Teaching Adults

I have recently taken on several adult learners this year. The principal differences between an adult learner and a child beginner is the fear of making mistakes – not wanting to look silly in front of the teacher and an expectation of the level they will achieve after a few lessons.

Any sensible tutor loves it when a student makes a mistake because only through those errors do any of us learn (it also gives us something to talk about!).As a teacher nothing is more satisfying that being given the opportunity to pass on some knowledge – correct a misunderstanding and help you feel like you are achieving your goals, but remember the most efficient route from A – B in learning may feel like going on a long detour to any student but trust in the tutor is essential for this. For example I generally begin lesson one talking a lot about the back, arm, hand shape and LOTS about conscious relaxation of various muscles but I always prelude this with a chat about the importance of these things further down the road because I know many students will just be thinking ‘I just want to play something’.

Learning a musical instrument is like learning a new language daily practice, repetition, making mistakes and being corrected all over a long period of time. I’ve fallen victim to apps or tools that claim ‘Speak German instantly’ and sure enough first few seconds I’m saying german words, but can I express my thoughts in that language fluently – of course not. It is possible to play the piano in a few seconds, just press one of those keys, but can you express yourself with it? No that takes months, years, lifetimes – depending on how far you wish to go on your journey!

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