1. Some adult students are complete beginners with no prior musical experience while others are intermediate or advanced and have played for many years when they were younger.
2. Some were self taught musicians who did not progress beyond a certain point while others had teachers for a number of years.
3. Some adult students know exactly what they would like to play and bring music by their favorite artists, bands, or composers while others leave most of the selection up to the teacher.
4. Many adult students are retired with children who have grown up and moved away. Others work locally and are full time parents still raising children at home. Some are somewhere in the middle.
5. Most adult students take lessons once a week while others learn every other week. Once a week results in faster progress, more support and guidance and less time to wait before correcting any mistakes. Every other week provides flexibility for those who travel for business and also provides additional practice time for the more independent or advanced adult students who take long lessons and have larger pieces.
6. Each adult student's curriculum is highly personalized to fit the frequency of their lessons, their learning style and practice capabilities. The practice expectation for adult students is different from that of a child. Some adult students use their lesson time as their main practice session and learn pieces with very little practice outside of their lesson. Some adult students have regular but flexible practice habits and other adult students have a very structured routine and follow a rigorous daily practice schedule.
7. Any type of adult student can benefit from piano lessons. There is no one way or single profile of an adult student. You must be realistic about your practice capabilities so as not to be apologetic and to allow the creation of a curriculum that supports your schedule. This may enable most or all of your learning and practice to be done during the lesson. A student who progresses with little or no practice and meets set expectations can easily do so with a personalized lesson plan that is structured to match their lifestyle and time limitations - then will you feel a sense of calm and accomplishment as you learn to play the piano.
Jodi Russell, Ed.D., M.M., B.M., NCTM.