When it comes to adult piano lessons, there are a number of factors that go into determining whether or not your experience will pay off or not. Let’s start with the most important one of all. It has to be rewarding for you. Also, what you consider rewarding is likely to differ from another individual’s perspective. Let’s face it. If you’re not reaping benefits, you’re not likely going to feel inspired to continue. Naturally, this isn’t limited to adults. Everyone wants to feel a sense of accomplishment.
However, adult piano students deserve some specific attention. If you are an adult reading this and are considering lessons (or contemplating a change of teachers), are you in touch with what you would consider your version of success? Do you like to challenge yourself? Do you simply want to learn a new song once in a while? Are you simply wanting to follow a course of study that allows you to occupy your time in a fun way? Are you wanting to take a more improvisational approach? It’s important to understand why you’re getting involved to begin with.
By the way, whatever your reason for getting started with lessons, it’s a valid one. In order to make your experience a positive one, you’ll want to make sure you are enlisting the services of a piano teacher whose mind set is in line with your priorities. So often, an adult with engage in piano lessons, give it a go for a few weeks, and then realize it wasn’t what it all chalked up to be. Would you like to know a major factor responsible for this? More often than not, a piano instructor will have a “one size fits all” approach to teaching. If you don’t fit into the “mold,” then you’re likely going to feel lost or find yourself bored out of your wits. Remember this: one teacher’s way of doing things is not necessarily the right way for you.
Let’s say you make an appointment with your local music studio and connect with a teacher whose background has been primarily in the classical field of study. However, you’ve had pictures in your mind for the longest time of playing tunes like Billy Joel’s Piano Man or being able to improvise on Bart Howard’s Fly Me To The Moon. Guess what? You are probably in for disappointment. Firstly, the teacher may have never played a pop or jazz tune in his or her life. Furthermore, improvisation is a whole different ball game than what that teacher is probably used to. Will that teacher admit it? If he or she has integrity, yes. In other words, there is a certain stigma that goes hand in hand with some classical performers and teachers. The implied rationale is something similar to “If I’ve come this far along my journey, earned my degree, and have made it to be ‘teacher,’ then what I have to offer you is more important than anything you could want to learn.” That’s simply ignorance.
If you want to learn how to play piano in a fun way, including being able to play pop tunes, adding some personal style to them, or jazz standards, being able to improvise over them, then you’ve got to hire a teacher who specializes in that. Oh yes, and never mind the good old teacher’s comeback line that goes something like, “Well, you’ve got to learn the basics first before you can do any of that!” To a degree, that’s true. However, if you have the right teacher, your experience learning the basics will be more in line with your longer term goals. This is so often overlooked.
Another factor that comes into play is the time you’re able to invest. If you can’t put in an hour a day or if you’re going to miss a day or two practicing due to the fact that you have a life, should that disqualify you from having fun learning piano? Perish the thought. Again, it’s finding the right piano teacher who has the ability and desire to be empathetic with your situation and goals that will be conducive to a satisfying experience for you.
There are other factors, of course, and acknowledging them with a prospective teacher who has an open ear will serve you well. In short, there is no reason not to learn if you have the desire to do so. Connect with a teacher who genuinely has an interest in understanding you and the real reasons you’re starting this journey. Like Wood Allen is noted for saying, “80% of success is showing up.” Approached with the right mind set, your success won’t be conditional. It will be a given.
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