was going to react to that statement.  I'm wondering how old timothy is and if he realizes the scope of music and playing in pubblic is many fold.  Not just for the fee.  I wonder if he's ever offered his services for hospitols, homes for the aged, etc.

Offline timothy42b

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #15 on: April 03, 2015, 03:45:02 PM »
  I'm wondering how old timothy is

Mid 60s. Shoot, I've been here 10 years, you know I'm at least 11. 

Quote
and if he realizes the scope of music and playing in pubblic is many fold.

Sure.  I'm trying to add a type that seems to get missed. 

Quote
Not just for the fee.
 

When we play for free (or cheap) we are taking money from our peers who depend on it to live.  Some freebies are okay but we need to ask twice who we're hurting.  Professional level work deserves professional level pay.

Quote
I wonder if he's ever offered his services for hospitols, homes for the aged, etc.

If an ensemble I play with chooses to do that, I support them.  Two of the bands I play with do some of this.  But the context is different.  A lot of people here recommend students do this kind of work, because it offers experience they need, in a nonthreatening uncritical environment.  That's okay, but it presumes not being good enough to work commercially, doesn't it?   
Tim

Offline birba

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #16 on: April 03, 2015, 07:31:35 PM »
No, it doesn't .  I can assure you.

Offline ted

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #17 on: April 03, 2015, 10:41:27 PM »
I am neither pianist nor musician in most accepted senses of those words. I am therefore sure my giving away all my written and recorded music, and helping the odd discouraged young player, locally and on the internet, is not going to affect professional musicians in the slightest, one way or the other. I am far too different musically to be the remotest threat to them. I do not perform at all, either at home or outside, and certainly not for money. My music is my personal art and has no connection whatever with economics, business or monetary systems. I had quite enough of those things over thirty hard years in IT and programming.

If the musical world has reached the stage where free sharing of ideas and the joy of art is morally reprehensible without exchange of currency, then I suggest we are in a pretty lamentable state.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #18 on: April 04, 2015, 04:18:15 AM »
Hello All
A little advice, please?  I am a sixty year old, very disciplined and highly motivated student.  I am always well-prepared for lessons, having practiced extensively, listened to professional recordings and master classes of what I am learning.   Of course, I have limitations which I am working hard to overcome.  Earlier in the year, there was a student recital in which I performed with a few of my teacher's students.  I was well-prepared, memorized a very difficult piece but developed anxiety and did not perform well. As a teenager, I had no performance anxiety because it was just part of life, but alas there had been a forty year gap.  i honestly discussed this with my teacher, and was assured there would be a spring recital for all students as a step toward my progression.  Today, when I asked what I should perform, I was told all adult students were being excluded as the program would be too long.  Therefore, the next recital would be about one year from now.  I was surprised at the change in plans without any notification, and since most of the adult students would decline playing, am now wondering whether my teacher just doesn't i have confidence in me personally.  Should I find another teacher or just blow this off?  If you have survived reading this long post, I would appreciate your perspective.



I am sorry to say you have a bad teacher and need to move on. A good teacher would not exclude students, from anything, period.

Offline slane

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #19 on: April 05, 2015, 02:56:26 AM »
I am sorry to say you have a bad teacher and need to move on. A good teacher would not exclude students, from anything, period.

Well s/he did! Hurrah! Sounds like one of those unpleasant things that end up all for the best!

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: adult student needs advice from teachers on forum
«Reply #20 on: April 05, 2015, 08:38:43 PM »
I know this is a dumb question, but:

I do a lot musically for my own church, gratis; I direct some groups, run the budget, play brass and occasionally other, hire soloists, etc.

But if it's not my church, I don't leave the house for under $200.

Why on earth would you play a recital FOR FREE??????  Why would you play ANYHING for free?

A well run recital is a great way for students and teachers to learn, compare, reflect, and gain confidence. That can have tremendous value to a student.  Not quite the same as playing other venues, even church .