Piano teachers usually adopt various teaching methods depending upon their unique niche of students. Some may prefer to train only small kids, some may be focused on piano for teens and there are a number of teachers looking for opportunities to teach piano to adult students. The reason is that many piano teachers share their experiences and say that adult piano students are quick learners and they grasp technical concepts quite easily and quickly in comparison to children and teens. Adults look for clear understanding with each piano session and thus they are motivated towards learning. They can handle most of the beginning level lessons on their own and thus teaching them is much simpler than teaching kids.
Teaching piano for Adults and Kids: What are differences?
Teachers need to use different teaching approaches and methods according to characteristics of their group of students. Your students may be kids or adults and thus your teaching norms are to be designed according to the age group you are catering to for teaching piano. So it is imperative to understand perspective, background, experiences and expertise of your student. Here are some major differences in teaching piano to adults and to kids:
|Teaching Piano to Adults||Teaching Piano to Kids|
|Adults need more logical and objective lessons.||Kids can be taught by letting them make their imaginative world in their subconscious life.|
|Adults are more interested in learning theory so that they can relate to playing music on piano.||Children are more interested in constructive elements that are related to real music playing.|
|Adults learn through complete explanations.||Children learn more through experiencing.|
|Teachers would need to give justifications and explanations behind techniques.||Children are impressionable and uncritical.|
|Adult students can be more self-conscious.||Kids’ students are less self-conscious.|
|Adults are mostly self-disciplined.||Kids react according to their environment and thus teachers may need to focus on discipline too.|
|Adults work well with both short and long term musical goals.||Children are usually more motivated and focused with short-term goals.|
|Adults have longer attention spans.||Kids have shorter attention span. You need to be more creative and would need to add more variety to their lessons.|
|You need to make them aware of both intellectual and emotional connections to music.||You need to work on their emotional connections with music.|
|They are usually driven by intrinsic motivations.||They are usually driven by extrinsic motivations.|
How to teach piano to Adults?
Adults are more result-oriented and for all the piano teachers who are working with adult students, here are some tips for gaining success with your teaching lessons:
- Adult students should be given with more choices so that they can choose whatever they like and what motivates them. These choices should involve different musical genres and songs so that you can include choices that make both teacher and students happy.
- Adults would love to have some control on their piano music lessons. Thus their goals and lessons should be flexible to some extent. Moreover their goals should be realistic and attainable so that they can relate to their goals realistically with regular practice.
- Adults should be taught music that appeals and inspires them most. If you teach them something that they don’t really like, they wouldn’t even bother to practice. The best way to motivate these adult students is to teach those pieces they really love and feel a connection with both emotionally and intellectually.
- Do not force them. It is completely fine if your student doesn’t want to play a certain part of a musical piece, give them free will to leave it. Let them do as they please. You should remember that it is about them, music and piano.
- As a piano teacher, you need to be clear with your adult students. Explain them your goals and talk about those goals quite often. For example, one of your goals could be teaching them fingering technique so often refer to this goal during sessions.
- Encourage your students to record their performances and lessons. Although it is not advised for beginning lessons but as they progress, recordings would help them in remembering something that they may have forgotten related to their lessons or performances.
- Schedule performances for them and encourage them to play at different gatherings and parties. If you do so, it will motivate them to make their piano pieces perfect and they will work even harder for those performance pieces.
- Go with slow to moderate tempos. As people age, it becomes a bit tough to play extremely high tempos. So make wise choices so your student can gain satisfaction both technically and emotionally.
- Make suggestions with proper explanations. When you are telling them certain principles share complete information about those principles and it would help them in remembering and applying those suggestions.
- Bring your adult students together quite frequently. Learning and playing piano alone would limit their opportunities to learn. Although it could be informal get together but it would help them in developing their own way and would give them joy of achievement.
- Remain in charge of the learning session and lead them with your experience and expertise.
- Set clear expectations with lessons, policies related to payment, missed lessons and discontinuation. Better to have everything in writing.
Piano teaching books for adults:
Whatever books you use for teaching and instructing piano, make sure that they are well-edited. Most important aspect of learning and playing piano is good fingering. This is essential so look for books that are well-edited for adult students.
- Alfred’s Basic Adult All-in-One Piano Course: The Alfred’s collection of piano books is one of the finest books for teaching piano to adult students. This book is simple and interesting. It includes adult piano musical theory, lesson and technical knowledge with piano learning elements. This book is highly recommended for piano teachers and adult piano students.
- Hal Leonard Piano Library Method Books: These are a series of method books for piano teachers and students. It has a wide variety of high quality music from different composers and teachers. Learning is well-organized and it includes all the details that a pianists would like to learn in a format that is easy to understand. A solid musical foundation can be laid for both beginners and advanced level piano students and lessons become more interesting under guidance of a professional teacher.
- The Classic Piano Course Book: These book series have everything from notes, keys to practical exercises for adult piano students. It gives you practical and theoretical learning. A teacher can use this book to motivate students with well-designed lessons and musical pieces. All the basic principles of different kinds of music are designed and a piano teacher can demonstrate application of these principles on piano.
With right lessons books, tips and techniques; you can teach your adult piano students ease of tackling this new instrument. You can give your students more confidence of playing piano keys by teaching them all the basics of piano. Consider practical tips for teaching piano to your adult students and suggest them relevant course books and online lessons material so that they can enhance their learning with convenience.