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teaching adult students
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risk
littleton, Colorado
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January 21, 2015 - 6:14 pm
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A preface to my rant below. I started piano lessons the same day I started pre-school. Continued until junior high when I was in orchestra. I was more interested in being peer pressured to do other things so my interest in practicing the scores fell dramaticaly. Im pretty sure thats why my teacher decided he needed a violist (probably legitimate) from there I developed an interest in the violin. Kept it up until junior year in highschool when some seriously dirty stuff happened and I stopped all together. 

 

Several years passed afyer graduation before I started college in my early/mid twenties. I re-kindled my interest in violin and decided to take lessons as part of my curriculum through community college. Music wasnt my major but it was a focus as I was taking music history and theory etc (dont remember a lick so its not at all impressive or bragart lol).

 

The instructor was a jerk to put it mildly. I presume He was used to teaching students who were looking to go to conservatory and as a major. Well, he told me on multiple occasions that adults dont learn and its (pointless, not his word but same effect). Well, NUTS! To that.

 

If you think you are turning away an adult so you can have a more fulfilling career teaching the next virtuoso prodigy child you are doing yourself a dissservice. If for no other reason, I know some people get lessons to see what the teacher is like before bringing the kid (s) and so they can help at home.

 

Aside from that, I lost a decade of learning because of that jerk. Violin to me is relaxation, a better drug than anything on the planet and it calms my baby when I play. I also feel energized like i got 8hrs of sleep after a good practice.

My instructor now has earned my trust and will be teaching my son if he desires and if she still teaches.

 

So really, what benefit is it to you to turn down adults? You might have a few that drop lessons after awhile but can you honestly say that kids dont do the same thing?

 

Sorry, had to get that off my chest after reading soooo many "too late to learn?" Posts. 

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coolpinkone
California, the place of my heart
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January 21, 2015 - 7:32 pm
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Nice rant.  I hear ya man!!!!!

violin-1267

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
January 21, 2015 - 10:27 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Way to go risk!!! Your mind is in the right place. There are a lot of clowns out there but we should not let them ruin our mood and dreams.

I admire that you went for it anyway. Wish you didn't have to experience that instructor. :(

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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kylesito
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January 22, 2015 - 7:09 am
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People are overrated

 

Yes, adults are busier but there is also a huge difference between a musician who does it out of parent pressure, obligation, career training and someone who does it purely for the enjoyment of it.  Of course, some of the first category could also be very passionate about the violin, but so could the later category.  I think the teacher is missing a huge opportunity to teach individuals who genuinely want to be learning something!

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mischa91
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January 22, 2015 - 10:30 am
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It seems odd to me that teachers would refuse adult learners; it would seem that adult learners whether older or younger adults would be a fruitful market to keep happy, adults have their own cash and in some cases adults without children of their own will have more spare cash to put into their hobbies.  Teachers who refuse money like that are obviously stupid.  So adults might quit, kids are far more changeable than adults.

I really haven't come across that where i live though.  I've been into 2 stores inquiring about lessons and while i can't really afford them now with work and school i will be able to in the future.  Both stores took me through their teachers, gave me prices and one even told me about their special prices for renters of their instruments.  

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Oliver
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January 22, 2015 - 11:08 am
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Another viewpoint .......

I began lessons in a KinderMuzik operation mostly because the teacher had a good sense of humor.  (Her training was basically viola).  But the problems soon developed. She asked me if I had any music?  (She had no curriculum for adults.)  And there were other minor frictions .... KinderMuzik music vs. "adult" music.  The teacher said I was just taking lessons to have fun!  She was right!

We split but remained in touch for many months.  She was a good musician and fun to talk to.

I can imagine cases where a teacher might be more organized to serve different ages/groups.  Her main activities took her to schools, day-cares and,of course, her (first) studio.  

And, personally, I would bet that a lot more adults "start" violin than stay the course.  No criticism.  The violin looks deceivingly simple.  (4 strings and a box! I can play that!).  A teacher might become prejudice?

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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coolpinkone
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January 22, 2015 - 12:16 pm
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A good perspective Oliver. :)  Nice to "see" you.

"taking lessons for fun."  I wish I could have had that attitude.  And I like that attitude.  I am more in that frame of mind now.  I mean most people thought it was some mid-life crisis for me.  How could I actually discover violin and want to "try" it at my age? 

I took myself a bit too serious in the face of all that thought it was a phase.   Even now I get odd looks when I say..."I have to leave now I have violin practice."  People think that it is silly that I am so regimented.  I often think they think I am making a big deal out of nothing.

If I tell someone that I can't go out because I have violin practice, it is not well received.  (ask me if I care.. ha ha).

Oddly enough, I finally got the nerves to play for my family and friends, and no one asks or requests.  I was asked to play at our work /office function this year, but I was not comfortable enough for that yet.   :)

Thursday ramblings.... 

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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ElisaDalViolin
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January 22, 2015 - 2:36 pm
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I agree with your critique risk, it really is a "disservice" but there are some "reasons" in why they do that. 

The education that those teachers received are more towards younger people. Generally speaking, working with a kid it's much easier in one way because they are a white canvas. Adults are more frustrating due to the gained habits and self-consciousness of their views. With this I mean, adults tend to find more excuses or complaints when having difficulties. Some even question the teacher's knowledge about violin ( I witnessed this once). They can't let their "name" be at stake so it's "easier" this way. This is a common situation so it's a bit like "for the bad behaviours of the others, everyone pays". 

Fortunately, there are special people that devote themselves to help these adults regardless of their background and for me that is more inspiring and amazing than creating little virtuosos :)

 
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Oliver
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January 22, 2015 - 2:53 pm
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Coolpink

I am satisfied that I am enough into violin that my average spectator has no idea what  it is really like.  I hardly hear criticism because I am by far my own worse critic and drown out the others.  

And I hardly ever ask "how good am I?"  Never as good as I want or as bad as I think.

I feel sorry for anyone who is not enjoying their violin "careers".  (It's OK to have fun unless you're a pro and then you can be miserable. :)

 

Cheers!

When you come to a fork in the road, take it.

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coolpinkone
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January 22, 2015 - 3:09 pm
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@Oliver 

That is good advice.... I will keep having fun.  (I will remember not to let my own critique and nerves get the best of me).

Vibrato Desperato.... Desperately seeking vibrato

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risk
littleton, Colorado
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January 22, 2015 - 4:45 pm
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Elisa, im glad you put reasons in quotes. Framing those complaints to the student ahead of time tactfully opens an enormous door to learning, not only for the student but for the teacher as well. Working with adults who accept this teaches the teacher more than the student can learn. Trust me. 

 

Do adults not have a larger base from which to evaluate experience and communicate issues and how best they learn? a teacher who realises this is also a major asset to every other student they teach.

 

I think there are 2 camps of adult refusers. Those with "reasons" and those to ignorant to realise adults learn sometimes faster, but learn at the very least.

 

Oh well, their loss.

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ElisaDalViolin
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January 23, 2015 - 12:35 pm
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There are people who can't cope with that responsibility, so sometimes we percept it as arrogance (this, speaking in what we normally expect a teacher to be). The exchange of knowledge in the student/teacher relationship definitely happens, but like you said, only if both accept. If the teacher already puts a barrier in the first place, why insist and be mad at them? It can't be good for the student.

We shouldn't view this as "their loss" as in the full sense of the word and rule to all the refuses. Maybe, in full term, it was the best for the student.  It can be frustrating when adults are rejected, but we have to see both sides and think of us as the main focus. Afterall, it's your time, money, happiness and personal development that should be on top of it. 

I'm sorry for my "good faith" speech XD I tend to analyze things too much.

 
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