Lessons for oldies

Questions on learning to play the piano, and piano music.

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dorsetpiano
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Lessons for oldies

Post by dorsetpiano » 25 Nov 2011, 00:12

This is probably the wrong place for this topic but here goes. I have never had a piano lesson, I taught myself starting at age 16 and gained all of my theory knowledge from discussions with a music student on the way to school. I did two years of practising about an a hour a day then went to University (doing Chemistry!) at 18 and have done little serious practise due to pressure of work/ family etc since. Now in retirement I have bought a baby grand piano and have done another two years hard practise and have roughly got back to where I was 40+ years ago. I have no idea what grade I am, I can play some chopin waltzes, mazurkas, beethoven sonatas etc. The basic question is how often do piano teachers come across people like me and is it worth getting in touch with one? My concern is that most tutors seem to follow a prescribed course of study starting with simple modern music for kids that would bore me. Perhaps I am too far gone anyway!

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Colin Nicholson
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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by Colin Nicholson » 25 Nov 2011, 00:32

This post isn't quite in the right section, should be in "Learning & Teaching Piano" .... but who cares!!.... it doesn't matter really.

Well done for relearning all your piano skills again. If you can play some of the Chopin waltzes.... then I reckon you must be from at least Grade 6 or 7 standard. The Beethoven sonatas however vary greatly in grade, from Grade 8 to Diploma and concert standard!

Speaking from personal experience, I enjoy thoroughly teaching adults of all ages, and recently taught a gentleman aged 80 ! I would hope that any decent piano teacher would like to hear you play.

If you already have a selection of music you play, during the early stages of your playing to a teacher, its best that they dont intervene too early with ......"oh, you need to learn this" .... however regrettably, some adults I teach have picked up terrible habits on the piano, and sometimes trying to correct them "using your own music" is not easy... the most common mistakes are incorrect fingering, lack of expression and occasional errors in rhythm.... however, I am not suggesting this is your playing by any means.... its a general thing I have noted.

A teacher teaching an elder adult tends to be more of a 'mentor' than anything else.
Funny.... even when I taught this elderly gentleman, I would make corrections to some notes, and rhythm.... and he would say.... "oh, I didn't think I made any mistakes"..... so also alot of the 'aural training' you may have had in your younger days tends to wash away.

I rarely "pull out all the stops" for adult tuition, basically because they are very busy doing others things, or never do exactly as you suggest (I hear variations which tend to amuse adults better because they often get quickly bored if they do it correctly!!).... there are many more anecdotes & issues....

However, I would definitely pick up the phone.... many teachers should offer a free induction first or even a free lesson, so its best to get a taste first before taking the plunge.

Hope that helps......

Colin
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Nutroast
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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by Nutroast » 25 Nov 2011, 12:30

A hello and welcome from me too!

I slipped over the border from Dorset to Devon about 2 years ago. I can recommend my old teacher if you're in the Bridport area, she'll listen to what you want to do!

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grademusictutorscom
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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by grademusictutorscom » 22 Jan 2012, 22:06

There are many 'elder' pupils who enjoy classical piano pieces and there should be enough teachers who are happy to help. I might get critisized for this but I feel older teachers bond better with pupils of a similar age as they would have been taught back in the 40s to 60s about the great classical and romatic composers by their own teachers whereas the younger ones are all about 'street cred' and appealing to kids by teaching them what's in the charts. I could be wrong so if any younger teachers (pref in their 20s) are out there that have older pupils, let me know.

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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by Nutroast » 23 Jan 2012, 14:12

I think I would always prefer an older teacher. There's something I love about the breadth of experience gained over time as opposed to the obvious talent of someone in their 20s who is skilled enough to teach.

Just give me a chance to have another teacher, but it had better be sooner rather than later, else it's going to get increasingly hard to find one older them me :lol: :lol:

Gill the Piano
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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by Gill the Piano » 23 Jan 2012, 18:32

...and sometimes they find it hard to get out of the primary school mindset. I had a teacher who used to make me wash my hands before I touched her Steinway. But then I am a grubby sort of person...
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by Gill the Piano » 24 Jan 2012, 17:55

I'm not THAT grubby...:)
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Kristina1
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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by Kristina1 » 03 Mar 2013, 11:14

grademusictutorscom wrote:There are many 'elder' pupils who enjoy classical piano pieces and there should be enough teachers who are happy to help. I might get critisized for this but I feel older teachers bond better with pupils of a similar age as they would have been taught back in the 40s to 60s about the great classical and romatic composers by their own teachers whereas the younger ones are all about 'street cred' and appealing to kids by teaching them what's in the charts. I could be wrong so if any younger teachers (pref in their 20s) are out there that have older pupils, let me know.
Unfortunately I have had similar experiences as described above.
I have also noticed that as an "older beginner" I was not necessarily taken
with a similar seriousness as a young beginner or a child would be taken if they really want to learn.

I was also charged a higher price because I am an adult beginner and at the same time
it was difficult for me to be treated like a serious student who wants to learn playing the piano
and read music in their spare time as a hobby.
One teacher for example wanted to present me with little "star stickers" in my beginners book
for my good achievement and treated me generally like a little 5-year old. I found this extremely embarrassing.

One of the problems for adult beginners like myself is perhaps that "the market" is rather set-up
for children to start and learn
I am sure there are lots of adult beginners like myself
who wanted to learn the piano for many years but had not the chance
and when they are older an opportunity comes along
and they want to start and learn playing the piano
but they find themselves relying on their own resources without a teacher.

I now learn without a teacher and do as well as I possibly could
and I enjoy every little success with my development and I love every minute of it.
It is a journey of great discovery and well worth the trouble.
Kristina.

Gill the Piano
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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by Gill the Piano » 04 Mar 2013, 17:31

I had similar experiences learning the guitar; as an adult it is sometimes presumed that you only want to 'knock a tune out' whereas I wanted to learn properly in as great a depth as a child starting out would . It was a great joy - and a bit of a shock! - when I found a teacher who did exactly that!
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

Kristina1
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Re: Lessons for oldies

Post by Kristina1 » 07 Mar 2013, 15:36

Gill the Piano wrote:I had similar experiences learning the guitar; as an adult it is sometimes presumed that you only want to 'knock a tune out' whereas I wanted to learn properly in as great a depth as a child starting out would . It was a great joy - and a bit of a shock! - when I found a teacher who did exactly that!
Thank you, Gill, for sharing your experience with us.

Like yourself, I don't "just want to knock out a tune"
but I want to learn really and properly how to play the piano.

Unfortunately, for the time being,
I have to learn the best I can without a teacher.

Hopefully there will be some piano teachers around in the future
who like music and share their knowledge with adult beginners
and hopefully they are much more understanding and realize
that there are many adults around, who just never had a chance
or the privilege to learn how to play the piano as children;
but they certainly give it a go later on in life
and they really need a little help from an understanding teacher on their side.

Kind regards from Kristina.

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