It’s true that the majority of the beginner piano lessons I have taught are children. Many people assume that starting private piano lessons (or any instrument for that matter) is reserved for those 18 and under and perhaps even 8 and under. This is really not the case and the preconceived notion that, all or most beginning students are children, is incorrect. There are many reasons why adults should be encouraged to take their first piano lessons and, in many ways there are some real advantages to doing so.
Adults Want Lessons Too!
I have gone into many of my students homes and upon my arrival or exit, I will get the distinct feeling from one of their parents that they themselves would love to begin lessons but, for whatever reason, are too embarrassed or shy to initiate. They’ll say, “I wish I had taken lessons when I was younger,” or “sometimes I play around on the piano after (insert student’s name) is done practicing. I wish I new how to play.” This is then followed with the inevitable, “I guess I’m too old to learn” or something similar. I always tell these inquiring parents that they are never too old to learn a new skill and, if the desire is there, why not try? For me as a piano teacher I always enjoy teaching adult students, the skills we teach are the same or similar but the way we teach them is quite different.
Beginner Lessons With Advanced Content
All of my adult students start by telling me, they want to learn but, they do not want to play out of the method book their five year old uses, rife with cartoons and rhyming lyrics about animals, etc. This is not the way we begin with adult students. Adults generally have a lot more exposure to music. They grew up with it, they have purchased CDs (maybe even cassettes or records,) like all of us, decades of their lives have been defined my songs, bands and a variety of music. To help make an adult student successful the teacher needs to tap into that passion. Many beginner students may not realize this, but there are songbooks available with “easy” arrangements of many of their favorite music from past and present decades. There are also books that feature real classical repertoire that happens to be fairly simple and more approachable for the new adult student. These books mixed with supplemental material that is provided by the teacher, can make starting lessons extremely rewarding.
Adults Absorb Music Theory
Beginner adult students sometimes carry the belief that a child’s brain is more elastic and able to absorb new information far better then an adult one, making beginning nearly impossible for adults. Yes, adult brains and children’s brains work in different ways but neither is better or worse. Children beginners are simultaneously developing motor skills and learning piano can accelerate those skills and their fingers my also be more susceptible to new ways of moving but, adults have the advantage of an ability to see the big picture. Adults are able to understand and absorb music theory and structures more readily than younger ones. This ability can make a huge difference in learning new pieces, playing by ear and gaining an understanding of the mechanics of music from the past and present.
Time To Practice
There is one challenge adults have that children students do not. Many adults find themselves over extended and the idea of finding time to practice between their jobs, family and everything in between can sometimes feel impossible. Adults who decide to stop lessons, nearly 100 percent of the time does so because they cannot find the time to dedicate themselves to it. While this is understandable, it is preventable by reframing how we think about learning to play music in our lives. First, we need to remember that spending 1-2 hours nightly to practice an instrument is unrealistic for most of us and we should not make it an expectation.
Yes, professional musicians will practice that much and perhaps up to 8-10 hours per day. But, playing music is their job and like any job, it requires full days of steady work to do it well. When we are learning to fulfill a goal or simply learning for curiosity sake, then 15 minutes per day enough when time is hard to come by. The potential rewards for creative fulfillment, mental stimulation and feeling of accomplishment surely make that small investment of time worthwhile. Additionally, if you have children who are taking lessons, practicing can be a rewarding family experience. You can help you children practice and he or she can in turn help you. I’ve known many parents who see taking lessons along side their children as a great way to model persistence and dedication.
The Piano Is A Great Way To Start
Piano lessons are a great introduction to music for adult students. They will create a deeper understanding for music, fulfill a lifelong ambition and possibly create new family experiences and shared interests. It is never too late to learn something new and to engage in a new hobby or interest you have always been curious about.
Are you ready to Get Started Now?