Piano for Adults

Welcome back to the creative piano blog. Today we’re talking about piano lessons with adult students. This is near and dear to my heart because I studied piano as an adult and actually did a second degree in piano pedagogy and music as an adult. I also did some research on studying piano as an adult, and I love teaching adults–it’s very satisfying when adult students learn and make progress with the piano.

Sometimes people had lessons in childhood and then don’t play for many years while they’re raising a family or doing other things. Sometime adults take lessons alongside a child, or pursue an interest in taking lessons for the very first time. In any of those scenarios, adult students bring their own particular needs to the lesson and you want to gear your teaching toward the adult students needs. Typically this includes being able to relax and learn to use the hands and the body in a certain way to make a good sound and to be able to play the instrument. To work on the eye-hand coordination, depending upon the level of the student in terms of their prior music let knowledge. Lessons revolve around knowing the language of music, so if it’s a very beginning student they are going to need to learn the notation system and how music is written so that they can read piano music. Often the literature that is played at the adult beginning level includes pieces that will be familiar to people, so that the tune is easier to play because you know what it should sound like and you’re aiming for what it should sound like

The relationship with the teacher is always central. The adult student needs to be feeling comfortable to raise questions, to come in with issues that might have come up in practice that week and be able to talk about those issues with the teacher and get some good feedback as to how they can proceed. Because sometimes there will be very particular things that are going on with the way the hand is working, or the eye-hand coordination that the teacher can provide feedback on that you can’t get from video or from going through the lesson books on your own.. You want to be able to have a relationship with the teacher so the teacher can provide that feedback and support.

The length of lessons for adult students is typically 45 minutes to an hour and that has to do with the fact that you’re trying to approach the material in a way that works for the adult. A half-hour just seems not to be long enough: it’s not quite long enough to get through the theory part and some of the aspects that tie into playing. Adults need to talk a little bit more about the material and connect it to what they already know. So it does take 45 minutes to an hour, and I would say adults are going to make more progress on their playing if they practice 45 minutes to an hour a day. Not all necessarily in one sitting, but aim for a half- hour of practice on most days. A good rule of thumb is to put in the amount of time at daily practice that you have for the length of the lesson.

I hope this gives you some good ideas about taking lessons if you’re interested as an adult– whether you’re coming back to piano, approaching it for the first time, or taking lessons to keep up with your children who are taking lessons. It’s always a great thing to give yourself the gift of music. See you next time. Thanks for listening.

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