Teaching older students with prior experience
Louise J., Western Australia
I currently have 21 students ranging from the age of 6 to 67 with varying degrees of existing piano playing ability. In particular, I have a 65-year-old lady who has had extensive traditional experience and composes her own music. In spite of this, she insisted on starting the Simply Music program as a complete novice – her mission is to play the piano without relying on the written instruction.
Anyway, one of her projects for the week was to process Jackson Blues with the aide of Student Home Materials. At her next lesson, she demonstrated Jackson Blues to me and I sensed she may have had a dabble at improvising her own composition. And I was right! Well, I was moved to tears. She took the basic 12 Bar Blues Order and transformed it into a really fun and lively rhythmic masterpiece. I then made the comment, “Well how can I follow that?” to which she replied. “Louise, I was not looking forward to playing the Blues as I am not fond of this style of music, BUT, now I can’t get enough of it! I am so pleased that Simply Music has introduced this style of music to me I have had such fun composing this variation and I am adding to it all the time and without writing it down to follow.”
I can’t wait to see her this Thursday to see what new developments she has discovered. I have many students who have had at least 40 years of piano experience, and I must say I initially felt extremely intimidated by these students due to my lack of experience. I could not play the piano 3 years ago and here I am, teaching people who can play wonderful stuff by the great composers, etc. I have to say that I would not have missed this opportunity for the world. It is a wonderful learning experience for myself as a teacher, to build my confidence and realize that I have something so beneficial to share with this caliber of student. And secondly, to see these students jiggling around in their seat as they are playing the blues and accompaniments, which in their formal training was considered a taboo. It is just fantastic. And the ease with which they are learning is incredible. My latest development is creating a group of 6 adult students who will be commencing my first group lesson at the end of July. I am really looking forward to this. I want hundreds and hundreds of students. I love it!!