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Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT (Read 2538 times)

Offline wkmt

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Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
« on: November 22, 2016, 05:53:31 PM »
Please share with us your perspective. We believe interaction is fundamental for our own learning process. www.wkmt.co.uk


Ian – October Post

Adult learners are fundamentally different than their younger counterparts in many ways. Adult learners learners come to each lesson with an entirely different set of challenges, demands and expectations, and at a wholly different level of maturity to that of their younger counterparts.


The first fundamental difference I have noticed between adult learners and younger students is that while younger students are more tethered to technology, adult learners tend not to be – which is why they have longer attention spans and traditional approaches appeal to them more than they do to younger students. Younger students who are more tech-savvy are used to the many shortcuts technology provides them with, while adult learners – who more often than not are not the same – welcome the hard work one has to put into learning an instrument, which is a discipline they are more willing to take on board than their younger counterparts, who more often than not have issues understanding the concept of discipline in the first place.


I’ve also noticed that with adult learners, one has to be more efficient with lessons and activities. This is because adult students usually have jobs, sometimes children, and tonnes of responsibilities in general – which is why I usually pack every lesson with as much information and useful technical exercises as possible. Although I understand that most of my adult learners have busier lives than their younger counterparts – and that they have priorities that sometimes take precedence over practise-time – I allow only a limited number of excuses in terms of not putting the work into practising piano and completing theory assignments, and explain to them that we must always cover new ground from week to week, otherwise there is little to no progress from lesson to lesson.


It is also very important to be creative with adult learners, and to use the unique vibe or personality of each individual to teach and to choose activities that engage, and even entertain to some degree – while making sure they develop technically and musically in general. At the end of the day, one must realise that the fundamental difference between adult learners and their younger counterparts is that while younger students are encouraged to do well in exams, adult learners are more concerned with challenging themselves – which is why personal growth in ability and skills as part of an actual grade is so important with adult learners.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #1 on: November 23, 2016, 12:10:09 PM »
Wonderful interaction by Ian. t is this kind of work what makes piano pedagogy valuable and dynamic.

www.wkmt.co.uk

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #2 on: November 23, 2016, 06:22:27 PM »
Wonderful interaction by Ian. t is this kind of work what makes piano pedagogy valuable and dynamic.

www.wkmt.co.uk
I cannot get into the site at all, and also, I think that when discussing an idea here, it's better to actually have that idea quoted so that we don't have to shuttle back and forth.  Could you quote that wonderful interaction or a portion of it?

Offline dogperson

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #3 on: November 23, 2016, 06:49:51 PM »
I am able to access the link, but don't see an interaction between Ian and a student--- just the same recital video you have posted here previously. ..  is the only text to be seen is that in your initial post or is there other information  in the link?

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #4 on: November 23, 2016, 07:52:12 PM »
I am able to access the link, but don't see an interaction between Ian and a student--- just the same recital video you have posted here previously. ..  is the only text to be seen is that in your initial post or is there other information  in the link?
My internet has finally stopped being wonky.  (Now I know it was wonky this morning).  I got on the site.  If you search  within the site for "Ian" you will find three posts.  "Ian" is the author of the article that got posted at the start of this thread.  He appears to be one of the teachers in that chain of schools, and his specialization seems to be in music around the Baroque period.
If you click on the article on adult students written by Ian, you will find a 10 second clip.  An adult student is sitting at the piano with her hands poised over the keys.  Ian sits to the side, and says "If you find yourself stuck in a passage, you should start at different points of the piece." and whatever he says afterward is cut off.  What happened before stays unknown.  There is no "interaction" in that clip, because it's too short to show one.
It leaves half a dozen questions.
Can we even dialogue about the those words, given that their author is not the participant in this thread.  The writing style is also quite different from what we see in most of the site.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #5 on: November 23, 2016, 08:03:03 PM »
Please share with us your perspective.
In regards to the topic of adult learners, which is what is broached in the article.

Anyone who learns to play music on an instrument must learn the same skills and knowledge.  If a child student is well taught and given proper foundations, the adult student needs to get exactly the same thing.  Unfortunately often the trend is to "go fast" with adults, to consider that adults are abstract thinkers and thus circumvent the need for the neurological body-mind system to form gradually with concrete experiences (just like a child).  That is why I am stressing this part of "sameness".
The idea of an exams-orientation among children vs. adults is a bit of a red herring.  The chain of schools itself seems to advertise toward a certain type of parent who values such things, and thus the teacher will be seeing a type of child who has a type of parent and is thus used to the orientation toward exams.  Nor am I convinced that this is necessarily a good orientation, even for children.  And among some children it can produce anxiety and dislike of the subject matter.  How about, instead, discussion PEOPLE who like exams and such, and others who don't?  Because there are adults who like exams, or choose them as a means of motivation. Since adults study in isolation, this might give a push and a point of perspective for some.
I have studied music as an adult, starting my first lessons as an adult.  I am also a trained teacher, and piano pedagogy is one of the things that is looked at extensively with my teacher.

It would be wonderful to hear from Ian directly.  Might that be possible?

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #6 on: November 24, 2016, 12:14:21 AM »
Again, I'm hoping to hear back from the OP, wkmt.  These are FORUMS - where people dialogue back and forth; not a place where posts are placed in new threads, without that dialogue happening.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #7 on: November 30, 2016, 11:03:44 PM »
So much for that.

Offline eldergeek

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #8 on: December 01, 2016, 12:26:08 AM »
Time to accept that WKMT is using this forum purely for advertising purposes - as they have also done elsewhere on the web. Maybe need to remember the old adage "don't feed the trolls"?

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #9 on: December 01, 2016, 01:59:34 AM »
I read a few of wkmt's posts, they all seem to be fishing for comments and info, are they here to steal ideas from us and use in their business? posting their website link and constantly talking about their business like we who live halfway across the world care to visit? Lol
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #10 on: December 01, 2016, 05:42:50 AM »
I read a few of wkmt's posts, they all seem to be fishing for comments and info, are they here to steal ideas from us and use in their business? posting their website link and constantly talking about their business like we who live halfway across the world care to visit? Lol
I think it's a kind of advertisement, where you create an "online presence".  Forums are not a place for discussion, but a place to deposit articles so as to make your name known (for better or worse).  I've seen this strategy elsewhere.
I don't think there is any reason to fear ideas being stole, because without a true exchange and taking the time to read what has been written here, that won't happen.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #11 on: December 01, 2016, 07:37:23 PM »
Dear All,
Thank you so much for your interactions. We have devised a way so you can interact directly with our teachers. It has some delay because it requires us (actually me :) to repost your answer in our internal network, then the teacher answers back.

This is not an advertisement endeavour, we are a real hard working Piano Practise in London. Please keep on commenting and we will work hard to answer you all.

Thank you indeed!

Offline wkmt

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #12 on: December 01, 2016, 07:42:20 PM »
We have found out Adult Learners are indeed completely different to children in terms of the way they need to be motivated.

You can check this video of Marinela Pasca, Architect working full-time. She got motivated by the elegant performance opportunities we offer. IN 12 months of training she managed to play this



And please, stop the paranoia, we don't want to steal anything from anyone and we are just trying to be real and dynamic online. Give us a break eldergeek. You can send us good vibes music is about love as well as aggression. Don't be so angry mate ;)

And for all the well intended. Please ask as much as you want and we will try to get back to you all as fast as we can.

All Best for all!!!

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #13 on: December 02, 2016, 01:15:57 PM »


And please, stop the paranoia, we don't want to steal anything from anyone and we are just trying to be real and dynamic online.

If this is true, you could go a long way towards proving it by responding to keypeg's comments.

The converse also applies.  If you do not respond to keypeg's comments, then you are not interested in being part of the forum, you are just contributing spam. 
Tim

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #14 on: December 02, 2016, 04:44:16 PM »
I'd like to think that wkmt is new to the forum and perhaps to forums at large, and is now catching up to the culture and mindset that exists in such places.  Let's see what happens. :)

Offline timothy42b

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #15 on: December 02, 2016, 05:35:02 PM »
I'd like to think that wkmt is new to the forum and perhaps to forums at large, and is now catching up to the culture and mindset that exists in such places.  Let's see what happens. :)

You are charitable and willing to give the benefit of the doubt.  Kudos. 

I would like to hope so too.  At this point though, I don't feel any engagement.  wkmt, whoever he/she/it/they may be, is speaking without listening.  In fact, is speaking without any apparent intent to listen.  So far. 
Tim

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #16 on: December 02, 2016, 11:47:15 PM »
If this is true, you could go a long way towards proving it by responding to keypeg's comments.

Exactly, afterall they opened the entire thread with this sentence:
Please share with us your perspective. We believe interaction is fundamental for our own learning process. www.wkmt.co.uk
I wonder what this "interaction" means? At the moment it certainly doesn't mean answering queries we have of them such as the points raised by keypeg. It just seems they want us to give info so they can copy paste ideas (not that it really helps since application of ideas is whats most important).
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #17 on: December 02, 2016, 11:49:47 PM »
I'd like to think that wkmt is new to the forum and perhaps to forums at large, and is now catching up to the culture and mindset that exists in such places.  Let's see what happens. :)
Too forgiving keypeg haha, it doesn't take much experience to realize when someone asks you a question often it requires us to respond and certainly after a week has passed saying nothing seems odd. Unless it totally doesn't interest them to respond though I can't imagine why any of your queries should be ignored, perhaps they don't want to answer specific questions because you know how specific questions can really reveal what someone knows, it's much easier to just maintain that air of wisdom surrounding oneself with the wrap of generalist ranting. lo0o0ol
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Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #18 on: December 03, 2016, 01:41:52 AM »
One difficulty in these threads is that in several of them, the writings of different teachers are featured: Ian, Veronica, and lately an adult student is featured - I'm not sure if we know of which teacher.  There can't really be a dialogue since the writer whose words are featured is not the person who has posted the writing.  That is a complication that I see.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #19 on: December 03, 2016, 01:43:06 AM »
Dear All,
Thank you so much for your interactions. We have devised a way so you can interact directly with our teachers. It has some delay because it requires us (actually me :) to repost your answer in our internal network, then the teacher answers back.
Do you mean that the teacher answers back here, on PianoStreet?

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #20 on: December 03, 2016, 02:48:56 AM »
We have found out Adult Learners are indeed completely different to children in terms of the way they need to be motivated.
I have written my thoughts previously about the similar needs in learning shared by both adults and children.  Here there is still another broad statement about adults, this time featuring the playing of one adult student and what we are told motivated her, which doesn't actually prove anything about a broad age group at large.

I am an adult student, though these days I have a bit of a foot in the teaching world as well.  The matter of adult students is important to me.  The things I find important were set out in my other post.  Performing in a fancy environment is not one of them.  What matters to me are solid skills, solid knowledge --- the same things that a student of any age needs --- and those things will allow me to do anything else including performing if that interests me.

Seeing someone perform a single piece and knowing this was done after 12 months of lessons doesn't tell me much.  Nor is it right to say anything about that performance, good or bad, because this lady did not present the video of herself playing at her own behest.  I assume she gave permission for it to be posted here.  I am glad, since she is motivated by performance, that she had that opportunity and from what I hear, that it went well.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #21 on: December 04, 2016, 12:15:54 PM »
Dear Keypeg,
I strongly believe that adult learning is about motivation. We need to ensure our students see solid results. It is all about moving forward and proving that the dogma saying "Adults learn slower" is actually not assertive.
Counterpoint help us quite a lot in allowing shortcuts for sight reading. We need to concentrate on what notes are doing ad not on what notes are. As amateur readers, we can acknowledge changes more easily than spotting detailed items.

I could go further on here but I believe posting an article about my approach to sight reading will be the best platform to share this experience properly.

I will endeavour to do it this coming week.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #22 on: December 04, 2016, 05:06:07 PM »
Given that our posts can end up being quoted on the site (I am NOT giving permission to do so with my posts) I will make this brief.
"Motivation" can mean many things and is often misused, especially in regards to adult learners. If as a prospective adult student I were to hear things about "motivation", "adults and motivation" or similar I would be inclined to give that studio a wide berth.  I have sound reason for this position.

Any contribution I make on PianoStreet is intended for PianoStreet.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #23 on: December 04, 2016, 06:16:23 PM »
I have already removed your contributions. I have quoted them as I thought they were of value for our musical community too. If you put something on the internet I'm afraid someone can quote it. So if you are so sensitive about what you say maybe you shouldn't say it online. We haven't claimed it is our production and we referred back to pianostreet in the post itself, In the author line we said Piano Streeet or ABRSM contributor as it corresponds and then we add the link back to the source website. If the world worked as you think no one would be able to share anything on the social media either. We did nothing illegal and we tried to promote your knowledge. Very disappointing and stingy reaction. Pitty...

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #24 on: December 04, 2016, 09:27:17 PM »
The "common" ground of the Internet is indeed tricky business.  My experience in the past has been that on a very few occasions someone has approached me privately asking whether it would be ok to quote me in their own articles, blogs, etc.

I think it's mainly this.  I'm participating in a forum, and our posts are part of ongoing dialogues, where ideas evolve.  My post follows that of LostinIdleWonder and Vanii, and is part of that development of ideas.  If anyone responds to what I write, then I can respond in turn, clarifying, or even changing my ideas through the new information.  When, otoh, I'm quoted elsewhere, it gets frozen in that place, and within a different context.  It is no longer a dialogue among various participants, and it can even acquire new meaning.

I guess that is my reasoning.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #25 on: December 05, 2016, 01:22:14 AM »
I have already removed your contributions. I have quoted them as I thought they were of value for our musical community too. If you put something on the internet I'm afraid someone can quote it. So if you are so sensitive about what you say maybe you shouldn't say it online. We haven't claimed it is our production and we referred back to pianostreet in the post itself, In the author line we said Piano Streeet or ABRSM contributor as it corresponds and then we add the link back to the source website. If the world worked as you think no one would be able to share anything on the social media either. We did nothing illegal and we tried to promote your knowledge. Very disappointing and stingy reaction. Pitty...
wkmt how about quoting our critical responses to your business? Seriously you make yourself look like filth here with your generalized trash talk and CONSTANT advertising of your site AND using pianostreet members posts to decorate your own webpage. Why are you even on pianostreet if you have your own page and students? Do you have so much time to visit us and steal our information? Why don't you learn more info from your teachers who teach rhythm without rests?
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #26 on: December 05, 2016, 01:25:24 AM »
I could go further on here but I believe posting an article about my approach to sight reading will be the best platform to share this experience properly.

I will endeavour to do it this coming week.
Please don't Im sure it will not be specific and talk generalized rubbish like your other posts. Also maybe you could type in "sight reading" in the search bar for pianostreeet, im sure you will find many posts you can steal information from and make your own. Good luck! lol you will need it, you can know about it but applying it, that application part will make fools of those who think they can simply learn teaching from text!
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Offline wkmt

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #27 on: December 05, 2016, 11:34:18 AM »
I love your good vibes> It is so comforting to know musicians are wonderful and generous people like you :) How much talent, how much energy. It is a pleasure to be your colleague.

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #28 on: December 05, 2016, 12:11:10 PM »
Explaining my thoughts:
I strongly believe that adult learning is about motivation. We need to ensure our students see solid results. It is all about moving forward and proving that the dogma saying "Adults learn slower" is actually not assertive.
I am an adult student who has also been immersed in my present teacher's pedagogy for quite some time.  Originally there were my reflections on the first time I had lessons on an instrument and subsequently what I would want in lessons as being effective.  That has been happening in my piano studies.  Over a number of years I have had private exchanges with adult students, exploring things.  That's the background I'm coming from.

I'm glad that you don't buy into the "adults learn slower".  I used to go nuts reading that over and over.  But there is also some cause-and-effect.  There is one particular attitude of "motivation" which I believe is destructive.  That is the "approach" of giving adult students whatever they want, teaching them their favourite music, letting them go fast, without giving any foundations.  The playing falls apart, just like it would if a child were taught in such an haphazard fashion.  There is also teaching toward an adult's intellect, when piano is quite physical and hands-on.  Our nervous system needs to develop, so why need much of what a child does.

I'd turn motivation on its head.  When I progress in skills, that is motivating.  I would rather go slowly and even do some boring things along the way, so that eventually I can dance gracefully with the ground firmly under my feet.

Quote
Counterpoint help us quite a lot in allowing shortcuts for sight reading. We need to concentrate on what notes are doing ad not on what notes are. As amateur readers, we can acknowledge changes more easily than spotting detailed items.
I can already see the reasoning behind that.  But if you asked me a few years ago when I was more in the beginning of my journey whether I would want such shortcuts ---- the answer would have been no.  I do not want shortcuts.  The interesting or advanced piece is not my main goal.  The solid skills to be able to get at music myself eventually is.

That said, there are many poor approaches to reading.  In fact, a lot of that is due to shortcuts already.  For example, many months of reading music that is only diatonic, and always in the key of C while the hands are in "C position", followed by the key of G and F in like manner, allows for the "quick" going through pieces, but may be detrimental to reading.  The topic of reading is a heavy topic in and of itself.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #29 on: December 10, 2016, 12:16:11 PM »
Dear Keypeg,
What you say is very true. Adult students are over indulged sometimes. I strongly believe that an adult student can profit from a superficial complacency like when we provide an elegant environment or beautiful instruments to play with. On the other hand, I strongly think learning implies an effort, moreover... it needs to imply an effort. If we don't see a price in learning we tend to not give a lot of value to the results we obtain. In my experience, I always found out people is immensely satisfied when they accomplished something they worked hard on.

I always teach music in a way my students learn to appreciate beauty and simplicity. Sometimes the simpler pieces are intrinsically more beautiful than more complicated ones while they serve the purpose of studying much better as well.

Bartok Mikrokosmos I is a good example, first unsavoury, but like cigarettes, after giving it the chance it can become extasiating for some.



Offline vaniii

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #30 on: December 10, 2016, 01:20:06 PM »
You had me 'til cigarettes.

I love your optemisim wkmt, but find your posts in bad taste; have a conversation with us.

There is no real difference in how adults and children learn.  The real difference, if we look for it is psychological, that is an adult has to contend with 'starting again'.

You can teach a child to be ambidextrous relatively easily, because they are learning both skills as new skills.

An adult trying to learn to do things with an unfavoured hand or foot is confronted with the acceptance of 'this is new'.

The first skill I work on with adult learners is acceptance that they are doing somthing new.

There is a parallel to the above and highly intelligent children; again confronting starting at the bottom and working up. Ultimatly they both look for shortcuts, resulting in failure, marginal to catastrophic.

Offline wkmt

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #31 on: December 10, 2016, 01:31:33 PM »
Vanii you are very aggressive, I find that quite accelerating :) You must be an amazing artist in real life. Passionate, invigorated by controversy, great character!

Offline keypeg

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #32 on: December 10, 2016, 04:06:36 PM »
Wkmt, in all my posts I wrote as one would to a professional, with specifics.  You are not meeting me on it.  My posts in this particular thread have specifics, such as saying that both adults and children need to acquire the same set of skills (i.e. they are not different) and you have not addressed this idea.  To me this is very important and I thing I have stressed for years in forums.
Dear Keypeg,
What you say is very true. Adult students are over indulged sometimes.
I do not see it as indulgency at all.  It is more like being cheated.  There are adults who start lessons, are given something superficial and don't know it, and then find themselves in a mess because of a lack of solid foundations.  (This is what I mean by being cheated).
Quote
I strongly believe that an adult student can profit from a superficial complacency like when we provide an elegant environment or beautiful instruments to play with.
I don't care about elegant environments.  As to the instrument, it should be functional in such a way as to allow learning to take place.
Quote
On the other hand, I strongly think learning implies an effort, moreover... it needs to imply an effort. If we don't see a price in learning we tend to not give a lot of value to the results we obtain.
I think (?) that you're talking about the idea that when people get things for free they will take it for granted, and if they have to pay or work, they respect it.  That is NOT what I'm talking about, though.  I'm talking about the teaching part.  I am saying that SKILLS and FOUNDATIONS need to be learned, and this is a same need for every age.  Are we at all on the same page.

Btw, I sent you a PM maybe 2 weeks ago before the kerfuffle became kerfuffly.  Did you ever see it?  In it I had provided examples from my own learning, including the playing, which should suggest the skills being learned underneath it.  It was for that point, when this thread first went up.
Quote
Sometimes the simpler pieces are intrinsically more beautiful than more complicated ones while they serve the purpose of studying much better as well. 
I would say that with simpler music we are able to concentrate on the skills we first need to acquire.  At the same time, a simple piece is harder to make beautiful because that takes the skills of a master, and these simple pieces are often destroyed as "student pieces" when you look around on the Internet because of how they are presented and taught.  Yes to simplicity.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #33 on: December 10, 2016, 11:47:21 PM »
I love your good vibes> It is so comforting to know musicians are wonderful and generous people like you :) How much talent, how much energy. It is a pleasure to be your colleague.
Vanii you are very aggressive, I find that quite accelerating :) You must be an amazing artist in real life. Passionate, invigorated by controversy, great character!


Lol look at this sarcasm, what a pompous idiot.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline vaniii

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #34 on: December 10, 2016, 11:52:34 PM »
He is a troll ... I keep falling for it.

Dang it, I am writing a post it; "don't post on a WKMT thread".

Offline eldergeek

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Re: Reflections on teaching adult learners at WKMT
«Reply #35 on: December 11, 2016, 12:23:34 AM »
My strategy is usually:

Ask a question. If they respond, we have a dialogue. If not, then never interact with them again. Problem solved :)