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Find a Great Teacher For An Adult Beginner or an Experienced Adult Student (Read 2187 times)

Offline louispodesta

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This was originally posted on the Performance Forum entitled is "Arm Weight and Flat Fingers . . ."

Now, this is a new Thread which is how, if possible (not probable) to find a good/great teacher for an advanced student.  Specifically, an advanced older adult, opposed to a much younger university matriculate.

As a suggestion, the following post was made on the Performance Forum, in regards how to find a good teacher:

"If you see consistency in the teachers work, where the students play with freedom, relaxed hands and finger work, with good understanding of musical processes and expression, . . . "

Conversely, I proffered:  "No it does not!  Have you not heard of innate natural ability?   I have seen rank beginners with hands/paws that could get away with anything technically, (up to a certain point)."  That is how these students are selected, in the first place, to be featured in performance by their so-called great teachers whose students "Magically" seem to win all the local.

And, that is the point.  Most of your so-called great teachers (most of whom are total economic failures as major concert artists) came up through the ranks the same way.  That is: they were selected according to their natural playing ability.

When in University Music School, they could play certain repertoire at a very high level (mostly Liszt and Prokofiev).  And then, when they had to go on tour and play the entire repertoire (week after week), they folded.  And, 'folded' means their hands, wrists, and forearms disintegrated under the so-called great technique instruction of their Prize Winning Instructors.

Next, it was said:  "Needless to notice, a lot of even very experienced college professors often do not have experience of working with beginners (not true), so they might not be able to help even adults when things come down to basic "patching the holes" and dealing with basic problems."

Once again, the ability to perform in public, IS IN NO WAY comparable to pedagogical skills.  Otherwise, every great visual artist would be a superstar as a teacher.  And, for the record, every University Piano Professor initially started off (after Graduation) with the same nine and ten year old students every one else teaches.

So, now it is time for those of us who had a great teacher (who was not some Contest Winner Superstar) to suggest how to select this person for ones Instructor.  And, this does not mean someone who took a one semester hour course in Piano Pedagogy.

That is what the normal University course is.  That means:  these Graduate Students haul (myself included) their undergraduate students before their Faculty Member Teacher to have a one hour piano lesson.  And, this is supposed to substitute for normal piano pedagogy?

Parenthetically, Andre Watts (Artist In Residence) never formally graduated from Peabody because he refused to take this course.

Finally, please list your own experiences, and leave the so-called "Troll" comments by the wayside.  Because, if successful, this will be the very first time any Website has ever addressed specifically how to engage a Good/Great teacher for an Adult Student Beginner or (Most Importantly) someone who is coming back to the piano after initial years of past bad instruction.

Offline keypeg

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Offline keypeg

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Offline outin

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There's actually something in lp's post that I agree with: Unless teachers have to prepare a random selection of beginners for performance, the end result will never be an indicator of their teaching ability alone compared to other teachers. There's a selection process going on with every teacher to some degree. The students that lack any talent or do not thrive with the teacher's chosen methods will quit or transfer. One can also attrack more serious and talented students by building a good reputation. And this reputation can be created by selecting only those with good ability to perform publicly or by dropping students that do not match a certain standard. I doubt many parents with musically inclined children will be impressed by a teacher who managed to enable an adult beginner with little talent, confidence or time to be able to perform a simple children's piece in a recital just to feel good about playing music.

Offline keypeg

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Offline keypeg

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post modified March 22.
Originally I posted here, answering the following request.

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So, now it is time for those of us who had a great teacher (who was not some Contest Winner Superstar) to suggest how to select this person for ones Instructor.  And, this does not mean someone who took a one semester hour course in Piano Pedagogy.

It has since been totally ignored by the OP, so I am withdrawing my contribution.  It's on file in case there is interest after all.  Frankly, asking for something and then ignoring it feels rude.

Offline louispodesta

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. . . There's a selection process going on with every teacher to some degree. The students that lack any talent or do not thrive with the teacher's chosen methods will quit or transfer. One can also attrack more serious and talented students by building a good reputation. And this reputation can be created by selecting only those with good ability to perform publicly or by dropping students that do not match a certain standard . . .

"However , I doubt many parents with musically inclined children will be impressed by a teacher who managed to enable an adult beginner with little talent, confidence or time to be able to perform a simple children's piece in a recital just to feel good about playing music.

In regards your last comment, with all due respect, most Adult Beginner's (60 years plus) Parents are either Dead or definitely not an economic factor in the paying for their piano lessons.  Therefore, the decision making process in regards their individual piano matriculation process is very much their own!

Nevertheless, the prior sections of your reply to my Post is 100% correct in its analysis (in my opinion).  And, I highly commend you for that.

Offline outin

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In regards your last comment, with all due respect, most Adult Beginner's (60 years plus) Parents are either Dead or definitely not an economic factor in the paying for their piano lessons.  Therefore, the decision making process in regards their individual piano matriculation process is very much their own!


You are quite right but since most teachers do not specialize in adults, their reputation can be built on their success on teaching the younger students where the parents do make the choices.

Offline keypeg

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Louis, were you planning to respond to my post(s) but haven't had a chance to?  As I understood it, you were calling on us to define what finding a good teacher for adult students might entail, and I took you seriously, doing so.  I expected you'd engage in some of the ideas by responding in some way - to agree, disagree, resonate with them or not etc., since it seemed you had asked for it.  Are you in fact interested in our thoughts?

Namely, you had written:
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So, now it is time for those of us who had a great teacher..... to suggest how to select this person for ones Instructor.

That is what I did.   And I have no idea what your reaction is to any of it. (??)

It may be that when I addressed it from the "beginner" standpoint, that you were not looking for that, because your opening par. states;
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ow, this is a new Thread which is how, if possible (not probable) to find a good/great teacher for an advanced student.  Specifically, an advanced older adult, opposed to a much younger university matriculate.
but your title says "Find a Great Teacher For An Adult Beginner or an Experienced Adult Student".

You kept writing about universities, so maybe you were thinking only of advanced students after all, those who find themselves in university.  But then, can you at least say you are not interested in ideas about beginning adults, of students who don't find their teachers in a university setting.  I don't want to be wasting my time.

Offline keypeg

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I am beginning to think that the OP was not really interested in having members contribute their thoughts on this topic, despite the apparent invitation.  That is what the total lack of response says.  If this continues to be so, then I will withdraw my contribution, and some time in the future I might start my own thread.

It is very puzzling for a member to invite contributions, and then not respond to them.

Offline keypeg

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I have deleted my contribution.

Offline louispodesta

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You are quite right but since most teachers do not specialize in adults, their reputation can be built on their success on teaching the younger students where the parents do make the choices.
My data shows me that the number one percentage increase in new students of all experienced Piano Teachers is:

Adult Beginners AND Adults over the age of 60 who took extensive years of lesson as youngsters and teenagers and quit.  Furthermore, the current feedback is that they are great students who show up for every lesson, fully practiced and then some.

What does your research show you?  I genuinely want to know.

Offline outin

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My data shows me that the number one percentage increase in new students of all experienced Piano Teachers is:

Adult Beginners AND Adults over the age of 60 who took extensive years of lesson as youngsters and teenagers and quit.  Furthermore, the current feedback is that they are great students who show up for every lesson, fully practiced and then some.

What does your research show you?  I genuinely want to know.

It depends a lot on the country/area the teacher resides in. Generally the amount of adult students must be a lot more than it was 20 years ago. But if we are speaking of teachers who spealize in classical piano I think the adults still rarely is the main target group. But they surely are not unimportant for many.

Offline louispodesta

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Thank you for your thoughtful comment.  If you want the real numbers, (not mine), then please use the following link, which covers every Music Teacher in the U.S.  And believe you me, they break it down into minutia.

If you want to actually nail it down, you might want to spend the time and effort to call/text/or email them:

https://www.mtna.org/

Offline dogperson

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Thank you for your thoughtful comment.  If you want the real numbers, (not mine), then please use the following link, which covers every Music Teacher in the U.S.  And believe you me, they break it down into minutia.

If you want to actually nail it down, you might want to spend the time and effort to call/text/or email them:

https://www.mtna.org



No, Louis, mtna Does not cover every music teacher in the United States. I know of several excellent ones in my area that are not members and I live in a small town. And by the way where are the statistics about students on their website? Iím not finding the details you mention re students.

Offline keypeg

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Re: This topic
«Reply #15 on: March 25, 2018, 11:22:45 AM »
Louis, every time you have responded to a comment, it was when the member responded to something that you wrote.  So while you invited us to define what good teaching for two categories of adults might be like, you totally ignore anyone who does so - but responses that have nothing to do with that get your attention.  So I don't think the actual topic is "find a great teacher...." etc.

So I'm going to follow suit and respond to what is written, rather than to the announced topic.  Maybe then there will be a response.  I must admit my disappointment.

Offline keypeg

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My data shows me that the number one percentage increase in new students of all experienced Piano Teachers is:

Adult Beginners AND Adults over the age of 60 who took extensive years of lesson as youngsters and teenagers and quit. 

followed by:
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.... If you want the real numbers, (not mine), then please use the following link, which covers every Music Teacher in the U.S.  And believe you me, they break it down into minutia.

I'm in Canada.  I doubt that a single piano teacher here is member of the MTNA unless they have moved up from the US, and this would be the same in the rest of the world.  We probably do have quite a few ORMTA members.  As dogperson pointed out, even in the United States, not every teacher is an MTNA member.

I do happen to have an American teacher, who is not part of the MTNA, and am in close communication with three US teachers, one of whom belongs to the MTNA and the other two are not.  There was a fourth who sadly passed away.  While they report having more adult students show up than say 10 or 20 years ago, they still get a lot more new child students than new adult students.  Of the "previously taught" adults, the majority of those were poorly taught in some ways, mistaught, or superficially taught, so these teachers have their work cut out for them.  That is the information I have from first-hand knowledge.

Regardless, can you tie this in to the topic idea (in case it is the topic) of defining good teaching of such students?   This is the part I have not been able to catch.

Offline keypeg

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Again assuming that what is wanted are responses to the OP, rather than ideas about finding a great teacher:
Quote from: Louispodesta
Now, this is a new Thread which is how, if possible (not probable) to find a good/great teacher for an advanced student.  Specifically, an advanced older adult, opposed to a much younger university matriculate.
A point of confusion: you write "advanced older student" - but your subject line says "adult beginner" - which is what I addressed originally since that is what I know about.  Do you mean this to be only about advanced students?
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"If you see consistency in the teachers work, where the students play with freedom, relaxed hands and finger work, with good understanding of musical processes and expression, . . . "

Conversely, I proffered:  "No it does not!  Have you not heard of innate natural ability?   ...
This came together with the suggestion that you can find a good teacher as a beginner by attending recitals.  The part you quoted then was offered.  I would concede a SINGLE point, that if you see students at a recital straining physically to play, that this will be a clear indication to strike that teacher off your list.  My argument against using recitals for choosing a teacher is in the thread.

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That is how these students are selected, in the first place, to be featured in performance by their so-called great teachers whose students "Magically" seem to win all the local.

And, that is the point.  Most of your so-called great teachers (most of whom are total economic failures as major concert artists) came up through the ranks the same way.  That is: they were selected according to their natural playing ability.
I have wondered all along about your use of the word "great".  Anyone who has found a teacher that has been able to help them advance has never referred to them as "great".  They say "good", "excellent", "effective", "helpful".  "Great" suggests fame, and PR hoopla, and admiration.  If this is what you mean, I can see exactly what you are saying.  In the same breath, I would avoid a teacher touted as "great" and basically for the reasons you say.  A person with natural playing ability may not have a clue as to forming playing ability.

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Next, it was said:  "Needless to notice, a lot of even very experienced college professors often do not have experience of working with beginners (not true), so they might not be able to help even adults when things come down to basic "patching the holes" and dealing with basic problems."

Once again, the ability to perform in public, IS IN NO WAY comparable to pedagogical skills.....
I agree that the ability to perform in public has nothing to do with teaching skills.  But I don't know why you wrote this in response to the statement you quoted.  unless you are explaining which such professors would not be able to help those students.  Which I agree with.

What you quoted was part of the writer's conversation with me, where I was arguing against the idea of going to universities or colleges as a beginner, or seeking out teachers with a reputation ("great" teachers) since the skill of giving basics is very different from working with someone who already has playing skills from a good first teacher.

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So, now it is time for those of us who had a great teacher (who was not some Contest Winner Superstar) to suggest how to select this person for ones Instructor.  
And this is where it fell apart.  Because I tried to do just that, and you ignored my effort for an entire week.  So I must not have understood what you meant.  Or? (??)  Unless you wanted to only give your own suggestion in regard to this? (But I can't find it).  I did not suggest how to find a "great" teacher - but a good one.  I'll put that post back if you express any interest.

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And, this does not mean someone who took a one semester hour course in Piano Pedagogy.

That is what the normal University course is.  That means:  these Graduate Students haul (myself included) their undergraduate students before their Faculty Member Teacher to have a one hour piano lesson.  And, this is supposed to substitute for normal piano pedagogy?
I read that with interest because I never looked into what those courses are like (over there, or over here).  I have a teaching degree on top of my BA with specializations in 2nd language learning; that degree was a one year course (still too short) coupled with internships with four different experienced teachers (one was a dud).  I learned more in the internships than in the course.

The good teacher that I have did not take pedagogy; I have been learning this teacher's pedagogy however, which comes from decades of sincere teaching.  I still wouldn't teach because my physical skills are not up to it, so how could I teach them?  Among the four teachers I mentioned, only one had pedagogy, and that teacher dismisses the value of the course and found his own way of teaching.

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Finally, please list your own experiences, and leave the so-called "Troll" comments by the wayside.  Because, if successful, this will be the very first time any Website has ever addressed specifically how to engage a Good/Great teacher for an Adult Student Beginner or (Most Importantly) someone who is coming back to the piano after initial years of past bad instruction.
And this is what constituted my great disappointment, because initially I took you up on it.  That is, I condensed that experience into conclusions, rather than relating the experience.  Was that the cause of your silence?  The reason for this is that one person's experience may not be pertinent to another, because our backgrounds may be very different.

Offline louispodesta

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As I have told many:  the very last "Test" that I will ever subject myself to as a Pianist was my final Jury at the University of Texas at Austin.

I have always used my full name, and I have (as a Scientific Empiricist Philosopher) cited source material for my arguments.

Once again, the goal of this post was to get the "Meows" who read this Website to state (once and for all) what their personal views are on what constitutes a "Great" piano teacher.

As with myself, no one is going to give a particular Post a "Grade" on their "Opinion."


Offline dogperson

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As I have told many:  the very last "Test" that I will ever subject myself to as a Pianist was my final Jury at the University of Texas at Austin.

I have always used my full name, and I have (as a Scientific Empiricist Philosopher) cited source material for my arguments.




Where is the documentation that the mtna.com covers every piano teacher in the US? Where are the statistics of the statement of the proportion of adult students?   

Offline keypeg

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Once again, the goal of this post was to get the "Meows" who read this Website to state (once and for all) what their personal views are on what constitutes a "Great" piano teacher.
I don't know what a "Meow" is.  But I did originally write my view on what constitutes a good piano teacher.  You did not respond with a single word here.  I asked for that response several times, and finally deleted (and saved) that answer.  You responded only to posts that had something to say about your own words.

Forums are for dialogue.  If you ask for something, and then don't respond, it is not a dialogue.  What is the point?  Or - what is your goal.

Why are you suddenly writing about tests?

Offline louispodesta

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I responded by PM.

Offline keypeg

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I responded by PM.
Yes, you did, and I appreciated that.  But that does not help the dialogue in this forum.  If you want to get going a brainstorming on how to find a good teacher for the students you have highlighted, then ignoring ideas that come in tends to quash to topic.  I am still not certain that you are actually trying to get anything positive going in that direction.

Offline louispodesta

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As future food for thought, I think it is important to review the past Epistemology associated with the modern philosophy of Pedagogy.  That is: younger is better, always!

http://epta-europe.org/

That is: almost all piano teachers start with 9 and 11 year olds as students.  Shortly after that, these individuals reach Puberty.  Then, if they can play better as they could at a younger age, then they are a "Prodigy."

Please respond.

Offline keypeg

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Please respond.
The link itself goes to a series of titles with no content.

I am not going to respond to what some article somewhere says, or what some survey by an organization says.  In the subject header you propose looking at what constitutes good teaching of two categories of adult students.  This interests me keenly because that is where I am at, and due to what I experienced I looked deeply into this for the past 10 or so years.  You have shown absolutely no interest publicly in what I had to contribute.

Nothing in what you have just stated gives any insight whatsoever into how adults find good teachers.  In the meantime, I am in regular contact with several good teachers - some of whom have taught me or teach(es) me regularly.  None of them have the goals or attitudes that you have just stated.

For all those reasons, no, I will not discuss that latest statement.  It has nothing to do with the topic, and will not further the quest that you first announced (or seemed to).

This topic (the subject line) is extremely important imho.  If this thread continues along this tack, I will start my own thread on the subject, so that we can discuss the subject.

Louis, can you change your subject line / find out how that can be done?  Because I don't think you have any interest in this thread in that subject.

Offline louispodesta

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Keypeg:

Thank you once again for your sincere (non-Troll) post.

1)  The link which you question is readily accessible by double clicking on the link.  Further as elucidated with my Youtube Video, "Your Piano Teacher Taught You Wrong," the piano teachers of this "World," now consider themselves under attack.

2)  Then, if this post is no threat to the "Uber" Contest Winner Teachers of this world, then why did this new Post just suddenly appear on the Performance Forum:

["The Studio Performance Lineage"

Just thought would be fun, no hard rules just post cool performances of other students current or former free discussion again may. it go anywhere or may go completely sideways or get super interesting."]

Duh!

That means that the Contest Winners, DMA's, and others, have no Pedagogical credibility whatsoever.  They are not bad piano teachers.  They are terrible teachers.

E.G.  I will never forget a University Tenured "Queen Elizabeth Competition" finalist telling a Graduate Student friend of mine (University of Texas at Austin):  If you want to play the "Valse Nobles Sentimental," then just get the recording and play it like Abbey Simon does.

Offline keypeg

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1.  Nothing that you wrote has anything to do with "finding a great teacher for adult students".
2.  The last post is incomprehensible.

If you do not at some point write about the topic, then at some point I will open a post on the topic.  I am an adult student.  I had to get at the question of finding a good teacher.  If this is a resentment-fest about things that happen in universities,which is not where most of us find teachers, it's a waste of time for me - it gives nothing useful.  Unless and until the topic is addressed, I'm sorry - I'm done.

Offline louispodesta

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I will take you at your word?

Therefore, in the coming days, I will list some (not all), of my suggestions in regards paying a whole lot of money to "Hire" a piano teacher.   This would be to teach one (or an advanced student) what their Piano Teacher's Pedigree infers.

That means:  can this "Teacher" even possibly do so/effectuate this matriculation, based on their prior Pedigree, which shows no years of real teaching experience?

I am stating (AND I DO NOT TEACH) that these "Hundreds" of (DMA, Performance Certificate) Graduates, do not even remotely have that Pedagogical Pedigree.

"Keypeg"  This is step "Number One," and on Topic.

Offline keypeg

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I will take you at your word?

Therefore, in the coming days, I will list some (not all), of my suggestions in regards paying a whole lot of money to "Hire" a piano teacher.   This would be to teach one (or an advanced student) what their Piano Teacher's Pedigree infers.
That sounds like a good step. :)
You tend to be difficult to understand, so I don't know if you are saying that you are going to give some ideas of what you think constitutes good teaching of adult students.  I am lost about the "pedigree" part, because I can't see how such a thing contributes to teaching.  (Pedigree, to me, belongs to things like dog breeding. ;) ).

Meanwhile, a question:
Originally I wrote a long post answer the question about good teachers for adults.  When I got no response, I deleted but saved that post.  Are you interested in seeing that post, and responding to points in it?

Offline keypeg

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Fwiw, I saw the "lineage of teachers" thread.  I don't think it has to do with what is being discussed here: more likely someone wanting to show his own teacher.  The thread does not make much sense to me. 

Offline outin

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Fwiw, I saw the "lineage of teachers" thread.  I don't think it has to do with what is being discussed here: more likely someone wanting to show his own teacher.  The thread does not make much sense to me. 

Actually I think it is for people who are interested in the past of piano playing and teaching and any sort of historical facts. Just like some of us are interested in hearing historical recordings or obscure music.

Offline keypeg

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Actually I think it is for people who are interested in the past of piano playing and teaching and any sort of historical facts. Just like some of us are interested in hearing historical recordings or obscure music.
I probably wasn't clear.  In the context of Louis' concerns, I wrote "I don't think it has to do with what is being discussed here...."  Louis seems worried that people think good teachers are found based on "lineage" and some kind of elitism, and that the thread was started as an indirect response to his thread here.  I don't think that is the case.

Offline keypeg

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"Keypeg"  This is step "Number One," and on Topic.
Waiting?

Offline keypeg

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Louis, I've been waiting, thinking that you had promised that you would soon answer about what an adult student needs in a teacher / what kind of teacher is good for an adult student.  It has just dawned on me that what you wrote is "step 1" in that answer.  But what you wrote did not give any such information.  Essentially you wrote, once again, why the one small group of teachers may not be good for adult students.  You wrote about "matriculation" and that also didn't make sense.  When I started lessons as an adult, I was not going to college or trying to get a degree in music.  I wanted to learn to play music on the instrument.

So was your last post intended to be an answer on what to look for in a teacher for adults?

I still don't know whether you are interested in responding to the ideas that I did originally put forth on the issue, which I would then put back.  

Again, the topic you proposed in the title is one that I deem important, since I am an adult student.  If under this title, you never want to discuss what is needed in a teacher of adult students, then at some point I will want to start a new thread, where we DO discuss this.

Offline bernadette60614

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Coming in rather late in this discussion:

I have been both an adult beginner, and an adult advanced student.

And, I would say that the answer to either question is: The one who encourages the student to become the best possible pianist that she can (I'm a she, so we're using that pronoun) within the context of an adult life.

I began piano again (I had some lessons as a child) when our son was about 10.  I had limited time and, frankly, limited energy.  I began with a group class, where I excelled because I was the only student who practiced. The instructor (who was working towards a doctorate in piano pedagogy) suggested that I get individual private lessons.  I was ecstatic...full of enthusiasm for learning.

I then began lessons with a private instructor at the same university where I took the group classes (it was a community music program).  I have the good fortune to be a great sight reader with very aglie hands.  Within a couple of years, I was playing pieces e.g., Mozart's Rondo Alla Turca, and the Schubert 3 Impromptu.  And, I hated it.  My teacher's method was to say:  If that wasn't so bad, I would laugh.  There was never a moment of: Here, do it this way...it was a constant...you're an idiot.

A long hiatus..when I played on my own.  And, then I found a great music school geared towards kids and adults.  My teacher was a lovely person who high standards, but with a nurturing style.  Again, I loved it.

As our son got older, I had more time.  (In fact, teens really don't want a lot to do with their parents!).  I began to realize that while I enjoyed both lessons and my teacher, my playing "lacked".  It lacked spirit when playing Mozart, pathos with playing Beethoven, sonority when playing Brahms.  I realized that while I could play, I wasn't truly a pianist, and I needed to build a solid foundation of technique.  Independently, I decided to pursue the ABRSM since I knew the ABRSM would require me to focus on technique as well as performance.  My teacher tried to get me to stay with her, but I said to her quite honestly that my desire to do the ABRSM was a compliment to her..since she showed me how much I could achieve.

Again, my answer would be: The best piano teacher is the one who nurtures a student to do more...

Offline keypeg

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